1999 Subaru Forester L from North America


I'd still buy another Subaru Forester; the last 40,000 miles have been problem free


Shortly after owning my vehicle, the clock in the head console area quit working. I noticed that water was dripping from the clock location, possibly from condensation. This only happened once.

At 5,000 miles, I could smell anti-freeze while the heater was on. I had the vehicle serviced and was told that the head gasket was beginning to leak. The cost for replacement was covered under warranty.

At 9,300 miles, upon smelling anti-freeze again I immediately suspected a leaking head gasket. It was completely blown out. It was replaced and covered under warranty.

At approximately 13,000 miles the speedometer malfunction; misreading 35 mph for 65 mph, and 80 mph for 25 mph. It was replaced at approximately 13,000 miles and covered under warranty.

At approximately 25,000 miles, the head gasket was leaking again and was replaced under warranty.

Shortly thereafter I received a letter in the mail from Subaru stating that the 1999 Subaru Forester was sold with a warped head, and that I should take my vehicle to the local Subaru dealer, where they would use a special additive to help reduce the leakage problem with the head gasket. The letter stated that if this was done, the warranty on the engine would increase to 8 years or 100,000 miles. I took advantage of this.

At about 52,200 miles the head gasket was again leaking, however, this time the dealer told me that the engine was finished and that I would need a new short block. I was temporarily not happy. However, the service rep said that they would try to get Subaru to cover the expense of the short block replacement. The replacement of the short block was covered under warranty.

Sometime, and I don't recall when, the driver side heated seat control button malfunctioned such that it lit up, but it did not work properly. I took it in to be fixed, and was told that it worked fine and that I was not operating it properly. When I received my vehicle, it indeed did work but for a short time; whereupon it malfunctioned again. I have yet to have it repaired.

General Comments:

The vehicle when driven at all speeds hugs the road; it is slightly top heavy around corners at higher speeds, but that is to be expected for that type of vehicle.

I found the seats to be comfortable; heated for winter months, lumbar support for lower back and firm seats provides leg support for long road trips.

I like the individual folding down back seats, and have used my vehicle often for carrying large items.

The vehicle has plenty of head room, which was one of the selling factors for me.

The floor mats on the driver side have a tendency to creep forward. A plastic peg which is affixed to the floor is supposed to hold the mat in place, however, it does not.

While the CV Joint boots sometimes become cracked due to driving in extremely low ambient temperatures during the winter season. I've never had problems with the CV Joints. The CV Joints were problematic with my previous vehicle.

I love the all wheel drive capability and can feel it working while driving over icy patches. When I first owned the vehicle, I would purposely accelerate on ice to see how it would handle; it handles superbly.

With the exception of the head gasket problems up to 52,200 miles, I haven't had any problems since, and I'm currently at 92,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2009

1999 Subaru Forester s/tb 2.0 turbo from Kenya


Fantastic value for money, trouble free motoring with miles of smiles!


Rear wheel bearings replaced at 70000kms.

ABS sensor ring (front left) cracked and replaced at 95,000kms.

Electric window switch panel shorted and replaced at 110,000kms (after-market alarm with window closing function caused this!).

General Comments:

This car is heaven-sent for Kenyan roads!

Super quick, comfortable, and very reliable.

AWD system a boon on wet tarmac and sticky mud. Will confess I have taken this car off the beaten track in Land Rover/Land Cruiser country, and never got stuck! Twice even rescued RAV4 owners!

All faults listed above are in my view acceptable given the age of the car, and one must consider the local conditions in Africa will impact on any car.

Cabin a tad uninspired, but generally comfortable and has survived pretty well. Hardly a rattle in my car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th August, 2009