2003 Subaru Forester Reviews

2003 Subaru Forester X from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired11000 miles
Most recent distance86000 miles
Previous carFord Taurus

Faults:

Not much. Normal wear and tear stuff like brakes at around 77,000 miles. Needed new passenger headlight.

General Comments:

This is a great little workhorse of a car. It has been very reliable, starts every morning, even in subzero. Its AWD handles all kinds of weather great, but this certainly not an off-road vehicle. Its engine doesn't have a lot of power, so passing on the highway can sometimes be tough. I have fitted two adults in the front and three child seats in the rear, however it is cramped in the rear. I have read that the newer models have more legroom in the rear.

Road noise can be quite prominent, but new tires rather than the stock tires can help. The layout of controls is quite easy to use.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th March, 2011

26th Feb 2012, 13:33

If you want power, buy a turbo model. I assume up to 330 BHP, 0-60 in <5 seconds and 155 MPH is adequate?

2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5 NA from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.5 NA Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.3 / 10
Distance when acquired15000 miles
Most recent distance120000 miles
Previous carHonda Odyssey

Summary:

Unreliable - expensive to repair

Faults:

Head gasket failure at 120000.

Intermittent over-heat condition.

General Comments:

The car is good to drive in the rain or snow, handles fairly well with adequate acceleration and power.

Second row seats are a bit cramped for full sized adults, but not too bad. Good for the kids. Rear hatch area is great for loading items in quickly.

Enjoy the tall view from this vehicle.

Reliability has been horrible. Frankly, for a Japanese manufacturer, the problems with head gaskets and other simple maintenance items creates a lot of doubt in the Subaru brand. It is back to Honda for me - and possibly even an American brand since they can't be any worse now than the Subarus with the HG failures. Do a web search and see...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st November, 2010

2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 2.5 petrol Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired30000 kilometres
Most recent distance60000 kilometres
Previous carNissan Skyline

Summary:

Talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk

Faults:

Central locking stopped working.

Heavy fuel consumption.

Rough running, stalls easily.

Heavy depreciation on purchase price for both me and the previous owner.

General Comments:

Feels solid on the road, handles well, easy to drive and park.

Dashboard and door trims cheap quality plastic, even on XS model, but XS seats are good.

Uses fuel like a much larger car, and I am not a lead foot.

High cost of parts and servicing. Poor dealer support.

Car is unnecessarily complex mechanically in relation to what it delivers. For example why have a low-range reduction when the ratio is only 1.1 to 1? Needs to be 1.5 or better to be worthwhile.

Wheel arches are too small so I could not fit higher profile tyres when original 215 x 16 x 60% wore out. Subaru should have stuck with 15" rims like on earlier model as 60 profile tyres are useless in sand - not enough sidewall bag.

Depreciation is shocking. First owner paid $38000 new in late 2003. Three years later I paid him $24000 for it. Now, three years further on it's worth about $12000!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st December, 2009

24th Aug 2010, 06:26

Stop taking it through the sand and off road and it will hold its value better. It's an SUV.

2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5L gas from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 2.5L gas Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance89800 miles
Previous carHonda Civic

Summary:

Reliable, comfortable and reassuring with the AWD

Faults:

Loose connections on air bag wiring.

Hatch handle return spring failed.

Loose heat shields on exhaust (I think).

General Comments:

As you can see not much has gone wrong with the car. It has never left me stranded, always starts in any weather. The only expenses have been routine maintenance things such as tires, battery, oil changes, etc.

I've been surprised by the things I've been able to fit into the back and haul, and it is due to this capability that I haven't traded it in for a pick up truck. Sometimes I have to leave the rear hatch open to transport items, but then I only take those things a short distance. When I bought the car new, I compared its rear hatch size to a Honda CRV & Element, and to a Mitsubishi little SUV, whatever that was. Also compared to a Toyota Highlander, but that was too expensive.

Whenever I get the urge to look at some other car or truck, I think about the reliability and lack of trouble or expense with the Forester. I then end up deciding to keep it and see if I can hit 200K miles.

It's not a blazing speed machine, but it has enough guts to pass when needed as long as you're not too daring. The flat four engine once in awhile has a sound I remember from my VW flat fours, so it's a bit of a nostalgia machine sometimes.

Ground clearance is great and comes in handy when straddling road kill! The AWD is great in the snow, although I don't take the car off road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2009

Average review marks: 6.8 / 10, based on 23 reviews