2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.2 from North America


Good car, but it is no SUV


Works well, but not as comfortable as the 4Runner. Just not a fun car.

Sunroof leaks on occasion if not sealed well.

General Comments:

Good car, but this is not an SUV. I got it because I thought it would be a good compromise between a sedan and a truck... I prefer the truck, but I get 22 / 27 City highway MPG, which is pretty good for the size.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th October, 2009

2003 Subaru Forester X 2.5L from North America


Read this before the 90k service..


Timing belt replaced according to scheduled maintenance.

General Comments:

I have religiously changed all the fluids in this car: oil every 3k; brake flush, rear & front differential, radiator, and transmission filter/ flushed at independent shops (in Portland).

Yes it costs $30/month average, but it also gets people to looking at stuff while it's up on the rack.

No problems; took it to the dealer for the first time for the 90K... I was able to delete transmission, differential & brake inspection & saved money. HOWEVER, after timing belt replaced, engine light came on 350 miles North, and an engine knock developed. Had to go to another Sub dealer which, as a part of their 90k service, automatically includes both the belt AND the timing belt tensioner as part of their normal 90k service.

It seems to me that if the timing belt cover is off, and you've paid for the labor to get to that point, it should be MANDATORY that the tensioner, which also has 90K on it, is ALSO replaced!! Make sure you ask to have it done (yes, you'll have to pay for the part... better now than later...). The Portland dealer paid for everything at the Northern WA dealership.

We'd like to get a 2009, but torn about not supporting U.S. manufacturers. Hopefully, Toyota's increased investment will hatch Hybrid Forester's...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th December, 2008

30th Dec 2008, 12:18

I think that GM has a controlling interest in Subaru. You should be able to buy with a clear conscience... unless GM sold off their interest recently to generate some cash. I'm not sure. But if you buy today you may still be able to get a car built during GM's reign.

2003 Subaru Forester 2.5x 2.5 from North America


OK for price


Dealer took 4 days to figure out why airconditioner wouldn't work - Out of Freon.

Select dealership by technical expertise!

No other problems with car.

General Comments:

For a 4 cylinder, very fast; Passing is a breeze!

Ride is bouncy, rough and feel every crack/hole on street.

City: 21 mpg, average speed 19 mph.

Interior OK - nothing fancy.

Exterior OK - no rust, but not shiny either.

All wheel drive hard on tire threads... excessive wear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2007

2003 Subaru Forester Subaru 4 cylinder. from North America




Replaced T/Belt, told by dealer oil pump had a leak, needs replacing...

Picked up my Forester, engine light came on...

Dealer tells me my catalytic converter should be replaced..

Dealer also checked my brakes, for the life of me, I do not know how they could screw that up, almost new set of brakes, not put on by Subaru, I had to take my car back to the original brake mechanic and have my brakes adjusted.

I will not jeopardize my family, for get Subaru.

General Comments:

Not worth the money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th November, 2006

10th Apr 2008, 16:47

It sounds as if the mechanic you chose to have repair your car was at fault and not Subaru.

25th Jul 2010, 17:48

Yes, I agree. It must have been the mechanic.

2003 Subaru Forester 2.0XT 2.0 turbo from Singapore


I'd buy one again, if they improved rear seat space and a more frugal engine


The shock absorbers died. Started with an occassional clicking/clanging noise everytime it went over a hump. Got more pronounced and frequent, and after further inspection, it proved that the shocks had failed. It wasn't that noticeable when driving on a straight road. That was at around 78,000km.

General Comments:

I liked the fact that the chassis is from the Subaru Impreza WRX, and many of the components were the same; and on the road, it does prove to be worthy of its shared platform with a rally car of such. Its rigid and surely makes other SUVs seem soft. Clearance is not as high as other SUVs in the same class; however, that translate to easier boarding and exiting the vehicle. Older folks would surely be grateful for the friendly height of the vehicle. The aperture of the rear door is not as generous as the front ones. Passengers above 1.75m (`6ft) would find the short rear doors a little annoying getting in and out of.

Interiors aren't exciting. Almost boring, but functional. Hard plastics throughout, but I reckon it would last the miles/years of ownership. Note that the back seats have an upright recline angle and all the passengers that have been in the rear seats all complain of the upright seating position.

The factory sound system is decent, but I had opted to change the speakers/headset and installed a subwoofer in the huge boot/wagon space in the rear. Much better!

Driving ergonomics are almost spot on, but the steering wheel is rather large, and the turn ratio is not aggressive, somewhat resulting in a not-so-responsive drive when attempting to dart through a series of tight turns. I thought a replacement STi steering rack would sort it.

Handling is really quite good for a SUV type vehicle, especially when comparing other SUVs, the Forester feels almost car like. But the height has that effect on the steering such that it is not as direct as I'd hoped.

Going over bumps/speed humps is exemplary of what a well damped vehicle should feel like. And whilst on the go, the Forester is quiet. Choice of tires would further enhance the quiet ride of the car. Note that whilst cruising at 100kmh/62mph, the engine is only turning over at around 2250rpm or so - meaning it does make a good cruiser!

I had a small parking mirror mounted (factory option) on the side fender of the car to help me gauge the curbside whilst parallel parking, please, if you're intending to get one of these cars, leave it be. Its quite useless, and worse of all, it tends to cause wind noise when driving beyond 50mph/80kmh!

Engine and drive train are impressive. Torque is the name of the game with boxer engines, and this engine surely doesn't disappoint. I wish there were 5 speeds instead of 4 as the transition of the gears may seem too far spaced apart. 4WD is confidence inspiring in the wet. But the ride height would let it down in the corner. I had tried to install the anti-roll bars in the rear, but that had only minor improvements. I even changed to 17" wheels, still the height posed an issue around corners. In all fairness, this is a SUV, it wasn't meant to do mad speeds around corners.

Also a caution to note : this car can be quite thirsty. Fuel consumption ranges from 6.8-8.8km/L. This depends on how much urban driving one does and how prone is your right foot to flooring it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2006