2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5 litre non-turbo from North America


A reliable workhorse


There was one recall for a transmission parking pawl, and that was it. It briefly had an oil pump leak (very minor) which stopped on it's own.

My dad is really hard on the brakes. It's like he's on ABS all the time. And as expected he keeps going through brake pads and warped rotors. The next time this happens again I will go with the mechanic's advice and upgrade to bigger brakes from a WRX, which is a bolt-on mod.

There is a air leak in the front driver door window seal. Subarus do not have window frames in their doors, and my dad won't stop using the window to close the door, so this was expected. Hopefully I can get the glass realigned and fix it because at highway speeds it whistles quite loudly next to your ear.

Subaru batteries are junk! Ours died just outside of warranty in the middle of winter. I searched online and found out that I'm not alone. It has low CCA's and cold weather kills it.

General Comments:

We bought it as a workhorse for my dad, who is a property manager for several properties and is always on the road.

Interior space is a bit tight, but it's not a full size SUV. Interior trim is obviously geared towards utility, with a lot of rubberized or vinyl surfaces. The rear hatch area is not wearing well on it's carpeted surfaces, despite having a rubber cargo mat.

The paint chips easily. Apparently a lot of the new Subarus are like this. If it gets any worse I will repaint the hood and get 3M stoneguard done.

The OEM Bridgestones are garbage. I was so happy to see them wear out prematurely at 25k kms. I had replaced them with Toyo Proxes and haven't regretted it since.

The engine has decent low-end grunt, but it is not a high-revving motor, which means it is not that happy on the highway. But we spend most of the time in the city so it doesn't matter much.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2006

2003 Subaru Forester XS 4 cylinder from North America


Had the pistons replaced twice.

General Comments:

This is by far the worst car I have ever owned.

Should have bought another bmw. as a matter of fact that's what I did.

Dealer service is terrible they act like nothing could ever go wrong with the forester.

After the second set of pistons were put in the car I traded it in.

Would never buy another forester.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st January, 2006

2003 Subaru Forester LX from North America


This car has no horsepower. It takes a long time to reach cruising speed.

The backseats are uncomfortable for children much less adults.

General Comments:

In general it has not given any mechanical serious mechanical problems and it is very reliable, practical, but it could be a little bit cheaper.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th June, 2005

2nd Feb 2006, 19:28

A frowny face seems a bit extreme for "it could have been a bit cheaper".

2003 Subaru Forester XT 2.5 from Saudi Arabia


Great all-round car, reliable, economic, and entertaining


The lever for the gas tank became loose but were fixed by the dealer.

The plastic sump guard under the car fell off due to some heavy duty off roading.

The rubber isolation at the tip of the driver's window leaks air, causing noise.

General Comments:

Handles very well, but needs some more power.

Great for off-roading.

Interior is comfortable, pleasant, and practical. That's what its meant to be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd December, 2004

2003 Subaru Forester XS 2.5 from North America


Looks nice, but I am concerned about the reliability


2 front airbags had to be replaced.

A/C button broke.

Front driver's window leaks water.

Transmission recall on parking rod.

Transmission slips or hesitates.

Random 'thud' noises coming from rear and front.

Stock tires had to be replaced due to excessive hydroplaning.

Body is starting to rust in some areas.

General Comments:

I am worried about the reliability of this car and the dealer is not good to deal with. I will never buy another Subaru again. The regular maintenance is expensive, and the dealer will not fix things like rust, even though it is under warranty. The transmission worries me also.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th November, 2004

16th Feb 2011, 23:45

I must say, that by my own experience, to get a car to rust in 38,000 miles is insane. You must have neglected it in a way of washing it regularly, and think of precautionary maintenance, the transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles, that is probably a factor for your not so good tranny performance. If it were changed on time I think you would have had a better experience.