2004 Subaru Forester X 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand


A good car, not a brilliant one


Some of the plastic in the interior had bent with normal use, and no longer sat in place properly. Otherwise nothing.

The cruise control has trouble holding a steady speed. It ebbs up and down. Apparently something all Foresters do. It's not all that bad, but irritates the other drivers on the freeway a bit.

General Comments:

For a cross-over 4wd, this car has brilliant road holding.

The engine, while not having heaps of power, revs freely and is quite fun to drive. It makes a great sound with the boxer engine.

The car had great flexibility. Fold the seats down for a huge load, take the kids fishing, tow a big load, then will happily drive nanny to church.

The interior felt quite modern and trendy. The car looked great in general.

Felt very solid mechanically.

Servicing in Australia is outrageously expensive.

Parts are well overpriced (fortunately they don't break often).

Quite thirsty for the size and power (one of the down sides of the AWD system).

These are a good car overall, though I feel it was a bit overrated.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th December, 2010

2004 Subaru Forester XT 2.0 turbo petrol from UK and Ireland


Quick, reliable, and versatile low-frills motoring, but expensive to run


A buckled wheel from kerbing -- not really the car's fault though!

General Comments:

I was looking for something that combined four-wheel drive and decent ground clearance, with a bit of performance. Most off-roaders are slow and awful to drive, but the Forester is quick and handles well, and is perfect for the weekend hiking trips I take with the dog.

Permanent four-wheel-drive, with a viscous centre diff and an LSD on the rear axle, means traction in snow and muddy fields is excellent. In the snows of early 2010, the car kept going through situations I was sure it would get stuck! Coupled to a 177 bhp turbo engine, the Impreza-derived suspension and drive train delivers excellent traction on wet roads, and combined with minimum ground clearance of 20 cm, I can't think of many cars that would be faster on a wet rural back-road.

The car has delivered the excellent Japanese reliability I was expecting, and is a welcome break from the dreadful record of my previous car (a 1999 BMW 535i V8). The only expenses have been services and consumable parts.

The first downside is refinement. The cabin is quite noisy at motorway speeds, with wind noise being particularly intrusive. I have to crank the stereo right up, and conversations aren't easy. I understand 2005 and later models received more soundproofing -- the car certainly needs it.

The second downside is that it's an expensive car to run. Despite the relatively small engine, it's not much more economical than the V8 it replaced! In mixed driving, I'm averaging 26 - 28 mpg (UK). Long motorway runs return slightly worse economy, and the best I've ever managed is 31 mpg pottering around the Loire on French D roads. Service intervals are 7,500 miles/12,000 km, which leaves me paying for two services a year.

My Forester has climate control and leather seats, but you definitely get the impression that the fixtures and fittings were designed for long life, rather than surprise and delight.

On balance, I'm happy with the car. There are very few that tick so many performance, reliability, and versatility boxes so well. A little more refinement would go some way to making up for the costly running costs though!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2010

2004 Subaru Forester X Series 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand


Good car. 5 star safety rating


We still own it from new.

* 2nd service done from Subaru. The brake rotor needs to changed or polished. They told me that it is due to bad driving habits. But, after we have done 68000km... no problem. So I am guessing maybe it was faulty from the beginning.

* Changed the radiator cap. It was faulty. We were driving up to Sydney. Noticed the temp was starting to go up.

Changed the radiator cap; after that no problem.

General Comments:

Good car. Solid and reliable car.

Recommend to small families.

Parts are expensive.

General service most of the time costs us $300.

I heard the Toyota Camry costs $88. (same year model)

Car is not big. If you have a big family or four or five adults, it might be bit crowded. Or if you are tall... no one can sit in the back.

We bought it because of our kids. I wanted a 5 star safety rating.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th March, 2009