28th May 2009, 23:57
My '01 Forester 5-speed has needed wheel bearings, and a clutch under warranty. I replaced the clutch master cylinder out of my pocket. The clock died so I bought one of those. And the auto-dimming mirror went out, resulting in a new mirror and windshield. Those last two can't be blamed on Subaru.
I think these are excellent cars. Things are not perfect at the factory. But once you get the car broken in it rumbles along stepping over bumps and doing its tricks like a fetch dog who sees your pump fake before you do.
My job has me driving Porsches, Bentleys, and Mercedes. The Forester can show-up each in some important criterion-usually body control, or weight, most definitely reliability.
When you buy the "S" 5-speed you are getting limited slip differentials front and rear with a 50/50 torque split viscous coupling in the middle. It is vastly simpler than other manufacturers and beats them in NVH and effectiveness.
Remember, the Mercedes G-Wagen has cabin adjustable viscous couplings front rear and center. Forester gets awfully close for about a quarter of the price.
The boxer engine needs neither balance shafts nor load bearing oil pans to deliver class-leading four-cylinder refinement without the weight or fuel cost of either. No ribs in the block to shore-up stiffness. To my eye horizontally opposed engines are the height of reciprocating engine technology.
Yes, a Porsche flat six is nicer, but a lot more temperamental. Porches get slapped around by bumps my car wouldn't notice. And being tall I hate the 911 convertible's shoulder belt pulling down on me. The tiny fuel tank is annoying too. A 3.7 liter flat six will drink when you give it the bit.
My car has 95K miles. It's had synthetic lube in the motor and gearbox from new. The dealer was and is a nightmare. The car has immense capability for the price. I trust it in mountains and desert. It always starts. I haven't gotten more than 35K miles out of an H-rated tire on this car.
I don't want to get rid of it. But when the time comes, the first car I'll check out will be a new 5-speed Forester.