Review: Subaru Forester (2002 – 2008)


Very useful off-road yet an enjoyable car-like drive on tarmac. Looks and feels classier than its predecessor. Well built. Owners rate it.

No diesel version. High running costs. Gearboxes and clutches can be problematic.

Recently Added To This Review

27 March 2019

Report of 2007 Subaru Forester 2.5 XTE with Pro-drive performance pack when purchased used in 2016. Since then £10,000 spent replacing the engine as a result of damage from over-heating due... Read more

16 February 2019

7 years on from 22-10-2011, reader dropped his 2006 Subaru Forester XT Turbo into the Subaru dealership as the engine had a slight "wobble" when idling. He had read on some internet blogs that Subaru... Read more

22 October 2011

Reader wrote, "Recently the o b d light came on steady and the cruise control light was flashing as was the anti skid control light. The dealer diagnosed a fault in the secondary air pump and also a fault... Read more

Subaru Forester (2002 – 2008): At A Glance

What does a Subaru Forester (2002 – 2008) cost?

Contract hire from £426.37 per month
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Real MPG average for a Subaru Forester (2002 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

21–36 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Subaru Forester (2002 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Can you suggest a second-hand, cheap, small 4x4 to tow a trailer?

Can you suggest a second-hand, cheap, small 4x4 to tow a trailer? The car will be used for infrequent short journeys to pickup furniture, logs and building materials with the occasional longer trip. Ideally, I wish to spend less than £5000 and would like a car that has some interest with the potential to become a "classic".
It sounds like a Land Rover Defender would tick all the boxes, but it has potential to be a money pit for £5000. A Subaru Forester would be an interesting alternative.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 20%
  • 4 star 60%
  • 3 star
  • 2 star 20%
  • 1 star

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