Subaru Forester (2002–2008)

What's good

Again rated top compact towcar or 2004 by The Caravan Club.

Highest placed car in German 2006 TUV reliability report.

What to watch out for

Criticised by one reader because the "rear seat squab is very shallow and that combined with the lack of legroom made it a poor distance car for the family. High boot floor made the luggage capacity pretty poor."

Gearchange problems reported, particularly getting into reverse, 4th to 5th and 5th to 4th. Reports of early clutch failure.

For economy reasons, the alternator does not start recharging the battery until the engine is fully to temperature, resulting in flat batteries for cars driven short distances from cold. The answer is to switch on the side lights or headlights creating a need for power that clutches the alternator on so it recharges the battery.

14-8-2011: 'Official' LPG converted engines have been suffering exhaust valce seat recession in as little as 40,000 miles. Subaru has been fixing cars under warranty, but this could become a problem when the car is out of warranty.

22-10-2011: 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 with an air valve and replaced both. I was charged the princely sum of £1,145." Apparently this is common.

16-2-2019: 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 brought out an update a few years ago and the garage said they'd run an ECU re-flash to update the system. Now the dashboard lights have all come on and the car is showing a P2432 error code. Apparently, thanks to the update, the car has detected that there's a problem with the auxiliary air pump and valves. This system is designed to pump air into the exhaust for 30 seconds after a cold start to help reduce emissions. The garage reckons it's going to cost around £1,200 to fix. Unfortunately, they can't put the car's ECU back to it's original state as it's an emissions issue. It's also an MoT failure.

27-3-2019: 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 to loss of coolant at 66,000 miles. Will now fail MoT due to repairable corrosion at rear offside.

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