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Subaru Forester (2002-08)

Overall Rating

4 stars

Forester is unassuming but talented, a roomy family 4x4 estate with high reliability, gutsy engines and good equipment. It's nice to drive, surprisingly refined, and quick (though thirsty) in turbocharged XT form.

For
  • Undercuts CR-V and Freelander on price
  • Roomy, practical and well constructed
  • Easy to drive and fairly lively
Against
  • Styling lacks inspiration; a bit dated
  • Fuel and servicing costs are on the high side
  • Not up to heavy off-road use
Road Test

Forester wins points as a spacious family-friendly estate for sensible money. Its four-wheel drive capability reflects a longstanding Subaru strength; it can work hard, makes a good tow car, and drives confidently in all weathers, although it's not a real off-roader because of limited ground clearance. Handling is quite car-like, with excellent grip. The second generation car is less boxy than its predecessor; it's better styled inside, too, with a good driving position and comfortable seats. Five plus luggage fit in easily. It's well equipped but not luxurious - materials are long-lasting but workaday fabric and plastic. The flat-four cylinder 2.0-litre engines help make the car. They're torquey and give good acceleration. Even the basic 125bhp 2.0 makes 60mph in 11 seconds, while the 177bhp XT, which owes more than a nod to the Impreza Turbo, will see off many smaller, lighter cars. But use your right foot heavily, and fuel consumption climbs.

Need To Know

JD Power stars: 4

NCAP: Not tested

Replacement: 2007


Alternatives
Subaru Forester (2002-08)
Star Ratings

Handling

5 stars

Comfort

4 stars

Quality & Reliability

4 stars

Performance

4 stars

Roominess

4 stars

Running Costs

3 stars

Value for Money

4 stars

Stereo/Sat Nav

0 stars
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