Monday, April 15, 2013

Used Car Review - Subaru Forester (2003-2008)

Enjoying summer is fun with a capable SUV, and with that in mind Myk Belmonte advises you to consider this SUV.

2003-2008 Subaru Forester

First of all, why would I persuade you on buying this SUV where in fact that it looks like more of a raised wagon than a rugged compact. The answers lie on the later paragraphs, but the decision if you will buy is yours since I am not as influential as Barack Obama or PSY (even performing his new single "Gentleman"), it is your money and you'll use it; not as a birthday gift to me.

I may tell this tale again that the Forester shares the platform with the Impreza. The generation that is being tackled here is the SG which was available from 2003 to 2008. While the exterior appears to be identical from the model it preceded, internal improvements were done which includes a trip to the gym for weight loss (hence, the use of aluminum and hydro forming) and both displacements can be ordered in a diet of normal and turbocharged. You might not know this but a Japan exclusive Forester STI that uses the engine of the Impreza WRX STI was available in 2004, it scared off other athletic sports cars.

From launch up to 2005, the Forester was available in the basic 2.0 guise through GM Automobiles Philippines, who was also responsible for the distribution of Chevrolet and Opel vehicles. But Motor Image Pilipinas can into the scene and offered both naturally aspirated and turbo models and offered them until the middle of 2008, with the SH Forester being available in July of that year.

Value and Costs
Having the security of a standard all wheel drive is just a sub-700k bargain. You will encounter SG Foresters in both turbo and non-turbo and some of them have cosmetic body kits that are installed when brand new and are genuine.

Whether purchased a unit from GM Automobiles' era or Motor Image period, you are welcome to service your car at any authorized Motor Image dealership. Since all-wheel drive is activated all the time, make sure to keep an eye on the two pairs of axes and gears, one piece of propeller shaft, and a differential. Fuel expenses can be higher than a compact with a 4x2 drive train plus the turbo engine must be fed with high octane gasoline.

Exterior and Interior
While marketed as a compact SUV, it is a compact crossover wagon in reality. But installing some STI body kits the dull image is vanished, plus a hood scoop for turbo models gives it a livelier look. Let us not deal with the exterior more since this is not the main reason for buying this.

Thankfully, the dashboard controls are similar with sedans and they are placed logically. Since this is a Japan made vehicle, material quality is excellent and you won't be disappointed for the price. Another plus is the seating position that is a bit higher than a sedan but definitely lower than an SUV, a good thing for families who have members of various structures. Space is decent for everyone but the rear can be a bit tight for some. Cargo space is impressive, thanks to the wagon styling and it is the same with all around visibility.

As I mentioned earlier, two engine configurations are available for your Forester. First in the line is a 1,994cc normally aspirated engine with 125hp at 5,600rpm and 188Nm at 3,600rpm. Those who want an extra kick or boost would opt for a 2,457 turbo that churns out 230hp at 5,600rpm and 326Nm at 3,600rpm. All of the above mentioned engines have four cylinders arranged in a horizontal position. A good thing about Subaru's boxer engines is the low center of gravity, steering can give you confidence. Now to how they perform, while the basic 2.0 model performs decently, those who want more punch must consider the 2.5 turbo. The latter model is a sleeper, anonymous outside, but push it at 3,600rpm and the available torque are unleashed.

Driving Impressions
Turbo or without, the Forester is a hoot to drive, especially when attacking corners. The suspension can take all the abuses thanks to the elongated posture. While the non-turbo is the San Miguel Pale Pilsen, capable but bland; the 2.5 XT is the Red Horse of the Forester SG's, it has the extra power and moments behind the wheel is never dull, similar to the beer that is extra-strong. With much power on your hands, utilizing them is a challenge. Similar to the warnings at the end of liquor commercials of drink responsibly, the Forester turbo would warrant a drive responsibly warning. But that should be the case in all vehicles, being responsible is the key for driving thrill.

A great car does not need a million dollar endorsements from a celebrity, people would proceed to the nearest dealership and buy them in droves. The Subaru Forester SG, in turbo flavor, is an impressive car that can be a practical partner that a WRX STI or an Evo cannot do, wade in floods and be driven in dirt roads. But even the naturally aspirated model is a great partner for those long drives, so the choice is yours.

The Good:
  • This SUV wants to have fun
  • Blistering turbo version
  • Good cargo area
The Bad:
  • Dull looks
  • Not that spacious inside
  • Anonymous looks in 2.0 guise
The Pick: 2.0 X

Engines: 1,994cc normally aspirated and 2,457 turbo horizontal 4 engine
Power: 125hp @ 5,600rpm (2003-2005 normally aspirated), 158hp @ 6,400rpm (2006-2008 normally aspirated), 230hp @ 5,600rpm (turbo)
Torque: 188Nm @ 3,600rpm (2003-2005 normally aspirated), 190Nm @ 3,200rpm (2006-2008 normally aspirated), 326Nm @ 3,600rpm (turbo)
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 9-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent dual-link strut

Price (New): P1,150,000-P1,650,000
Price (Now): P450,000-P750,000
Rivals: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda Tribute, Suzuki Grand Vitara
On Sale: 2003-2008

Subaru Greenhills - (02) 727-3687
Subaru Global City - (02) 822-4389
Subaru Alabang - (02) 519-7123

Photos courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment