Are you looking into getting a used Subaru Forester, but are feeling overwhelmed with all the production years and generations to choose from? Our team at Cantin Chevrolet located in Laconia, New Hampshire are here to help. We understand that time is in high demand these days, so we have done the hard work for you and put together a good starting point of used Subaru Forester information broken down by generation.
First Generation (1998 – 2002)
The Subaru Forester first made its debut for the 1998 model year. It stood out in the Subaru lineup with its additional ground clearance and tall side glass. The Forester also stood out amongst its competitors by including All-Wheel Drive as a standard feature. It came standard with air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, cassette player, fog lights and ani-lock brakes when those were only offered as upgrades for its competitors. The S trim took the comfort to another level by adding features such as a limited-slip rear differential, 6-disk CD player, heated seats, heated windshield wipers and heated side mirrors.
This first generation of the Subaru quickly became a fan favorite for those wanting to take off-road adventures while retaining a good fuel efficiency for their day-to-day commute. The standard engine for this generation was the 2.5L horizontally opposed flat-four which kept your fuel efficiency consistently around 30 combined mpg while still retaining 165 horsepower. The Forester’s flat-four cylinders allowed the center of gravity to be much lower adding one more positive feature to the off-road necessity list. There were both a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission options available for purchase in this first generation of the Forester. For the most part the Forester didn’t get any huge upgrades during this generation other than a minor updated look in 2000 and the addition of a new S Premium Trim in 2001.
Second Generation (2003 – 2008)
In 2003, most of what changed for the second generation were improvements to the internal workings and build of the vehicle. It got more aluminum pieces which helped reduce the vehicle’s weight, and it got a much larger moonroof. The most significant of the changes made for this generation were its safety improvements. The front side-impact airbags were added and made standard for all Foresters. Due to its safety upgrades, it passed all its crash-tests with flying colors, making this generation much more popular for those who prioritized safety on their list of requirements for a new car.
There were two big changes in the middle of this generation, starting in 2004, when the XT trim was introduced. The XT trim came with larger tires and wheels, a big hood scoop, and most impressively, a 2.5L Turbo-charged engine producing an impressive 224 horsepower.
In 2005 the Forester L.L Bean edition became available which included upgrades such as exclusive leather seats, two-toned paint, and auto-leveling rear suspension. However, the auto-leveling rear suspension was discontinued before the 2008 model release.
Third Generation (2009 – 2013)
In 2009, the Forester received a huge overhaul inside and out. The old “boxy” looking exterior was re-designed to take on a more traditional crossover vehicle look. Because of the new larger design, the Forester now had more ground clearance than before, a roomier rear seat and additional cargo room than any previous year. Along with a space overhaul, its overall ride was improved with better handling. The interior design increased driving visibility and added more convenient features, including steering-wheel audio controls, premium audio system, and a Bluetooth enabled radio and navigation system. Additional safety features were also incorporated. The engine was one of the things that remained the same as the previous generations, though Subaru replaced the rubber timing belt with a metal timing chain to accommodate consumer complaints. The Turbo-Charged engine was also still available in the XT Trim option.
The only other year that saw some updates was 2011. The Forester got some new features this year such as a rear backup camera, HID (High-Intensity-Discharge) headlights, upgraded navigation system and additional Touring Trims.
Fourth Generation (2014 – 2018)
In 2014, the Forester once again got a major styling update. It improved its interior room and ergonomics, along with its higher, more convenient front seats, and more aggressive style. The engine retained the same horsepower and size as before, however some adjustments were made to create increased fuel efficiency for this generation. The XT Turbo-Charged engine that was previously a 2.5L got replaced with a 2.0L engine while retaining the same power as before. It was also in this generation that a 6-speed manual engine was offered on some of the trim options. Additional convenience and safety features were included, such as keyless entry with push button start and the newly available EyeSight Safety Suite which, if added, helped monitor surrounding traffic and alert the driver to danger.
Fifth Generation (2019 – Present)
The current generation of the Forester was released for the 2019 model year. It once again went through a major redesign adding more passenger and cargo space. It also finally received a slightly more impressive engine. The new Sport Trim was also introduced for this generation, opening a new field of the Forester for those looking for additional sport stylings, infotainment features, and engine functionality. The EyeSight Driver Assist Safety Package that was offered on the previous generation now became standard on all Foresters.
If you’re in the market for a functional vehicle with a slim price-tag, the First Generation can fit that bill wonderfully. If you are looking for additional safety and convenience features or a more powerful engine option, the Second and Third generation may be the right choice for you. For the most up-to-date interior and exterior functionality the Fourth and Fifth generation will suit those expectations best. If you need any additional help leveling down your choice, please stop on by today, at Cantin Chevrolet for all your used and new car buying needs.