Explore 14 Best Subaru Forester Years You Can Go For

Subaru Forester is one of the most reliable and affordable SUVs in 2024. However, before you purchase, you must learn about the worst and best Subaru Forester years. Sport utility vehicles are the most popular vehicles. They are not only spacious and reliable but also luxurious and comfortable.

The Subaru Forester is one such SUV that you can buy in 2024 without having any second thoughts. However, not every Forester model is worth your money. Some of its releases carry more problems than good features and vice versa.

Subaru Forester has been in the American automotive market for over 27 years, giving you various generations or productions to choose from. But whether the Forester model you wish to buy is, the right choice can only be determined if you learn about the best and worst years for the Subaru Forester.

Thus, we bring you this guide to help you explore all generations along with the best Subaru Forester years to buy and avoid. Keep reading to learn if the Subaru Forester model you are considering buying is among the best or worst years.

Knowing which Subaru Forester model years are worth consideration and which are not will save you money and hassle. But before that, let us take a closer look at Subaru Forester. Subaru Forester is a compact crossover SUV manufactured by Japanese automaker Subaru since 1997.

The model has completed its 27 years in production, making it a great model to invest in, especially if you have little to no knowledge about cars.

The Forester model lineup is one of Subaru’s most successful ones. Currently, the model is in its fifth generation and is in high demand in a brand-new market and the used car market.

With buyers so much trust and interest in a car, it ensures the model is worth buying. However, not every Forester model from the lineup is a great choice. Auto manufacturers release models year after year, sometimes with massive changes or enhancements and sometimes with minute tweaks.

These changes create the difference between the different model year releases of the same model. Some releases become popular and must-by, while others become the red flags one needs to avoid.

This is also the case with Subaru Forester, and to ensure you are investing your money in the right place, you need to learn about Subaru Forester’s best and worst years.

Another crucial thing you should know is that you can own the best Subaru Forester model in the used car market if a brand-new one is expensive. And if not, 2025 Subaru Forester is all set to hit the American dealerships in the Spring of 2024.

Best And Worst Years For Subaru Forester – Everything You Need To Know

We have leveraged data from credible sources like Consumer ReportsNHTSAJD PowerEdmund, and Kelley Blue Book to ensure you get all the correct information regarding the best and worst years Subaru Forester.

We have gone through years of owner feedback, recall data, and safety ratings to provide unbiased data on which Subaru Forester model years are better and worse than the others.

Subaru Forester is a great SUV introduced as a visionary ride offering the benefits of passenger cars with the versatility of a sport utility vehicle.

It was and is a practical ride offering great interior space & comfort, enhanced visibility, top tech & safety features, a signature all-wheel-drive system, and more.

Before we explore Subaru Forester years to avoid and buy, let us look at all Forester generations since its introduction to the world in 1997.

Subaru Forester Generations

  • 1st generation (1998-2002)
  • 2nd generation (2003-2008)
  • 3rd generation (2009-2013)
  • 4th generation (2014-2018)
  • 5th generation (2019-Present)

14 Best Subaru Forester Years To Buy – Find The Most Reliable Model Here

The Subaru Forester is an excellent ride for singles and growing families. The model has been in the market for 27 years now. It has undergone various changes and upgrades over the years, making some of its releases better than others.

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 are the Subaru Forester’s best years. You can choose to buy new or used releases of these model years and own a Forester you can rely on the road.

Below, we have reviewed all the best Subaru Forester years to buy for you to better understand each model year. This way, you can learn what makes one year’s release different from the other and proceed accordingly.

1. 2000 Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester best and worst years

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $2,092 – $3,161
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 hp
  • MPG: 21 City / 28 Highway

The best year for Subaru Forester from its first generation is 2000. The 2000 Subaru Forester is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated with a five-speed manual transmission producing 165 horsepower.

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This SUV is low maintenance, safe to drive in all weather, reliable, suitable for off-roading, and very handy, especially with its all-wheel drive feature. The enhanced powertrain, better overall drivability, and affordable price make the 2000 the best Forester year to buy.

The original price for a 2000 Subaru Forester was $21,390, but you can now own it in the used market for as low as $2,092.

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Affordable
  • Safe in all weather
  • Good gas mileage
  • Car-like ride and handling

Cons

  • Limited rear seat room
  • Not a true off-roader

2. 2001 Subaru Forester

Best and worst years for subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $2,222 – $3,301
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 hp
  • MPG: 21 City / 28 Highway

Another best year for used Subaru Forester that you can go for without any worry is 2001. The 2001 Subaru Forester came with refreshed exterior styling and new upgrades to the interior.

This SUV is safe to drive in all weather, whether rain, snow, or ice. It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, channeling 165 hp.

All-wheel drive is standard on all trims, making it highly reliable. 2001 Forester can be a great first ride for your teenager as it is dependable and will cost you only $2,222 to get its used variant.

The availability of sufficient airbags, good safety features, and necessary tech make this low-maintenance ride a good purchase.

Pros

  • Functional interior
  • Car-like ride and handling
  • Refreshed front and rear fascias
  • Upgrades to the interior
  • Low maintenance
  • Safe ride for all weather conditions

Cons

  • Limited rear seat room
  • Not a true off-roader

3. 2002 Subaru Forester

Best subaru forester years to buy

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $2,473 – $3,560
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 hp
  • MPG: Up to 22 city / 27 highway

The 2002 Subaru Forester came with three new standard features over its previous year model. It now features a cargo area cover, daytime running lights, and an intermittent mode for the rear wiper.

Like all of its predecessors, this one also came with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine under its hood, producing 165 hp. It has received a four-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, making it a safe ride for teenagers, adults, and elders.

Pros

  • Rugged SUV styling
  • Car-like ride and handling
  • Highest offset crash scores in its class
  • Reliable
  • Safe to drive in all weather

Cons

  • Not ideal for serious off-roading

4. 2003 Subaru Forester

Best years for subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $3,458 – $3,618
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 hp
  • MPG: 19 City / 24 Highway

The second-generation Foresters are one of the best ones you can buy in 2024. The model year 2003 Forester can be yours for an average market price of $3,458 for a used variant. However, the price can vary based on the condition, mileage, location, and other factors associated with the model.

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This SUV can reach the maximum power of 165 hp, all thanks to its 2.5 L 4-cylinder engine paired with standard all-wheel drive. The 2003 Forester is safe to drive in all regions, whether snow-stricken or rainy. Its compact size makes maneuvering this ride easy, even for new drivers.

Pros

  • Reliable ride in all weather conditions
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Reliable and Dependable
  • Availability of upscale features
  • High safety scores

Cons

  • Only one engine choice

5. 2004 Subaru Forester

Best years for subaru forester used

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $2,894 – $4,113
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 to 210 hp
  • MPG: 16 City / 22 Highway

2004 is another year among the best years Subaru Forester has for its fanatics. Subaru finally added another trim in the lineup powered by a potent turbocharged engine producing up to 210 horsepower.

2004 Forester is a well-built, practical ride that is enjoyable to drive. It is filled with upscale features and all-weather drivability, making it a great vehicle to invest in.

The quality, reliability, comfort, safety, and versatility of the 2004 Subaru Forester make it a great option in the brand-new and used car market. As the model is no longer available in new production, you can get it in the pre-owned car market for as low as $2,894.

Pros

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Potent engine options
  • Impressive crash test scores

Cons

  • Limited legroom in the rear

6. 2005 Subaru Forester

Best year for used subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $2,749 – $3,885
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 165 to 210 hp
  • MPG: Up to 23 city / 30 highway

The 2005 Subaru Forester is a great model you can buy in 2024. This best Subaru Forester year has an enhanced engine featuring electronic throttle control, an air filtration system, and a new four-speed automatic transmission option.

The 2005 Forester features spacious and comfortable five-person seating, power windows, leather seats, dual power front seats, power driver’s seat, ample cargo space, and good fuel economy.

For your entertainment, it comes with a DVD entertainment system, MP3 player, and CD player. The hands-free phone integration, cruise control, and navigation system will improve your driving experience compared to its predecessor models.

Pros

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Potent engine options
  • Class-leading crash test scores
  • Availability of upscale features

Cons

  • Cramped rear seats for adults

7. 2011 Subaru Forester

Subaru forester best and worst years

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $5,026 – $6,517
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 170 to 224 hp
  • MPG: Up to 21 city / 27 highway

2011 is another one of the best Subaru Forester year you can go for without issues. This affordable compact SUV has a generously sized cabin, comfortable seating, and ample cargo space.

The 2011 Subaru Forester is a well-rounded SUV ideal for anyone looking for a refined ride at an affordable price. You get two engine options: a 2.5 L 4-cylinder and its turbocharged one that gives a power output of up to 224 hp when paired with standard all-wheel drive.

This model has received a four-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, ensuring its safety. Also, the 2011 Subaru Forester is a top pick in the highly competitive small SUV segment in the American used automotive market.

Pros

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Spacious cabin
  • Ample cargo space
  • Strong turbocharged engine available

Cons

  • Still using outdated 4-speed automatic transmission
  • Unimpressive finish

8. 2012 Subaru Forester

Best years subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $5,528 – $7,129
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 170 to 224 hp
  • MPG: Up to 21 city / 27 highway

Another model year that is marked as the best year of Subaru Forester is 2012. The 2012 Forester has roomy seats, a good interior, potent engines, and composed handling. With two engine options, this ride can get a power output of up to 224 hp.

The base four-cylinder engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission as standard. In contrast, the turbocharged engine and four-speed automatic transmission are available as options.

For 2012, the model gets a height-adjustable front passenger seat as standard. Both rows have ample head- and leg room, wide door openings, and good outward visibility.

You get three 12-volt power points, a CD player, an auxiliary input, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, and a standard rear window wiper/washer.

Pros

  • Roomy
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Great for regular off-roading adventures
  • Respectable towing ability
  • Turbo engine option

Cons

  • Unresponsive automatic transmission
  • Mediocre interior build quality

9. 2016 Subaru Forester

Best and worst subaru forester years

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $11,895 – $15,012
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder, 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 170 to 250 hp
  • MPG: Up to 24 city / 32 highway

The 2016 Subaru Forester comes with plenty of seating and cargo space. Both rows are spacious enough to comfortably seat adults. The all-wheel drive is standard, a common occurrence for compact SUVs around 2016.

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It comes powered by two engine options mated with standard all-wheel drive and CVT or 6-speed manual, channeling 170 to 250 hp. This ride is an excellent option for anyone looking for a practical conveyance that can sail smoothly in harsh weather conditions.

Pros

  • Airy interior
  • Spacious seating in both rows
  • Good cargo hold
  • The potent optional turbocharged engine is impressive
  • All-wheel drive is standard
  • Above-average off-road ability

Cons

  • Small standard touchscreen
  • Does not feel as sporty as you want it to be

10. 2018 Subaru Forester

Best and worst years subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $16,075 – $19,204
  • Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder, 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 170 to 250 hp
  • MPG: Up to 22 City / 28 Highway

The 2018 Subaru Forester is a well-rounded compact SUV with impressive performance, a spacious interior, good cargo capacity, and excellent gas mileage. Two engine options offer commendable power of up to 250 hp. The balanced ride and handling dynamics make driving this compact SUV a treat.

This SUV has received a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, making it a safe car for you and your family. Good fuel efficiency, practical interior, and ample space make the 2018 Forester a tremendous everyday ride.

However, the availability of limited standard safety features is a big letdown. Other than this, it is a great option, like the Honda CR-V.

Pros

  • Spacious front and rear seats
  • Excellent cargo capacity
  • Many available safety features
  • Good fuel efficiency
  • Best-in-segment outward visibility

Cons

  • A short list of standard features
  • Dated interior

11. 2021 Subaru Forester

Best years subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • Average Price: $23,736 – $27,770
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 182 hp
  • MPG: 26 City / 33 Highway

The best Subaru Forester year 2021 lets you own one of the recently released good models. For model year 2021, Forester gets adaptive LED headlamps and automatic high beams as standard across the entire lineup.

There are now five trim levels for you to choose from, and you can expect to pay between $23,736 and $27,770 to own one. All 2021 Subaru Forester models are powered by a 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder engine paired with continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, making 182 horsepower.

You can drive this SUV quickly on paved and unpaved paths without any worry. The interior quality of the ride has improved dramatically from its predecessors.

The cabin is spacious and straightforward, with comfortable seating and excellent outward visibility. Adults can easily relax in the bench seat of the second row.

You get plenty of standard tech and safety features. The infotainment system is user-friendly, and even elders can use it effortlessly. Lastly, the 2021 Forester has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and a GOOD evaluation from IIHS.

Pros

  • Spacious & Comfortable interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Practical ride

Cons

  • Slow acceleration

12. 2022 Subaru Forester

Best and worst years for subaru forester

Key Specifications

  • MSRP: From $25,895
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 182 hp
  • MPG: Up to 26 City / 33 Highway

The 2022 Subaru Forester is one of the most spacious compact SUVs around. It has ample passenger space, comfortable seating, great cargo capacity, good fuel economy, and decent off-road ability.

For the model year 2022, Forester came with updated exterior styling, including block-looking headlamps, a reworked grille, & new wheel designs, and an all-new trim added to the lineup.

All the 2022 Forester models are powered by a 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder engine paired with standard all-wheel drive and continuously variable automatic transmission, making 182 hp. This SUV can tow up to 1500 pounds, attain a top speed of 129 mph, and sprint from zero to 60 mph in an estimated seconds.

As per EPA, you get an impressive 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, making the 2022 Forester an efficient ride. The interior is spacious, straightforward, nicely finished, and offers plentiful outward visibility.

You get a standard touchscreen infotainment system for your entertainment using Subaru’s latest Starlink interface. Lastly, the 2022 Subaru Forester has bagged a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, making it a safe choice.

Pros

  • Spacious and comfortable two-row layout
  • Smooth ride quality
  • Plenty of cargo space
  • Updated exterior styling
  • Good fuel economy

Cons

  • Poky acceleration

13. 2023 Subaru Forester

Best years for subaru forester used

Key Specifications

  • MSRP: From $26,395
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 182 hp
  • MPG: Up to 26 City / 33 Highway

The 2023 Subaru Forester is a practical ride you will not regret buying. The model year 2023 is one of the best years for Subaru Forester used and new variants. Its interior is spacious, with many intuitive features, and offers comfortable ride quality and good fuel efficiency.

All 2023 Forester models for your entertainment come with a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen display integrated with Subaru’s latest Starlink interface.

There are two USB ports for front seat passengers, while two more are optional and will reside on the back of the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, with navigation being optional. 

The 2023 Forester has received a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, all thanks to its standard safety features like automated emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, & more.

Pros

  • Well-built, roomy interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Pleasant ride quality
  • The second row is adult-friendly

Cons

  • Slow acceleration

14. 2024 Subaru Forester

Subaru forester best and worst years

Key Specifications

  • MSRP: From $27,095
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 182 hp
  • MPG: Up to 26 City / 33 Highway

The latest and the final best year for Subaru Forester is 2024. You can buy this practical and family-friendly sport utility vehicle for a starting price of $27,095. The 2024 Forester comes with a cavernous cabin for its class. There is ample cargo hold to fit your long-trip luggage with ease.

The interior has comfortable seats, ample head- and leg-room, a user-friendly infotainment system, and other advanced tech features. You get to enjoy gentle ride quality that will relax you while you are on the road. 

Your purchase is safe due to the standard Subaru’s EyeSight suite of camera-based driver-assistance features. Lastly, the 2024 Subaru Forester has a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, making it a safe model to buy.

Pros

  • Practical interior layout
  • Ample seating and cargo space
  • Relaxed and comfortable ride quality
  • Good fuel economy

Cons

  • Lackluster acceleration

10 Worst Subaru Forester Years To Avoid – Know These Red Flags Before You Buy

If you want to make sure you are buying a Subaru Forester that is worth your money, you need to learn that not all releases of the model lineup are significant purchases.

You need to steer clear of some model years as they offer many issues. So far, we have explored the best years of Subaru Forester. However, only knowing will not help you make an informed decision.

You also need to know about the worst Subaru Forester years so that you are not tempted by the shiny appearance and affordable prices. 1998, 1999, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019 are the Subaru Forester’s worst years. 

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Thus, you must avoid these model years and ensure no one in your known falls for the traps of attractive deals of these years, especially in the used car market.

We know that simply telling you which years to avoid will not help. We have solid reasons for our outcomes, which we will explain below.

– 1998 Subaru Forester

The model year 1998 is a big no, mainly because it came with many engine problems. The head gasket failures in the 2.5l DOHC engines became a recurring annoyance among the owners.

Not only this, but the 1998 model year also came with transmission hitches where there were occasions of clutch chattering & failing to engage.

Other than this, the suspension was undergoing premature wear, and there was subsequent failure of rear wheel bearings and extended braking distance in colder environments.

– 1999 Subaru Forester

The 1999 Forester came with many issues similar to the 1998 model year releases. Head gasket failure was still a significant issue, with wheel bearing wear becoming a recurrent problem, transmission failure also carried on, and shifting difficulties became the most common user complaint.

– 2006 Subaru Forester

Like a few of its predecessors, the 2006 Forester was also troubled by many issues people could not turn a blind eye to. Leaky head gasket issues were highly prominent in colder regions, disrupting the vehicle’s performance.

Besides this, the strong fuel smell in cold weather and rusting of the front lower control arm, which led to possible breaking mainly in colder regions, was a huge concern.

These problems were heavy on the owner’s pocket in the name of maintenance and a severe threat to their safety.

– 2009 Subaru Forester 

The 2009 Forester came with a significant passenger frontal airbag inflator issue. The issue posed a risk where inflators could explode and project sharp metal fragments that could cause serious injuries.

In addition, many electrical malfunctions in the 2009 Forester were affecting dashboard displays, warning indicators, and windshield wipers.

Lastly, a potential break in the engine oil supply pipe that, if not fixed, could lead to significant engine damage also became the highlight of model year 2009.

– 2010 Subaru Forester

For the model year 2010, users have quite a handful of complaints. The driver’s seat’s front left side welding was the most prominent one, which tended to break, leading to the seat collapsing. The head gasket issues were occasional but still present, along with many previous generations’ headaches.

– 2013 Subaru Forester

The model year 2013 is among the worst years of Subaru Forester’s third generation. It also carried over many issues from its predecessors. Still, the one that became a highlight was the issue of brake line corrosion, prominent in the states that used heavy salt during winters.

– 2014 Subaru Forester 

2014 was the debut year for the fourth-generation Subaru Forester, but it became a disappointment due to the issues it brought with it. There were problems with the Occupant Detection System (ODS), which illuminated the passenger-side airbag warning light.

Also, suspension concerns arose when the suspension exhibited wobbling at higher speeds, causing the SUV to shake. Another big issue in 2014 Forester was excessive oil consumption, a carryover from the previous years.

– 2015 Subaru Forester

2015 Forester also inherited some problems from its previous model years, like airbag issues, mainly the faulty ODS. In addition, there were many complaints about engine issues, with excessive oil consumption remaining the primary concern.

Furthermore, the automobile’s erratic speed control was also a big concern. The vehicle seemed to spontaneously lose or gain speed, causing danger on the road.

– 2017 Subaru Forester

In the model year 2017, Forester encountered problems related to spontaneous cracks appearing on the windshields and corrosion within condenser tube walls, leading to refrigerant leaks compromising cooling efficiency.

– 2019 Subaru Forester

The final year on this list of worst Subaru Forester years is 2019. This year’s releases came with annoying problems like cracked windshields, Thermostat Control Valve (TCV) failures, and unpredictable EyeSight safety systems causing trouble while driving.

Top FAQs About Subaru Forester Best And Worst Years

What were the common Subaru Forester reliability problems over the years?

Subaru Forester has suffered from many problems that made its buyers unhappy.

Some issues were limited to a generation or model year, while others remained persistent throughout the model’s timeline.

Sensor failures, faulty air conditioning, oil leakage, high oil consumption, engine issues, accidental acceleration, defective airbags, leaking brake fluid, and failure of air conditioning system were prominent issues that led to many complaints and recalls of Forester since its launch.

Is it necessary to know about the best and worst Subaru Forester years?

YES. If you are buying a car, especially in the used car market, you need to learn the model’s best and worst years of production to save yourself from getting ripped off.

Buying a car model from its worst years will cause trouble no matter how attractive a deal you are offered.

Thus, knowing which Subaru Forester years come with which issues will give you a clear picture to make an informed decision.

How long will a Subaru Forester last?

The lifeline of any automobile is decided by its make and how well the owner keeps it.

A well-maintained Subaru Forester can give you a lifespan of 200,000 to 250,000 miles.

In other words, you can drive your Subaru Forester for more than 15 years if you put about 15,000 miles on it yearly.

Does the Subaru Forester work efficiently in the snow?

Absolutely. One of the Subaru Forester’s best features is its exceptional performance in snowy conditions.

And with the recent models coming standard with all-wheel drive, make the Foresters even better rides for snowy conditions.

Forester’s excellent vehicle dynamic control will ensure your safety on snowy roads.

Thus, if you live in snow-prone regions and want an affordable vehicle to tackle your everyday commute, nothing is better than the Subaru Forester.

Is there a 2025 Subaru Forester?

YES. Subaru is all set to release its latest Subaru Forester for the model year 2025. This upcoming sixth-generation ride is said to offer more passenger room, a quieter ride, and a new modernized look.

Again, all models come with a flat four-cylinder engine under the hood with all-wheel drive and continuously variable transmission as standard.

This time, there is enough extra ground clearance to get you through moderate off-road tracks. 

The compact size of this upcoming Forester makes it easy to place in parking and maneuver well in tight places.

The 2025 Subaru Forester will hit American dealerships in the Spring of 2024. The release date is almost here, and you can own it for an estimated starting price of $29,000.

Conclusion

The Subaru Forester is one of the most practical rides you can currently own. The vehicle is ideal for solo travelers and families. You enjoy comfort, style, and composed & quiet dynamics at prices you can not ignore.

However, not all Forester releases are worth buying. Thus, you need to know the worst and best Subaru Forester year to ensure you get your money’s worth on your purchase.

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