Used Subaru Forester 4x4 1997 - 2002 review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Our recommendations

1997 - 2002 review
Subaru Forester 4x4 (97 - 02)
  • Subaru Forester 4x4 (97 - 02)
  • Subaru Forester 4x4 (97 - 02)
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Our recommendations

Which used Subaru Forester 4x4 should I buy?

If you can, buy a face-lifted car from April 2000 (W-plate) onwards, as both the drive and interior were improved.

Although the Forester was on sale for several years, the range never gave much choice. There were only ever two petrol engines, for instance, and three trim levels.

Both engines are Subaru's trademark flat-four units, with either 121bhp or, thanks to a turbocharger, 168bhp. The more powerful unit has enough performance to scare genuine hot hatches, but unless you really need that pace, you'll be happy with the less powerful - and cheaper - 121bhp engine.

Originally, this engine came only in GLS trim, with the option of an All Weather pack, which added luxuries such as air-con, a sunroof and side airbags. This would have added some £2000 to the basic price when the car was new, but the gap today is just a few hundred pounds on the used market, and we'd say that it's worth the extra.

From early 2001, GLS trim died, and the entry model was renamed the 2.0 AWD, but it remains our favourite model.