2002 Subaru Forester

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Key Specs

of the 2002 Subaru Forester. Base trim shown.

2002 Subaru Forester Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Launched for the 1998 model year, Subaru’s crossover, all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle was redesigned for 2001 with a fresh appearance in the front and rear. The 2002 model went on sale in April 2001. The new Forester packs more standard equipment than before and comes with a new Premium Package.

New standard features include daytime running lights and a cargo area cover, as well as a dual-mode rear wiper with single-speed and fixed intermittent modes and washer. Subaru still offers both the L and step-up S models, but a new Premium Package for the S edition includes leather-trimmed upholstery, which is offered only in the Forester S with automatic transmission.



Exterior
While other Subarus resemble passenger cars, the four-door Forester is a compact SUV with a taller body than its mates. Side body cladding has been changed from Titanium Pearl to Graystone metallic for 2002 models. Like Subaru’s Impreza models, the Forester rides a 99.4-inch wheelbase. The overall length is 175.6 inches, and it stands 65 inches tall.

All Foresters have a roof-top luggage rack, heavy-duty suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, and fog lights. A power moonroof is installed on the S edition, which wears monotone paint instead of the usual two-tone appearance. Gold-accented aluminum alloy wheels hold P215/60HR16 tires on the Forester S, while the Forester L gets 15-inch tires.



Interior
With a seating capacity for five occupants, the Forester has bucket seats up fron...
Vehicle Overview
Launched for the 1998 model year, Subaru’s crossover, all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle was redesigned for 2001 with a fresh appearance in the front and rear. The 2002 model went on sale in April 2001. The new Forester packs more standard equipment than before and comes with a new Premium Package.

New standard features include daytime running lights and a cargo area cover, as well as a dual-mode rear wiper with single-speed and fixed intermittent modes and washer. Subaru still offers both the L and step-up S models, but a new Premium Package for the S edition includes leather-trimmed upholstery, which is offered only in the Forester S with automatic transmission.



Exterior
While other Subarus resemble passenger cars, the four-door Forester is a compact SUV with a taller body than its mates. Side body cladding has been changed from Titanium Pearl to Graystone metallic for 2002 models. Like Subaru’s Impreza models, the Forester rides a 99.4-inch wheelbase. The overall length is 175.6 inches, and it stands 65 inches tall.

All Foresters have a roof-top luggage rack, heavy-duty suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, and fog lights. A power moonroof is installed on the S edition, which wears monotone paint instead of the usual two-tone appearance. Gold-accented aluminum alloy wheels hold P215/60HR16 tires on the Forester S, while the Forester L gets 15-inch tires.



Interior
With a seating capacity for five occupants, the Forester has bucket seats up front and a split, folding rear seat. Floor and overhead consoles are equipped with storage areas. Cloth upholstery is standard, with leather available as an option for either model. Other Forester options are offered only in packages.

Standard L equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control, power mirrors and door locks, a tilt steering wheel, cassette stereo system, cargo cover, integrated window antenna, rear defroster and wiper/washer, carpeted floormats and five cupholders. Selecting the S edition adds such extras as an in-dash six-CD changer and an all-weather package, which includes heated seats and mirrors as well as a limited-slip differential.



Under the Hood
Making 165 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque, the Forester’s horizontally opposed 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine also is used in the redesigned Impreza series. A five-speed-manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed-automatic unit is sold as an option. Permanently engaged all-wheel is standard, as it is on all Subaru models. When properly equipped, the Forester can tow as much as 1 ton.



Safety
Dual front airbags are standard, and the Forester S also has side-impact airbags. Antilock brakes are standard on all models, but the Forester S has all-disc brakes instead of the front-disc/rear-drum setup used on the Forester L.



Driving Impressions
There aren’t many tangible faults, but some are difficult to pinpoint; yet the Forester doesn’t seem quite as friendly as it should be. This is somewhat concerning because Subaru’s SUV faces greater competition these days not only with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but also with Ford’s Escape and Mazda’s Tribute.

Due to its easily manageable size and utility, the Forester is appealing for the most part. But it does suffer from a ride that can get tiring on long trips. In addition to hitting some bumps a little too hard, it’s just jittery enough on the highway to become displeasing. The Forester steers with a very light touch and requires little correction on straightaways.

Throttle response is rather eager and spirited. The powertrain is quiet at all times, and the automatic transmission operates smoothly with only a bit of a “blip” noted during some shifts. Gauges are very good, though the stereo sits quite low.

The driver’s seat is supportive but doesn’t feel totally comfortable, due in part to its short seat bottom. Front-seat space is fine, but elbow room could be more abundant. Knee room can be marginal in the backseat, but headroom is adequate. Three people aren’t going to squeeze into the rear unless they’re quite slim.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

Latest 2002 Forester Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.1)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great, reliable car

by Krsna108 from Wheeling, WV on July 3, 2018

It was my favorite vehicle...lots of room and very reliable especially in the snow. You NEVER slide in the snow or ice. Great for difficult road conditions. Read full review

(5.0)

A very reliable starter car.

by MToth from Grafton, Wv on June 22, 2018

This car is a great starter car. It drives very nice on the roads and I especially like the fact that is an all wheel drive. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2002 Subaru Forester currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2002 Subaru Forester has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Forester received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker