2003 Forester

Consumer Reviews

2003 Subaru Forester

$1,477 - $8,133  MSRP Range
2003 Subaru Forester

Review Score

4.2 out of 5 stars

4.2

29 Reviews
Score Breakdown
4.2 out of 5 stars Comfort
4.2 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
4.2 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.2 out of 5 stars Reliability
4.1 out of 5 stars Performance
4.2 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 10 of 29 reviews

5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic automobile

by Ryan from Minneapolis on Wed Apr 02 2008

I've put nearly 100,000 miles on this car, and the only thing I've replaced are the tires, brake pads, and a small (cheap fix) gasket. I'm 6'6", and I get plenty of head room, though the seat isn't made for tall folk (nor are many others though). The AWD has torn though anything Mother Nature has thrown at it with ease. It hauls just about anything I've ever thought to put into it just fine. Quite simply, its one of the best cars I've ever driven.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

34 out of 34 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

A good, sturdy dog car

by Dawg Mom from Annapolis, MD on Fri Jan 18 2013

We purchased a used 2003 Subaru Forester with 164k miles from a private buyer through cars.com. It is a sturdy vehicle and, so far, dependable. Nice room for 2 70-lb. dogs, with the back seats folded down. And maybe even one more dog. Drives mostly like a car, versus a full-blown SUV. And, it's 4WD, which will make it my work car during bad weather. I'll bet it was really "stylin'" when it was new! (This particular car has all the bells and whistles.)

4 out of 5 starsComfort
4 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does recommend this car!!

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

"Still" InExpensive and Built to Stay That Way

by Healthcare traveller from Columbia, South Carolina on Sun Sep 14 2008

I purchased my vehicle new in August of 2002 when the new styling was released. I have driven it daily since then and have never had a vehicle as trouble free as this one, ever. I am preparing to take it in for its 105,000 scheduled timing belt change out and recognized that I had not had but two repairs, one I feel I may have contributed to. In over 100,000 miles, I have never had to charnge out a starter, change out an alternator, etc. Things you generally anticipate you will have to at some point, however, not yet for me. If you have the need and the opportunity, you would be well served to at least consider one. Being able to ignore my repairman is worth its weight in gold.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Does recommend this car!!

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

2003 Forester

by stefko from Budd Lake,NJ on Tue Aug 30 2011

151K and still going strong. Just put $1000 in needed repairs. Will go past 200k with no problem. Great car for a new driver, safe and gives 24 mpg avg,

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a New car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

still going strong

by red rocket owner from Kingston Ontario on Fri Oct 23 2015

2003 Red Subaru Forester, still going strong. Reliable, fun to drive, EASY TO PARK!!!, great in areas that have wind and snow issues. Car was purchased used in 2005, because of need for all wheel drive in snow belt of Ontario. Great for safety, consistent excellent performance in all kinds of weather, especially wind, snow and freezing rain. Air conditioning isn't as strong as newer vehicles, but adequate even in heat. Love it for city driving, fast acceleration, ( nickname: red rocket), great visibility. Have spent very little on service.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Great Bang for the Buck Small SUV

by Subaru in the City from Chicago, IL on Wed May 10 2006

We love our Forester, which we bought barely used in 2003 with 2500 miles on it. The car now has 33,000 trouble-free miles on the clock. We most appreciate the Forester's utility and features. The boxy rear end swallows up an amazing amount of cargo, especially with the back seats folded down. And for a vehicle in this price range, there are a lot of amenities, including heated seats, heated mirrors and wipers, 6-CD changer with cassette and power windows/locks and alarm. Gas mileage is great -- routinely 30 MPG on highway trips, and 24 or so in the city. Only a couple of complaints: The LED lights that indicate the climate control settings are hard to see in bright sunlight. And the climate control system is a little wonky -- if you set it to a fixed temperature, like 70 degrees in the winter, the AC will kick on whenever the cabin temp exceeds that. It would be better if the system were a little smoother in transition, rather than blasting cold air, only to have the heat kick back on a couple minutes later.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Current Subaru Owner

by ORL Hurricane Survivor from Maitland, Florida on Thu Jun 29 2006

We currently own a 99 Forester and have been very satisified with it. It has been very reliable and maintenance costs have been low. This 03 model has an much larger feel than our 99 and the interior is much nicer (maybe more modern is a better way of saying it). The alloy wheels on this one make the car look much sportier. We love the size because we spend most of our time in the city and its great to be able to park and still open your doors. We are trying to decide whether to purchase a newer one to have the additional warranty coverage, but my wife says why spend the extra money since we never used the warranty on our current Forester.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

03 Subaru Forester Review

by Robert from Jax from Jacksonville, Fl on Thu Jun 29 2006

This car has a very solid feel and feels very sure footed. It handles really well. The car is clean and seem to have been well taken care of. I really like the air conditioning system because it is so easy to adjust. The doors open wide so the car is easy to get in and out of.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Love it!

by Subaru In the City II from Chicago, IL on Wed May 24 2006

Totally reliable car. Love the heated seats and improved cup holder design. Highly recommend some of the optional accessories --- floor mat and organizer for the hatch area.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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3 out of 5 stars

Just Purchased For Work Vehicle

by Danny S. from Tunnelton, WV on Thu Mar 09 2017

Just purchased this 2003 Subaru Forester with 118K miles. It is running great and so far everything is working well on it.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
3 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
3 out of 5 starsReliability
3 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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Our Take on the 2003 Subaru Forester

How to praise a car when a powerful alternative waits in the wings?

Subaru is reaching for power — turbocharged power — in an effort to broaden its national appeal. Beloved for its utility and its full-line all-wheel-drive systems in regions where the snow flies and ice forms on the roads, the company needs a new edge where the roads stay dry and weather isn't a seasonal challenge.

That's why the rally-inspired WRX was brought to these shores and why — hold on to your seats here — a 300 horsepower version of the WRX is coming soon to a showroom near you. The target: aggressive, young drivers.

They are not the folks who would buy this week's test car, the 2003 Subaru Forester... Read More