Best Bet
  • (4.3) 23 reviews
  • MSRP: $3,639–$12,319
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 21-23
  • Engine: 173-hp, 2.5-liter H-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5
2008 Subaru Forester

Our Take on the Latest Model 2008 Subaru Forester

What We Don't Like

  • Some turbo lag with turbocharged engine
  • Minimal offroad capability
  • No low-range gearing
  • Ride comfort over harsh surfaces
  • No side curtain airbags

Notable Features

  • Available L.L.Bean Edition
  • Standard AWD
  • More powerful turbocharged engine in 2.5 XT Limited
  • Manual or automatic
  • Carlike structure

2008 Subaru Forester Reviews

Vehicle Overview
The Subaru Forester is a compact sport utility vehicle that competes with the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Saturn Vue, even though it looks more like a tall wagon than a traditional SUV. All-wheel drive is standard, and trim levels include the base 2.5 X, Sports 2.5 X, upscale 2.5 X L.L.Bean Edition, Sports 2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited. Turbo models with an automatic transmission have a tweaked all-wheel-drive system for 2008, and they also gain an electronic stability system. Changes for other models are largely cosmetic.

A 173-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder powers all but the 2.5 XT, which gets a 224-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. There is an optional four-speed automatic transmission.

Ground clearance is 8.1 inches (7.9 inches for 2.5 XT models).


Exterior
The Forester features flared front fenders and blister-type rear quarter panels. For 2008, all Sports models get a new front bumper, black-painted headlight and taillight surrounds and silver-painted roof rails. The Sports 2.5 XT adds a body-colored roof spoiler and new 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.

Interior
Sport bucket seats in the front and a 60/40-split folding rear seat can accommodate up to five occupants. Subaru emphasizes the Forester's high seating position. For 2008, an audio system with seven upgraded speakers and a subwoofer is standard on Sports and L.L.Bean models. L.L.Bean models also get a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear cargo area carpeting and a standard cargo accessory tray.

Standard features on the 2.5 X include power windows and door locks, keyless entry and a CD audio system. A Premium Package adds automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof, heated seats and a power driver's seat, among other items. Sports models add to that aluminum alloy pedal covers and anthracite black cloth upholstery, among other features. The Sports 2.5 XT adds a different gauge setup. The L.L.Bean edition has embossed leather seats, a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel with a matching shifter handle, and L.L.Bean-embroidered floormats.


Under the Hood
Subaru's Impreza series uses the same 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder as the Forester. The regular engine develops 173 hp. A turbocharged version that yields 224 hp goes into 2.5 XT models. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on all models except the 2.5 X L.L.Bean Edition, which gets a four-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmission is optional for other models. A Hill Holder clutch on manual-shift models makes it easier to start the car on inclines.

For 2008, turbocharged models get Subaru's Variable Torque Distribution that uses a electronically controlled hydraulic transfer case to control power distribution between the front and rear wheels. Turbo models also get an electronic stability system.


Safety
Dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, front active head restraints and antilock brakes are standard. The ABS system has electronic brake-force distribution for better front and rear proportioning. Side curtain airbags are not available.

Driving Impressions
The frisky Forester XT is sensible and satisfying, especially with the turbocharged engine and the manual gearbox. There's a bit of turbo lag after pushing the gas pedal. Foresters ride pleasantly enough over smooth surfaces, but bumps and ruts can produce somewhat harsh reactions.

Space is ample in the front and adequate in back, with abundant headroom and toe room, though knee space is less bountiful. The front seat bottoms are short but nicely supportive. The gauges and controls are ordinary but sensible.

The easy-to-drive Forester maneuvers nimbly, handles with a light touch and yields a friendly, comfortable feel. Some driveline noise occurs during acceleration.


Consumer Reviews

(4.3)

Average based on 23 reviews

Write a Review

We Are a SABURU family

by Adventure from Eau Claire , Pa on October 20, 2017

This is my 3 rd Sabaru. I Love Gas Mileage and The AWESOME AWD !!! You Actually have try to get stuck !!! That's how good A SABARU gets around !!!

Read All Consumer Reviews

5 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2008 Subaru Forester trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Subaru Forester Articles

2008 Subaru Forester Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Subaru Forester 2.5X

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Subaru Forester 2.5X

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
A
Structure/safety cage
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
A
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
A
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
A
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Subaru Forester 2.5X

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Subaru Forester 2.5X

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There is currently 1 recall for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

36mo/36,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

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.

Powertrain

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.

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).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

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.

Other Years