Forester Picture Gallery
| || ||1998 Subaru Forester Review, Mike Owyang, From Benicia, CA|
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| ||Model||Forester L|
| ||What things have gone wrong with the car?||Tire wear. Standard sound system. Standard equipment set (i.e. cruise control, remote mirrors) - improved in 1999 and 2000.|
| ||General comments?||My '98 Forester "L" has been a delight to own and drive. For my money it offered a combination of good interior space for people and cargo, comfortable accomodations, good handling, ride and acceleration in a compact, manageable package. All the "utility" I'll probably ever need that still offers a "car-like" driving experience. The 4 cylinder "boxer" motor provides good power, especially when compared to the Forester's closest competition (CR-V and RAV-4). Sure a 6 cylinder (perhaps someday) or turbo (available overseas) would be nice, but the 165 hp available moves the Forester onto the freeway in prompt fashion. Like other Subarus, power comes on smoothly and quietly with that audibly distinctive boxer rumble. I've got the manual tranny, and it's reasonably smooth shifting although it doesn't quite match the smooth, precise action of a Honda gearbox. It's a bit notchy, but this was supposedly improved in MY99. All wheel drive operation is transparent and certainly gives a feeling of confidence in foul weather. Also, beginning in '99 Subaru went from a dual overhead cam to a simpler single overhead cam design. Changes were made to bump up mid-range torque which were supposed to improve around town driveability. Horsepower remained the same. My gas mileage has been in the low to mid twenties.Handling is good, for what is essentially a tall station wagon. Not something you'd want to autocross, there's plenty of body roll, but still fairly tossable. Subaru, with it's extensive rally experience, designed the suspension to be somewhat soft with lot's of travel to provide a comfortable ride both on and off road. Again, the AWD helps keep you out of trouble. There's plenty of front seat room for average sized individuals and decent room in back (for a small vehicle). I wouldn't try to stuff three adults in back unless they enjoy a shoulder to shoulder experience. The seats are firm, but comfortable to my butt. The drivers seat has plenty of manual adjustments. My Forester came with leather seating surfaces which are comfortable and are holding up well. FWIW - I've read some Forester owners complaints of the seat fabric (particularly in the "L") not holding up very well. Leather wasn't something I planned on ordering, but I'm glad I ended up with it. Lot's of storage cubbies throughout the interior. However, if trick cupholders are important, you may be disappointed with Forester's 4 - one in the dash (where any spillage will go right into the HVAC or radio controls), one in the center console and two on the back of the console. The Forester's standard audio system is probably it's biggest negative point. In a word - it sucks. The OE Clarion AM||