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2002 Subaru Forester

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2002 Subaru Forester Review

Fun to drive on the pavement but lacks any real off-road ability.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Subaru Forester offers consumers a down-to-earth mini-SUV for those who need the flexibility of a small wagon along with the grip of all-wheel drive. It rides and handles like a car and gets very good gas mileage. Although it doesn’t suit hard-core off-road driving, it can certainly handle poor weather-related driving conditions, and get you to the campground on time. The Forester comes in two trim levels, the base L and the upgraded S.

The Range

Body Styles: crossover SUV
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Subaru Forester L, Subaru Forester S

What's New

The 2002 Subaru Forester gets three new standard features: a cargo area cover, daytime running lights, and an intermittent mode on the rear wiper. The Forester S changes its lower-body cladding from Titanium Pearl to Graystone Metallic. The S comes equipped with the Premium package and the automatic transmission adds the option of leather seating.


Other Subarus resemble passenger cars, but the 2002 Subaru Forester serves as a compact SUV with a taller body. It stands 65 inches tall and rides a 99.4-inch wheelbase. Its overall length measures 175.6 inches.

The Forester sports a roof-top luggage rack and uses a heavy-duty suspension. It also has front and rear stabilizer bars and fog lights. The S features a power moonroof and monotone paint instead of the usual two-tone paint. The S rides on gold-accented aluminum alloy wheels with 16-inch tires while the L rides on 15-inch tires.


With bucket seats up front and a split-folding rear seat, the 2002 Subaru Forester seats five. Storage areas show up in the floor and overhead consoles. Leather upholstery remains optional for either model; cloth comes standard. Other Forester options come in package offerings.

Standard equipment on the L includes air-conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, a tilt steering wheel, a cassette stereo system, and more. The S adds extras such as an in-dash six-CD changer and an all-weather package which includes heated seats and mirrors.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Subaru Forester draws power from a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine which generates 165 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a five-speed manual transmission standard, but a four-speed automatic remains optional. All Subaru models come equipped with permanently engaged all-wheel drive, allowing the Forester to tow up to one ton.

The Forester handles well, but its ride can be rather tiring for extended trips. It feels jittery on the highway, sometimes taking bumps a bit too hard. It steers with a light touch and straightaways seem almost effortless.


The 2002 Subaru Forester scores the highest in its class for offset crash test ratings. Dual front airbags come standard, as do anti-lock brakes. The Forester S has all-disc brakes instead of front-disc and rear-drum brakes on the Forester L. The Forester S also includes side-impact airbags.

EPA Fuel Economy

Subaru Forester: 19/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Carlike handling
  • SUV styling
  • Crash test scores

You Won't Like

  • No real off-road ability
  • Bumpy ride at times

Sum Up

Fun to drive on the pavement but lacks any real off-road ability.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Mazda Tribute
  • Saturn VUE

See the New 2015 Forester.

5OD 4

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