Ad Radar

2003 Subaru Forester

Get A Dealer Quote

Compare Dealer Clearance Prices and SAVE

  • Review

2003 Subaru Forester Review

A worthy, versatile, compact SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Built in Japan, the 2003 Subaru Forester is updated and improved with a larger, more pronounced grill, contoured multi-reflector halogen headlights, and a contoured bumper cover with integral multi-reflector fog lights. Character lines make the profile more sharply defined with flared front fenders and blister-type rear quarter panels.

The Range

Body Styles: wagon
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Forester 2.5 X, Subaru Forester 2.5 XS

What's New

The 2003 Subaru Forester has been completely redesigned. The tall wagon has more interior room, a stiffer body structure, a revised chassis, and more standard features. Exterior dimensions are the same; however, curb weight is reduced by 90 pounds.


The 2003 Subaru Forester comes in six exterior colors: aspen white, cayenne red pearl, pacifica blue pearl, platinum silver metallic, sierra gold metallic, and woodland green pearl. The standard tires and wheels package includes 16x6.5-inch steel wheels, a steel spare wheel, P215/60 R H tires, all-season tires, and a full-size matching spare tire. Variable intermittent wipers, a rear defogger, intermittent rear wiper, and a roof rack are part of the standard roof and glass package. The 2003 Forester measures at 68.1 inches wide, 65 inches tall, and has a length of 172 inches. Ground clearance measures at 7.5 inches, the front track is 58.9 inches, the rear track is 58.5 inches, and the wheelbase is 99.4 inches. Maximum towing capacity is 2400 pounds when adequately equipped.


There is slightly more passenger room in the 2003 Subaru Forester than in past models. Rear seat passengers get a slight increase in leg and foot room. Rear cargo room with the seats folded measures 64.1 cubic feet. New front head room is 39.8 inches, front hip room is 51.6 inches, front leg room is 43.7 inches, and front shoulder room is 53.5 inches. The driver’s seat is equipped with manual adjustable lumbar support and a height adjustable seat.

The 2003 Subaru Forester provides remote power door locks, power mirrors, and one-touch power windows. Standard convenience highlights are cruise control, a front console with storage, front and rear cup holders, front door pockets, an overhead console with storage, speed-proportional power steering, 12-volt front and 12-volt cargo area power outlets, and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel. Air-conditioning, a cargo area light, front reading lights, front and rear floor mats, and dual vanity mirrors also come standard. A clock, tachometer, external temperature display, and a low fuel level warning make up the standard instrumentation. Passengers can listen to music through an AM/FM in-dash single CD player stereo with four speakers.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Subaru Forester provides better handling and maneuverability than it did in previous years. MacPherson strut front and rear suspensions and a four-wheel independent suspension add to better performance.


The 2003 Subaru Forester offers standard large front brake rotors, while the higher-line version is outfitted with rear discs and an Electronic Brake Distribution system. Anti-lock brakes are also standard in all models, as well as active head restraints and side impact airbags. Other standard features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual front with head protection chambers, child seat anchors, an anti-theft alarm system, ventilated front disc/rear drum brakes, rear door child safety locks, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, two front and two rear headrests, a rear center three-point belt, front seatbelt pretensioners, electronic brake force distribution, and front and rear height adjustable headrests.

The IIHS gives the 2003 Subaru Forester a rating of ""good"" for frontal-offset crashes, a ""good"" for side impact testing, and a ""best pick"" for the compact SUV class. Identifix gave the 2003 Forester five out of five in the following categories: transmission and driveline, steering and suspension, brakes, heating and air conditioning, starting and charging, and accessories.

EPA Fuel Economy

Subaru Forester: 19/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Upscale features
  • High safety scores

You Won't Like

  • Only one engine choice
  • High price compared to competitors

Sum Up

A worthy, versatile, compact SUV.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota RAV4
  • Honda CR-V
  • Mitsubishi RVR
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara

See the New 2015 Forester.

5OD 4

Similarly Priced Vehicles