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2005 Subaru Forester

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2005 Subaru Forester Review

For performance and reliability, the 2005 Subaru Forester is a safety-proven family vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Subaru introduced the Forester in 1998 as a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) with all-wheel drive (AWD). Since its inception, the SUV has become very popular for its versatility, functionality, and affordability.

The vehicles in the Forester lineup are all fitted with the same 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 165 horsepower, with the exception of the XT turbo version, which boosts horses to 210.

It is debatable whether to call it a wagon or an SUV, though it could technically fall into both categories. One thing is clear: the Forester SUV is a moderately-priced vehicle with a smooth ride, strong motor, and plenty of room inside for both passengers and cargo. The SUV is a good choice for these reasons and more, and taking a test drive could prove beneficial.

The Range

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

What's New

The Forester line adds the L.L. Bean Edition – a four-cylinder with an automatic transmission. The engines have electronic throttle control and all trims get air filtration. The body style improvements over the years have added fascia enhancements.


The Forester X, XS, and XT trims have 16-inch alloy wheels, all-season tires, a full-size inside-mounted spare, a roof rack, and cargo tie downs. The XT Premium Package includes a power glass sunroof, which is standard on the XS L.L. Bean Edition.


The X trim includes cloth bucket seats and a height-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, split-folding rear seats, a front console, cup holders throughout, power doors, windows, mirrors, and steering, cruise control, air-conditioning, interior air filtration, two power outlets, a clock, a tachometer, an external temperature display, and an audio system with AM/FM radio, a CD player, and four speakers.

The XS adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with heat, an overhead storage console, climate control, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, and a six-disc CD player. The XT adds premium cloth seats and one subwoofer. The XT Premium Package includes leather bucket seats with multi-level heating ability. The XS L.L. Bean adds a compass and an inside electrochromatic rearview mirror.

Optional features for the X include auto-dimming mirrors, a custom tailpipe cover, a compass, an upgraded security system, a Premium Sound Package with a six-disc CD player, a tweeter kit, and several equipment upgrade kits. The XS options include a weather band radio, leather seats, a rear window dust reflector, a variety of rear spoilers, a power glass sunroof and more.

Performance & Handling

The 2005 Subaru Forester is a four-door, five-passenger vehicle with rear hatch access, with a line of practical, compact, all-wheel wagons that feature upscale cabins and all-weather capability. The Forester includes the X, XS, XT and XS L.L. Bean Edition trims. The X, XS and XS L.L. Bean have 2.5-liter, V-4 engine with 165 hp. The XT is the same but with 210 hp.

The Forester’s four-wheel independent suspension offers a smooth ride. However, the four-speed transmission does not provide extra power for merging or changing lanes. For more speed, opt for the XT’s turbo-charged version.


The X and XS feature front disk and rear drum brakes, electronic brake force distribution, front side-mounted airbags with head protection, adjustable head rests with whiplash protection throughout, child seat anchors, rear door safety locks, a rear defogger and rear wipers. The XS also has a windshield wiper de-icer and heated mirrors. The XT adds an engine immobilizer and the XS L.L. Bean Edition adds a remote anti-theft alarm.

This vehicle has a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test rating of five out of five for all impacts, and four out of five for rollovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rating is good for front and side impacts, with no tests done for rear impacts or head restraints.

EPA Fuel Economy

Subaru Forester X manual: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester X automatic: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester XS automatic: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester XT manual: 17/22 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester XT automatic: 18/22 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester XS L.L. Bean Edition: 20/26 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • All-wheel drive
  • Easy access dash board controls
  • Few blind spots
  • Fuel efficient

You Won't Like

  • Tight rear legroom
  • More expensive than competitors

Sum Up

For performance and reliability, the 2005 Subaru Forester is a safety-proven family vehicle.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota RAV4
  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Kia Sportage
  • Chevrolet Equinox

See the New 2015 Forester.

Front & Driver Side View

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