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2006 Subaru Forester

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2006 Subaru Forester Review

A classic crossover SUV with a great blend of comfort, drivability, and high-quality build.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The Subaru Forester is a true trend-setter in the world of crossover sport utility vehicles (SUVs), bursting onto the road years before other manufacturers started turning out its own versions. Even with the field of competition growing steadily, the Forester manages to stay near the front of the pack. This perennially popular SUV earns high marks across the board for safety, performance, and comfort. Created to compete with a broad range of SUVs, the 2006 Subaru Forester combines the best features of an SUV, such as interior versatility and a high seating point, with the control, comfort, and fuel economy of a car.

The second-generation Forester, introduced in 2003, hangs onto all the qualities that made it so popular to begin with, while also bringing in a fresh design and a number of improvements. 2006 brings a handful of upgrades as well. The automatic and manual transmissions have both been updated, along with the suspension, while the revamped engine receives a boost in horsepower and emissions.

The 2006 Subaru Forester is offered in three trim levels: the 2.5 X, the 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition, and the 2.5 XT Limited. A special Premium Package is also available on the base 2.5 X. Each trim includes its own collection of features and add-ons. While the Forester may be a bit pricier than many of its competitors, its rock-solid reputation and long list of features make this classic crossover SUV more than worth a try.

The Range

Body Styles: crossover SUV
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Forester 2.5 X, Subaru Forester 2.5 X Premium Package, Subaru Forester 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition, Subaru Forester 2.5 XT Limited

What's New

2006 brings a number of small, but important, upgrades to the Subaru Forester. A new variable valve-lift system in the Forester’s normally aspirated engine boosts the horsepower from 165 to 173. The turbocharged engine, meanwhile, receives new intake and exhaust components, along with a higher compression ratio, which bumps horsepower up to 230 and improves emissions. The car’s suspension and transmissions are also improved. Other changes include refreshed exterior styling, simplified trim levels, and improved thigh support in the rear seats.


The Subaru Forester boasts the classic SUV appearance that comes to most people’s minds when they think of sport-utility vehicles. A wide range of exterior features come standard on all trim levels, including fog lights, underbody protection, mud guards, and a roof rack. The Premium Package and upgraded trim levels include a further variety of features, such as alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and aluminum roof rails.


The Subaru Forester’s high-quality interior is one of the factors that have kept this SUV at the top of the pack over the years. The base 2.5 X may not be brimming with luxury, but it’s more than well equipped, practical, and comfortable. Standard offerings include steering wheel-mounted controls, air-conditioning with air filtration, and folding second-row seats. The Premium Package trim includes an upgraded audio system with a CD changer, automatic climate control, a powered moon roof, and heated seats. The L.L. Bean Edition receives leather seats and a leather-and-wood steering wheel. The XT Limited trim brings in even more luxury with features like its own leather interior design, and a seven-speaker audio system.

The rear seats of the 2006 Forester are a bit tight for full-sized adults, and not ideal for large car seats, although the front seats offer plenty of room and support for most adults.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Forester’s base 2.5-liter engine offers more than enough power and control for everyday driving situations. Drivers seeking stronger acceleration and more overall muscle will want to consider the turbocharged XT Limited model with its standard five-speed manual transmission. Even at top speeds, the Subaru Forester provides solid, agreeable handling, although the steering can feel a bit loose at times, and some body rolling is noticeable with the soft suspension. While this isn’t a high-performance vehicle, or one suited to off-roading, the majority of drivers will find the Forester more than adequate for daily driving.


The 2006 Subaru Forester earns top marks across the board for safety. Anti-lock brakes come standard on all trim levels, while four-wheel disc brakes are offered on all but the base X model. Additional safety equipment includes side-impact airbags, active head restraints, vehicle anti-theft, and child safety door locks. The 2006 Forester received top ratings from the IIHS for both frontal- and side-impact crashes, declaring it a ""Best Pick"" among compact SUVs.

EPA Fuel Economy

Subaru Forester 2.5 X: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition: 20/25 mpg city/highway
Subaru Forester 2.5 XT Limited: 18/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Top crash test scores
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Luxury options
  • Two engine options

You Won't Like

  • Expensive
  • Limited legroom in the rear

Sum Up

A classic crossover SUV with a great blend of comfort, drivability, and high-quality build.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Audi A3
  • Honda Element
  • Mazda Tribute
  • Nissan Xterra
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid

See the New 2015 Forester.

Front & Driver Side View

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