The 2009 Subaru Forester Review

Category: Feature, New Cars. Written by Cameron Wong 

After driving the 2009 Forester 2.5XT for one week, we have come to many conclusions as to why Subarus and the Forester in particular are so popular in the Seattle area. In short, the vehicle does many things well. While it won’t give you the spa treatment like that of other luxury cars, the 2009 Forester 2.5XT is dependable, easy to drive, safe, and extremely versatile.

We tried to do it all, from taking up to Snoqualmie Pass to shopping downtown. In the end, the Forester handled it all like a champ. It was very comfortable.

I happened to park next to an elderly couple at the grocery store who owned a 2008 version of the Forester. They noticed the newer version was bigger and asked me about it. In turn, I asked them what they liked about theirs and the husband summed up the Forester in a nutshell:

“It’s not the most exciting car in the world, but we didn’t want an exciting car. It [the Forester] does a lot of things well, and we love it because of that.”

My thoughts exactly!


The first thing I noticed was how well the symmetrical all wheel drive system works. A run along Interstate 5 didn’t tell much, but taking it through some steep downtown Seattle hills in the rain had the car begging for more. You really do feel the Subaru Boxer engine and the power it delivers to all wheels. For a SUV, it handled much better than I thought it would. Whether it’s city or long distance driving, the Forester’s handling is crisp and outstanding.


The Forester feels like a V6 with it’s 224 horsepower turbo engine. In actuality, the power comes out of a surprising 2.5 liter 4 cylinder Subaru Boxer engine. In fact, it’s one of the more powerful 4 cylinder I have ever driven. The Forester had no problem going up a steep hill with a fully loaded car with passengers, as well as accelerating past smaller cars on I-90. Unofficially, it went 0-60 in about 7 seconds, and that was without redlining.


The 2009 Forester has a total of 63.0 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. While it can hold a load of groceries in the trunk, it wouldn’t necessarily do well with moving furniture. So for for day to day tasks, the trunk provides more than adequate space. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.


The dashboard and seats are somewhat plain, but they get the job done. The car we had offered Sirius radio – which was nice – but like all satellite radio, cuts in and out when going thru tunnels and heavily wooded areas. The steering wheel transfered inputs well and offered easy to use buttons for the cruise control and stereo system. The red/blue color scheme on the display was unique and easy to read.

Motor Trend named the Forester the Sports Utility Car of the Year for 2009. Does it live up to that billing? Yes and no. No, in that there are more luxurious and more fuel effcient vehicles out there. Yes, in that it performs well in just about every other area. So for the do-everything Seattleite, the Forester may truly be the car of the year.

2009 Forester 2.5XT Specifications

Engine-2.5-liter DOHC intercooled, turbocharged aluminum-alloy 16-valve 4-cylinder horizontally opposed SUBARU BOXER engine with Active Valve Control System.

Power – 224 hp @ 5,200 rpm

Fuel Efficiency – 19 City /24 Highway MPG (EPA estimate)

Chasis- 4-wheel disc, ventilated front. 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD).

Wheels – 17 x 7.0-inch 5-Spoke aluminum alloy

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