7 best years for the Subaru Forester (2024)

Discover the pinnacle of Subaru excellence in our roundup of the “Seven Best Years for the Subaru Forester,” each blending quality, performance, and durability.

Unveil which models stand tall in the Forester’s esteemed lineup, ensuring your next ride is among the finest crafted.

Read on to uncover what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester.

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What are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester?

What are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester? They are 2002 for the first generation, 2007 and 2008 for the second generation, 2010 for the third generation, 2018 for the fourth generation, and 2021 and 2022 for the fifth generation.

These are the models with the fewest complaints and the highest reliability ratings. On the other hand, the worst years are 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. 

The Subaru Forester is usually heralded as a reliable SUV, and most sources rate it high in reliability. However, at the same time, the years that do present issues have a concerning number of complaints, so finding the proper generation is vital if you want to avoid trips to the mechanic.

What Are The seven Best Years For The Subaru Forester?

2002 Subaru Forester

If you’re looking for an older Subaru Forester that you can buy on the cheaper side. In that case, the first-generation 2002 model year is a recommended choice.

While it’s rudimentary, the 2002 Forester had excellent performance and a robust engine if adequately maintained. 

2007 Subaru Forester

The second generation marked a considerable leap in performance, as the Forester came with the turbocharged 2.5L engine, which gave it more power and, along with the improved suspension, excellent handling for an SUV.

The 2007 Forester is a great choice for a used Forester if you can find one in adequate condition. You can find them for cheap, a big reason to consider it in what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester.

2008 Subaru Forester

Like the previous candidate, the 2008 Subaru Forester model year is an excellent choice. Moreover, as this Subaru model is the last of its generation, it has most of the issues sorted out.

On sites like Car Complaints, it ranks with the fewest complaints and has earned the “Seal of Awesome.” 

2010 Subaru Forester

The 2010 model year belongs to the third generation of the Forester and is one of the models you should buy. Sources such as JD Power have rated this SUV with outstanding reliability and, overall, it has few complaints.

At the same time, the problems present concern only one engine, the 2.5L FB25 powerplant. While it gives better mileage, it can consume excessive oil.  

2018 Subaru Forester 

The fourth generation was, unfortunately, not the most reliable for Subaru when it came to reliability. However, that’s not to say that there are no good models.

The 2018 Forester has fewer complaints than in other years and higher reliability ratings. At the same time, problems in this SUV aren’t usually related to the engine and can be relatively inexpensive to fix. 

2021 Subaru Forester

Subaru made a massive effort to improve several aspects of the fifth generation of the Forester, including lowering road noise, improving suspension, handling and cargo capacity, and improved crash protection.

The result is a series of reliable years, beginning with the 2021 Forester. One of the interesting aspects is that Subaru dropped all engines except one, the 1.8L FB25, which produces respectable power and torque but nothing out of the ordinary. 

2022 Subaru Forester

Like the previous year, the 2022 Forester is an excellent SUV with superior reliability scores and few complaints. Plus, with plenty of technological features, this model year is complete and versatile.

That’s why we put the 2022 Forester in the list of what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester. It stands out for its quality.

It’s important to note that the 2020 Forester is also reliable, but has slightly more issues than these models we mentioned. Therefore, we don’t consider it a top candidate in what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester.

If you ever wanted to know what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester, this article has the answer. Overall, these models should provide you with excellent performance and dependability.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all the Foresters produced. There are some years that you should avoid. 

Subaru Forester best and worst years

The six worst years for the Subaru Forester

We’ve seen what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester. The following are the opposite: these are the years to avoid.

The most common problem with the model years in this section is excessive oil consumption, which can lead to engine damage. Unfortunately, there are other problems, as we’ll now explain. 

2011 Subaru Forester 

The 2011 Subaru Forester has had several complaints of excessive oil consumption. In some cases, the problem has gotten so bad that Subaru has replaced the engine. There’s no consistent mileage as some owners report the problem at 54,000 miles and others at 100,000. 

2013 Subaru Forester

This is another troublesome year, though we could include the 2012 and 2013 Subaru Forester in the list since both have oil consumption issues. To make matters worse, the 2013 Forester also has transmission issues that can be expensive to repair. 

2014 Subaru Forester

The 2014 Forester can be considered one of the worst Subaru Forester models, as the problems include oil consumption, engine failure, and transmission issues. Several sources, such as JD Power and Car Complaints, have registered low-reliability ratings and the most critical complaints. 

2015 Subaru Forester

A close second to the 2014 Forester, the 2015 Forester has the highest complaint numbers of any year, but the problems don’t seem as severe as the 2014 model. However, these model years are best avoided, as you can pay for serious repairs. 

2017 Subaru Forester

While most Subaru Forester problems revolve around oil consumption, the 2017 Forester has critical transmission issues.

Many owners have reported shuddering, erratic shifting, and even the inability to get the transmission out of gear. The problem is mainly in those models with the CVT.

2019 Subaru Forester

While the fifth generation is considerably more reliable than the previous years, the 2019 Forester stands out for the wrong reasons, as it has the best and worst. This model year has the highest number of complaints of the generation.

Problems include electrical issues such as the battery dying and electronics not responding, a faulty stereo system, and unresponsive steering. 

These are the six Subaru Forester years that you should avoid if you don’t want to frequently visit the mechanic. Instead, stick to what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester, for more ease of mind.

Overall, the Subaru brand is somewhat divisive; people who love it will defend it at all costs, and those who hate it will do the opposite, more so than with other brands.

However, Subaru has one ace up its sleeve that not everyone else has—it provides the best of both worlds. The brand has versatile SUVs with car-like handling and ruggedness to tackle challenging terrain.

Hence, finding alternatives to the Subaru is a challenge. In that sense, the Subaru Forester deserves credit.

While it might not get the best gas mileage in the market, it’s also economical.  

With that being said, if you’re looking for a Subaru Forester, there are some things that you should consider. These apply even to what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester.

What to look for in a used Subaru Forester?

There’s no denying that, most of the time, Subaru owners will be more adventurous. So, it’s vital to remember this when buying a preowned Subaru Forester.

After all, more often than not, one of these SUVs will see some mud without a proper wash afterward. So, whether you’re researching what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester or not, you should check for these items.


While the Subaru Forester hasn’t had significant rust recalls at a massive scale, corrosion can be a problem in used ones.

If you live in the Rust Belt, comprised of northern states where salt is frequently used for deicing the roads, you should perform a thorough check of the body, suspension components, and transmission. 

Transmission issues

One of the most troublesome components of Subarus is the CVT, introduced in the fourth generation. This Continuously Variable Transmission has seen its fair share of problems, including erratic shifting and the inability to get the car out of gear.

If you’re looking at a fourth-generation Subaru Forester, perform a thorough check on the transmission. Take the vehicle for a test drive and see whether it shifts smoothly and when it has to, and if there are issues, it’s best to avoid them altogether. 

Engine oil consumption

When you’re performing a checkup on a used car, there are valuable inspections you can make to avoid buying an oil-burning vehicle. First, check for any signs of blue smoke from the exhaust or a burning odor from the engine.

Also, if the exhaust manifold shows signs of oil leakage, this could indicate excessive oil consumption. Last but definitely not least, check the oil level and status. If it’s too low and too dirty, it could show inappropriate oil consumption.

If you need help with what to look for, have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection. 


Several Subaru Foresters, especially in the third and fourth generation, have had steering problems. Common symptoms include anything from erratic steering to a vibrating feel, and it’s frequently associated with poorly balanced tires, deficient suspension components, and excess wear due to the All-Wheel Drive system.

So, always look to drive the vehicle for longer distances to ensure that the steering feels solid. Then, perform an underbody inspection to guarantee all the steering components are in good condition. 

Conclusion to what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is popular amongst adventure seekers thanks to its versatility. Car-like handling and offroading ability make it a unique combination. Still, unfortunately, several model years don’t have a good reputation.

Many potential buyers want to know the best and worst years. So, what are the seven best years for the Subaru Forester?

They are 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2018, 2021, and 2022. These have had the fewest complaints and the highest reliability ratings.

On the other hand, the models you should avoid include 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. These have severe problems and could cost a lot of money in repairs. 

We hope this article provides the necessary details to make the best, most informed decision when buying your next Subaru Forester. 

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