SOTW: Subaru Forester S-Turbo

To some, being credited with the invention of the 'crossover' is like being responsible for the creation of a communicable disease - not something to be particularly proud of.

It's a genre that has spawned such vulgarities as the BMW X6 or, further down the scale, weirdness like the Nissan Juke or Honda H-RV.

The crossover concept has also given rise to a wealth of arguably more honest estates-with-a-bit-of-extra-clearance-and-four-wheel-drive, among which you'll find the likes of Skoda Octavia Scouts, Audi Allroads, Saab 9-3Xes and today's Shed of the Week - the first-generation Subaru Forester.

This car has been accused of being the sire of a genre of cars not particularly beloved by enthusiasts, but in truth the original Forester is less of a marketing exercise and more an example of what Subaru does best - simple, ruggedly engineered four-wheel-drive cars, with a healthy dose of practicality thrown in.

As with most Subarus, the Forester is not exactly the prettiest of things but, along with the signature all-wheel drive, the turbocharged boxer four is also there, although giving only a relatively modest 170hp or so. That was always enough to make the Forester an entertaining thing to punt around, however, and certainly more enjoyable than the Volvo XC or Cross Country that was its contemporary.

And while many Imprezas have fallen into the hands of less-than-sympathetic modifiers over the years, that's not something that could be said of the Forester. On the other hand, many of these were bought by Subaru's traditional farming community market, and will have had a pretty hard life of toil as a result.

This particular one might well have been one of those at some point - it's got very little in the way of service history and seems to have been knocked around a little during its 13 years on this earth. It's also got quite a short MOT and tax on it, which is potentially worrying.

It's one to go in with eyes wide open on, then, but if you know what you're doing, and are prepared to take a bit of a punt, it could be quite a bargain...

Don't like this? there are plenty more potential Sheds to tempt you in the PH classifieds...

Advert is reproduced below

1999T Subaru Forester S-Turbo 4x4 AWP (£950)

Taxed till End July / MOT till June 6th.

You are looking my Subaru, used as a commuting and family car by myself since last June. Now selling due to the mileage that I'm now doing - I've bought a diesel instead. Will be sad to see it go!

This is the higher spec "all weather pack" model including headlamp washers, foglamps & double-size electric sunroof, along with the usual refinements (air con, electric windows, central locking & immobiliser etc). It also has a stereo system with aux and USB input (nothing flashy but great for plugging in an iPhone to listen to etc)

The car is in good condition for it's age. There are a fair few blemishes to the exterior. The interior is in nice clean condition, above average for these cars (which often get used on farms etc). I will add some photos at the weekend. There's also a Subaru boot liner and load cover in the rear.

It has a Subaru-supplied stainless exhaust box, and 4x matching Yokohama Geolandar G035 all-season tyres with good tread.

Bad points would be:
- The lacquer is peeling off the alloys, so they don't look great though they all hold pressure perfectly.
- I don't have service history or much paperwork with the car generally.
- Slight suspension knock at the rear.
- Occasionally needs topping up with oil.

Overall this is a bargain of car, with good performance and the ability to plug through mud & snow if necessary. I've done 70 miles per day for almost a year and it hasn't let me down once. Also starts perfectly after being left for a week or more.

Viewing available at weekends only. Please contact me via email anytime, or via phone after 8pm. Please no messers, scammers or silly offers.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (86) Join the discussion on the forum

  • hora 11 May 2012

    Knock at the rear? No history? The rear diffs need fairly regular oil changes otherwise they dry up and ...ouch.


  • pete.g 08 May 2012

    I bought an 06 2.5XT auto with 97k on the clock, to replace an 01 Allroad 2.7t with 152k.

    Not a shed by any means, but so much better to drive than the Audi.

    Great tow car, getting 25-27 mpg and enjoying my first ever Japanese car.

    I don't expect it to be cost free, but after the Audi . . .

  • KM666 07 May 2012

    J4CKO said:
    Wouldnt get overly fixated on the oil usage, its an old car, it says to me it is either going through a pint every day or the seller is just being honest as really who would actually admit that if they didnt have to, most cars need a top up occasionally, even some quite new ones, some VAG diesels seem to use it as an alternative source of fuel.

    Of course this car is neqaring end of lfe, it is SOTW, Virgin just quoted me £1700 for two weeks hire of an SUV in the states so in context this doesnt seem so bad, if you get 10,000 out of it it is good value, scrap it for £150/200.
    £1700??? Not sure on exchange rates but this is close shirly?

  • chandrew 07 May 2012

    Our 2.0 XT, bought new in 2003 has been the most reliable thing I've ever owned. It's done 150k km now, the only thing off the service-items that has needed changing was a rear hub bearing.

    As mentioned, it's an absolute hoot on gravel where it can happily cope with national speed limit pace as if it was invincible. Only time it was less than brilliant on snow was when snow built up under the front bumper raising the wheels off the ground.

    Quite comfortable on the local autobahn at 200km/h though you get a bit of whistling from around the windscreen wipers.

    Only negative is that it likes to drink - 11 litres/100km of super unleaded on average.

    We will never sell it.

  • radlet6 07 May 2012

    billybob69 said:
    radlet6 said:
    I thought the idea of shedding was to buy a motor to run for the next year. Well you can instantly add another 25% to your budget for 12 month's tax.
    as any 1.5 + engine before 2001. Not really a valid argument. The whole point of shedding is to the run the car with minimal expenditure on deprecation and running costs.
    So RFL isn't a running cost? Surely to have minimal running costs you need to buy a car that doesn't have an instant £250 bill; i.e it has to have more than 5 minutes road tax included with the sale.

    Not a good shed.

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