Similar to his colleague Rory Jurnecka, associate Web editor Kirill Ougarov feels the Subaru needs another gear or two. "The Forester is badly in need of another gear, as the four-speed just doesn't get the job done. The space between first and second hampers acceleration while up a hill, and it will go back and forth between third and fourth like a shooting gallery target unless locked into one via manual mode." Additional complaints? "It also needs a telescoping steering column. Why Subaru offers it only on Forester XTs is a mystery." Other than those niggles, Ougarov enjoyed his time in the Forester. "Those complaints aside, the Forester is otherwise a pretty good compact ute. I like the seats and Subaru made good use of interior space, with plentiful storage areas and little empty space. The rubber mat in the cargo area is a very nice touch and more SUVs should come with one." At 15,000 miles, the Forester paid a visit to the dealer for its second scheduled maintenance, a $251.50 oil change, full inspection, tire rotation, and engine air filter replacement.
| 2009 Subaru Forester |
| Months/miles in service || 7/16,023 |
| Avg econ/CO2 || 22.0 mpg/0.88 lb/mi |
| Unresolved problems || None |
| Maintenance cost || $372.70 (2 - oil change/inspection/rotate tires, replace engine air filter) |
| Normal-wear cost || $0 |