While that got fixed, the satellite radio had its issues. We could hear a loud pop or crack, then the radio would shut down for a bit until it decided it was ready to start working again. The satellite reception was also spotty, even on major freeways, where it was always a crap shoot as to whether it would keep working. On more than a few occasions, it would go into an acquiring mode, attempting to reconnect with the satellite transmission. We came to believe our satellite radio gremlin was nothing more that the antenna's placement, which is inside the cabin, upside down, in the upper right corner of the front windshield. Other than the Forester, we've driven newer Subarus with factory satellite radio and a properly located antenna, which seems to have solved the problem and validated our suspicions.

Accumulating just over 28,000 miles, our Forester made three scheduled service visits totaling $485.96 for oil change, inspection, tire rotation, and air filter replacement, and it needed nothing out of the ordinary that was not covered by the warranty.

All things considered, despite a few minor complaints, the Subaru Forester 2.5X was one of, if not the, most useful and reliable vehicles in our long-term test fleet. Be it chasing the pack on a comparo or loaded to the gills for a family weekend getaway, the Forester proved to be a true jack of all trades.

From the Logbook

The Forester seriously needs another gear, but I have to say it really isn't noticeable around town. The turbo would be nice as well, but again, getting around L.A., the Forester feels plenty peppy from stoplight to stoplight.
- Scott Evans

I managed to cram a lot of stuff into this little SUV. Seats folded down, I had three oversized suitcases, skis, poles and boots, six Christmas gifts, two sleeping bags.
- Brian Vance

Our Car
Base price $26,690
Options Navigation ($1800), XM Satellite Radio ($453), Bluetooth microphone kit ($237), PZEV emissions ($200, cargo net seatback ($46)
MSRP, as tested $29,426
Total mileage 28,380
Avg econ/CO2 22.0 mpg
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $485.96 (3 - oil change/rotate tires/replace air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0
3-year residual value $16,484*
Recalls Engine and engine cooling
* Automotive Lease Guide