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This iteration of the Forester remained one of the best small SUVs out there. With perhaps the most comfortable ride of any small SUV, it also handles well. The cabin is spacious, well designed and offers great outward visibility. A new non-turbo engine arrived for 2011, though it brought no significant improvement in acceleration or fuel economy. The four-speed automatic transmission was dated by the standards of the day.
Alerts
There are 11 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2001. Side air bags available from 2001, standard from 2003. ESC available from 2007, standard from 2009. Head protection air bags standard from 2009.
Road Test

This iteration of the Forester remained one of the best small SUVs out there. With perhaps the most comfortable ride of any small SUV, it also handles well. The cabin is spacious, well designed and offers great outward visibility. A new non-turbo engine arrived for 2011, though it brought no significant improvement in acceleration or fuel economy. The four-speed automatic transmission was dated by the standards of the day. Crash tests are impressive.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 4 turbo (224 hp)
  • 2.5-liter 4 (170 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Subaru Forester owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Front passenger side carpet was soaked with water that leaked into the car from clogged vent under the windshield. It was covered under warranty”

Anonymous, KY (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Air leaks around window frames”

William T., IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Rear tail light fogs up when it rains”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Something about a heat shield that they completely removed and I questioned why was it there if it wasn't needed”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“An exhaust rattle”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The car had vibrations noise”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Wires in back hatch rattle loudly. Dealer says this is normal, will not fix under warranty”

Bud F., OR (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“transmisssion/engine related shifting noises”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“lots of rattles all over the interior of the car. Some from rear view mirror attachment, some from trim on left front post covering airbag, one in dashboard somewhere. also one in sunroof when open”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Tapping from caused by wind on loose piece under the car. It took three trips to the dealer before they were able to find it and secure it”

Ian M., WA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear seats do not fit properly and raddles as does the glove box that does not fit tight”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Car is noisy, body doesn't sound solid”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The head liner rattles. I was told by the dealership that to correct the problem the whole liner would have to be removed and insulation placed between the liner and the roof of the car. The rattle is irritating, but I'm afraid removing the whole l”

Anonymous, AL (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The most rattles and irritating noises of any new or used car I have ever owned, to the point I'm going to sell it soon and never buy another Subaru”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Sometimes, but not always, the brakes make a squealing noise when I use them. I've taken the SUV in to have it inspected and I'm told the brakes are fine, but it's really alarming to hear this sound like the brakes need to be replaced”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“rattle in the overhead liner. Shop worked on it, but it isn't fixed”

Anonymous, TN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“low level rattles in under rear of car”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The engine is rough when it turns over in the winter when the car is 20F or lower”

Anonymous, VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The interior of the car squeaks and rattles a lot from several places while driving”

Rachel M., CA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

“Highway wind noise is quite loud”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Not as quiet as i would have hoped for from a new car”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“rather noisy car”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Not a quiet car”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Noisy when driving on the highway. Not well insulated”

Rich J., IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“worst”

Anonymous, TN (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“soundproofing on car terrible, road noise worse feature of car”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“lot of wind noise since new that continues”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“road noise is very irritating”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen difficult to see

“It is almost impossible to see screen in bright sunlight”

Ron H., CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Back-up camera screen takes to long to engage and sometimes cuts out. Design flaw”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

“Radio screen went totally white with no information”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Screen went dark , dealer replaced as was under warranty at the time”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“happened once and has been fixed with no recurrence”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“interface doesn't work with newest MP3 player”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Forester)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

“Navigation system would freeze up and fail”

Ron H., CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“It is very hard to operate and has taken us to a wrong location”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“loses correct location. actually has a setting that allows you to tell GPS where you are!! has no shell gas stations in list of gas stations. directs you to location and then when realises has misdirected you says "no data" Help from subaru and pi”

David B., BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Very difficult to use. No longer pairs with phone correctly”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“poor satellite reception resulting in faulty location readouts”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Inaccurate routing info (instructed me to make U-turn in middle of busy 4 lane highway) high cost of updates (so I didn"t)”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Touch screen system that is no longer touch sensitive and can only be replaced. Dealers said this is common after two years and not a defect. Poor design”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

“Setting up Bluetooth is determined by an Act of God! Completely unfriendly user system!”

David J., HI (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)

“Acceptance of voice commands is sporadic, and sometimes the Bluetooth system quickly cuts out on an outgoing call”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Difficult to understand phone conversation”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Forester)

“It does not pair when first turned on and then drops the pairing. It does this with multiple phones”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I must pair the phone anytime I want to listen to anything via my iphone5s. In addition, I cannot make a call on thru the interface with my iphone nor can i receive a call thru the interface”

Tania D., IN (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The quality of the phone mike is poor. When talking on the phone is sounds like the windows are down”

Kevin H., CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Never pairs with the first attempt, often takes up to 6-7 times to get the blue tooth to pair with my iPhone 6s”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“The paired phone will connect via Bluetooth but will only function for playing media files thru the audio system (the phone function will not be available). Disconnecting and reconnecting the phone will (sometimes) fully connect”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

“very weak reception. Fading signal in strong signal areas”

Anonymous, TN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Radio got faint, then stopped playing during winter. Subaru replaced radio for free; it works now”

Alan F., MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
CD player

“CD player failed to operate. Needed replacement of entire sound system”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“It just stopped working and is not covered by my extended warranty”

Kathleen K., CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The CD player took in a CD and then stopped working. The malfunction also included the radio and Bluetooth pairing. The dealership has been aware of the problem since October 2016, but still has not been able to repair/replace the unit”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

“Radio got faint, then stopped playing during winter. Subaru replaced radio for free; it works now”

Alan F., MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“New on back wheels”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“All of the original calipers have had to be replaced, one more than once!”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Normal routine brake wear

“Heard grinding in front brakes”

Robert K., OH (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“don't know if needing brakes at 22000 miles/3 yrs is normal or not”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced pads and had rotors spun”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Rear pads required replacement”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“New brakes needed for PA State Inspection”

David J., PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Back pads needed replacing”

David D., BC (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“front Brakes needed replacement at 46000”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Premature brake wear

“At 27,000 miles, the dealer said I needed new brake pads and the rotors machined on all four wheels. This was accomplished under warranty”

Anonymous, VA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“all four wheels needed new pads, rotors turned, after only 36,000 km. just seemed premature to me”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The rear brake pads wore down to almost nothing, were as there was very little wear on the front brake pads”

D K., BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“after only 30k dealearship tell us that there is only 20 percent of the rear break pads left”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear brakes completely worn after 21000 km (3 years)”

Mark A., NL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Recall problem”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT Unsure)

“All 4 breaks were worn down after 30000km and had to be replaced for over 800$”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Because of the brake distribution setup, the rear brakes wear out faster than the front”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear brakes needed to be replaced”

Ed S., IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“In the 1st 12 months, rear brake pads had wear for more than 35% to 40%”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The rear brake pads regularly need replacement at about 25,000 miles. Front at 50,000. This is far more frequent than I experienced with my 1999 Forester. However that car did not have rear disc brakes”

Barry K., VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rotors

“Resurfaced after 40000 miles”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“New on back wheels”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Brakes needed to be replaced at 73000 miles which isn't too bad, but rotors were bad and there was previously no squeaking to indicate brakes were wearing down”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“Engine has excessive oil consumption. Dealership replaced the short engine block and we are waiting to see if the problem is better. Service department said problem cannot be completely repaired. It will still require excess oil”

Anonymous, CT (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Excessive oil consumption. Block replaced by Subaru under warranty. I'm extremely happy with the service that I received. No observable oil consumption has occurred in the 10,000 miles since the replacement was made”

Alan L., VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Excessive oil consumption. Replacement of short block by Subaru due to apparent cylinder problems. Still uses one quart of oil every 2,000 miles”

Nicolette A., OR (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Low oil pressure light flashed intermittently and heard engine knocking. Towed car to dealership and mechanic found a half dollar size piece of metal in engine case. The engine is under warranty and is to be replaced. Exact cause under investigation”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rebuilt because of excessive oil consumption”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“It had the oil consumption problem that I think your magazine already knows about. Had to get a new short block. Subaru covered it though”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“excessive oil use. engine block replaced by court settlement”

John O., NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“EXCESSIVE OIL CONSUMPTION. CLASS ACTION SUIT. NEW SHORT BLOCK PUT IN CAR BY DEALER AT SUBARU'S EXPENSE”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine ran out of oil. Evidently, it's "normal" for a Subaru to burn 1 qt of oil every 1,000 miles”

Mark W., VA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“My car is one of the notorious models that consumes excessive oil. Subaru has agreed to replace the short block to remedy the problem”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I had to have the engine replaced as it blew up”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil consumption problem. Engine was rebuilt under Subaru warranty”

Robert B., SC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“4 visits to Subaru dealers with on-going excessive oil consumption. 1. Dealer 1: "oil filter leak", changed and replaced oil filter. 2. Dealer 2: "gasket leaks", replaced gaskets: $2000 3. Dealer 3: "engine replacement," under warranty extended by Subaru due to known problem with premature ring wear. (Following appeal of #2 expense, Subaru refunded $1000 and paid for related rentals) 4. Dealer 4: "oil pan plug incorrectly installed", no charge after questioning $70 charge for oil change”

Gary R., MA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Was burning a lot of oil. Known issue, Subaru replaced with a short block engine”

Mike A., CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I had an oil consumption problem. Subaru told me this is a widespread problem with their boxer engines. I also had an oil leak which required $2,100 in parts and labor to fix before they would continue the phase testing for the oil consumption problem. After fixing the oil leak, they determined it did have the oil consumption problem. It consumed 1.33 quarts of oil in 1,200 miles. To fix the oil consumption problem required rebuilding the small block which was three days labor and about $4,”

Scott J., MN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The engine began using oil even though no oil leaks were found. We had to add oil almost every time we drove it. The dealership did a short block replacement under warranty”

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Excessive oil consumption due to stuck oil return ring. Short block was replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“oil loss after two consumption tests. Engine was rebuilt twice by Subaru at no cost. So far no more oil loss”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Failed oil consumption test. Subaru replaced short block. No charge. This is the second engine change. Each happened around 23000 miles. All maintenance has been kept up. Subaru knows of this problem”

Kenneth O., DE (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine was consuming oil at a huge rate. Subaru replaced half the engine block and did so under warranty”

Lenore O., OH (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Due to excessive oil consumption, Subaru replaced the short block at no cost to me”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil over consumption - greater than one quart in 1000 miles. Subaru repaired it under warranty”

Marc B., MD (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“Under hard acceleration the compute would not allow speed control or stability control”

William A., SC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“engine trouble lights- codes for p014c p014d”

Steven O., NJ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Engine knock or ping

“engine uses excessive oil. Engine pings. Preignition?”

R A., CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Check engine light came on while driving down the highway. Cruise control was disabled. Required a trip to the dealership to clear the check engine light and enable cruise control again. Error code indicated an engine miss. Computer firmware was upgraded and car ran much better after it's visit to the dealership”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil leaks have been a problem since purchase. Subaru dealer reportedly worked on leaks at heads while under warranty but problem was never fixed”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The 2012 Forester seems to have a design flaw. They all develop oil leaks from their engine. Unfortunately, we had to have ours repaired, too”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil is being used up faster than it should be with no sign of leaking. It is currently being monitored by Subaru because of a class action lawsuit that was brought to them for this issue”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Oil consumption repaired under Subaru warranty”

Robert B., SC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Shortly after first buying the car, we discovered that the oil level was dropping significantly; no leak was apparent. Suburu had a TSB on oil loss and we got a short block installed under warranty. Oil loss continued, albeit at a lesser amount; Suburu argued oil consumption was normal, we feel loosing 2 quarts every 5000 miles is unacceptable. Local mechanic couldn't find the leak; was willing to do a rebuild, but it's cheaper to add oil at regular intervals than pay for entire rebuild”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The engine burns an excessive amount of oil. Our mechanic found several times that the dipstick was dry at the 5k mi oil change mark. Now we routinely add 2 quarts over the 5k mi. Subaru ran an oil consumption test and said the engine was fine. But still no change in consumption. There is a class action lawsuit re this issue and our powertrain warranty was upped to 100k mi as a part of that”

Anonymous, VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“This model forester is known for using oil, not through leakage but just disappearing. I finally had the dealer perform an oil consumption test and the results indicated it had consumed 10.2 oz. of oil in 1000 miles with the cutoff being 10 ounces. That made me eligible for the replacement of the engine if I wanted. I elected not to take the risk of problems later (improperly seated gaskets causing leakage etc.) and I'll just check the oil frequently. The service manager, whom I trust, did n”

Brian I., OH (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I never brought this issue to Subaru to be fixed because it was minor. I never suspected I had an oil leak issue because where I park every night there are no signs of oil drops on the surface. Subaru brought this issue to my attention when I completed phase 1 of the oil consumption testing. They told me I had an oil leak that needed to be fixed in order to continue with phase 2 of the oil consumption testing. The oil leak consisted of 2 drops of oil sitting on the bottom of the engine. To”

Scott J., MN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Valve cover leaked. Dealer fixed it”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Minor oil leak from the driver's side lower timing chain cover. More serious problem appears to be oil consumption (more than a quart per 1200 miles). Subaru conducted oil consumption test and vehicle passed, but I'm taking it back for a second test because it uses a lot of oil, especially in warmer weather”

Richard C., MD (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“I have always used the recommended synthetic oil. From about 30,000 miles on it is using oil at the rate of a quart to 1,500 miles. I do not know if it is a leak or burning”

Barry K., VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“No so much a leak as the Subaru burned oil at a faster than expected rate. The Subaru dealer replaced the engine at no charge to us”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“There is no evidence of leaks, but the engine is using oil at a greater rate than normal”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Accessory belts or pulleys

“Noise, squeaking on accessory belt. Seemed loose. Replaced at scheduled oil change”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“headlights burn out twice or more a year”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)

“With less than 50,000 miles on a car not yet 3 years old, every light, headlights, taillights, brake lights and daytime driving lights went out one at a time over a two week period. Cost me $40 to $60 each time to replace, well over $200 total”

Brian I., OH (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The headlights in my car stopped working (scary when driving at night!). Took car to dealership, they fixed the wiring problem and replaced my headlights”

Heather B., UT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“One or both headlights blow out about once a year. My mechanic says he sees this fairly frequently with Subarus. Wires heat up or whatever; instead of buying a whole new assembly, which he said would be expensive, he rigged up some new wiring and I haven't had a problem since”

Warren T., VT (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)

“Headlights burn out much faster than what we consider normal; every year essentially; Subaru denies any probelm”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Same as with headlights. Each one went out over a two week period costing me well over $200 in replacements. Dealer claimed not unusual. First vehicle I ever owned that you cannot change the bulbs yourself without tearing car apart!!”

Brian I., OH (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“break light burnt out... after-market bulb was slightly larger and had a difficult time fitting it in. In the end, all is okay”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

“Drivers side heated seat broke. Dealer fixed under warranty”

Jennifer A., BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Remote engine starter

“It sets off the alarm”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Tire pressure monitor

“Same problem as indicated earlier (the warning light about tire pressure)”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X Unsure)

“Last week the tire pressure monitor warning light came on. I had the tires checked for leaks/pressure, and a little air was added because they were on the low end of the pressure range.The warning light continued to flash. I needed new tires anyway, so bought a set the following day. However, the light continues to flash, so I must go to the dealer to have it checked/repaired. The only other time this warning light came on, the tire pressure was low, so the monitor was helpful”

Anonymous, SC (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

“The tire warning light was persistently lit even when all 4 sensors were changed. It turned out that an outdated phone cable that was plugged in interferes electronically with the signal. It took about 8 trips to Subaru before it was figured it out!”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X Unsure)
Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

“would not start remotely”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
USB port

“Does not work”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“Trimm on door pieces has come loose twice”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear wheel trim has come loose a couple of times”

Steve G., OR (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Trim fell off”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Triangular trim piece (beside the actual door handle) on driver's side external door handle fell off and was lost”

Anonymous, KY (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“piece of wheel moulding fell off”

Melvin L., PA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The right passenger door wheel well trim keeps coming off at highway speeds. This has happened at least 6 times since purchase. I have a problem only with this one trim piece”

Harvey L., CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“fender cover has fallen off twice and roof rack no longer sets level it is bowing in the middle”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“wheel moldings become loose”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Dealer installed wheel well trim keeps coming off, especially the left rear door trim”

Harvey L., CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Trim and front fender coming apart for vehicle. Not worth the money to fix at this time”

Anonymous, CT (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“paint coating very thin easily scratched and worn”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Cracking paint on driver's door which dealer refuses to correct”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“The rust is on the inside of the car in the front by the drivers seat at the bottom near the door. Unusual”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“AC system failed and had to be rebuilt under warranty”

Stephen W., HI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The A/C died, but it was covered (minus a $100 deductible) by an extended warranty that my wife insisted we buy (whew)”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The AC failed and mechanic reported that fluid leaked out of the unit due to a crack on the bottom. We have no idea how that happened”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

“The system keeps sending warm air into the car even when turned down to its lowest setting”

Alfred K., NJ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Condenser

“Just after the car hit its 2-year mark, the air conditioning failed to cool. An unusual smell emitted from the system. Dealer did diagnostics and said it needed a new condenser and quoted nearly $900 for repairs. I took it to a smaller garage that wa”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

“needed to replace seals,part of the ac system was not blowing cold air”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Took it back over the last three years 4-5 times. 1st time was refrigerant addition, 2nd refrigerant addition and look for leak, 3rd time was for refrigerant addition and repair leak on inside heat exchanger, and 4th time for leaking o-rings from pr”

Rickie B., NC (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The AC system completely failed due to a frozen expansion valve. Blew the o rings and all. They had to do a major repair. It was covered by the warranty”

Stephen W., HI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Not cooling adequately. Uneven cooling”

Anonymous, HI (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

“Races on hills and occasionally when accelerating [gradually] to highway speed. Other owners have mentioned the same thing, but the dealer "service" dept. looks at me like I have a third eye and completely denies this issue. Love my Subaru...hate th”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“The car fails to shift into the proper gear when going up hills, esp. steep hills. The dealer has continually failed to find & fix the problem and claim there is nothing wrong. The engine revs too high (btwn 4 & 5 on the gauge) & you can hear the str”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Repeatedly had issues with shifting from 1st to 2nd gear (4 gears total) when the car is cold (0 deg C or lower) - a hesitation followed by a "clunk" when going from 1st to 2nd gear. However, recently has expanded to "clunk" during warmer springtime temperatures between 4 to 6 deg C. At no time was any issue identified by Subaru service (no faults on the computers, no ability of mechanics to replicate the condition, even with the vehicle left overnight at the dealership during the winter outdo”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Since day 1 of owning this vehicle It has shifted oddly. I was told this is normal for a vehicle with CVT transmission. However I despise it and find it highly unsafe. When accelerating it seems to stall, and or slip when changing gears. This small time it seems to buffer and lag, creates for a dangerous situation as I may need to pass someone or avoid another car entirely and cannot due to a weak/unreliable transmission”

Jonathan H., NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

“The car fails to shift into the proper gear when going up hills, esp. steep hills. The dealer has continually failed to find & fix the problem and claim there is nothing wrong. The engine revs too high (btwn 4 & 5 on the gauge) & you can hear the str”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Hard Shift”

Richard M., ON (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Had it returned to dealership repair and cant duplicate problem to fix. Recall for software update for timing of motor but slippage still occurs”

Timothy J., HI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

“In cases requiring quick acceleration (e.g. highway on ramp) the transmission won't always upshift properly. Having the computer reflashed by the dealer will fix it for a few months”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

“Replaced battery in December, 2014. Vehicle is towed behind motorhome. Due to several errors on my part battery was allowed to run down during towing. Due to these repeated discharges the battery was becoming more prone to discharge, so I replaced it”

Alan L., VT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“If you do not remove your key from the ignition while the engine is off, the system drains the battery enough to cause issues starting the car - this happened several times in lines for the ferry”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Forester XT Unsure)

“Failed after 58 months of a 36 month warenty”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“OEM battery died after only 4 years use”

Richard C., MD (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Electronic ignition

“Very hard starting”

Robert M., FL (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Starter

“Car will not start when engine is warm. Need to restart,”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Dealer thought it was something other than the starter, which I insisted it was. It was!”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Power steering pumps and hoses

“had to replace the power steering pump and other steering parts”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

“Leaking macpherson strut”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Slid into a curb in the snow and damaged the struts and other suspension components”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Ball joints

“Damaged by sliding into a curb in the snow”

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Bushings

“Some suspension parts failed as if the car had been driven very hard on rough roads. To be fair, we did drive hard on rough roads. The alignment was affected and I had to replace the tires early, at about 23,000 miles”

Matthew M., WY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

“had to change bearings two years in a row”

Anonymous, QC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Mirrors

“Rear view mirror fell off”

Steve G., OR (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“rear view mirror bracket is loose and the mirror vibrates. online forums indicate this is not uncommon”

Brian H., CA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“folding side mirror faulty, cracked trim when folded”

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Seat belts

“Seat belts do not re-track properly”

David J., HI (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure Unsure)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“Intermittently fails to latch tightly. Seems to self-adjust”

Robert K., CO (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

“Driver window control panel no longer controls the passenger side window”

Anonymous, ID (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

“It was something identified by the dealer during routine maintenance, don't really know the details”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Forester X Unsure)

“Front O2 sensor was slow to respond causing check engine light to illuminate. I suspect a design flaw. The sensor is located directly below the dipstick. When engine oil is checked a drop of oil will occasionally fall onto the O2 sensor. The vent holes on sensor were oil followed”

David M., CT (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“after 32000 miles had 2 sensors malfunction - both had to do w/the fuel system. Because the sensors malfunctioned, had the check engine light turn on and it disabled the cruise control and traction control systems”

Colin W., KY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“EGR Valve clogged which initiated a Check Engine Light Code resulting in the loss of Cruise Control and the Vehicle Dynamics Control light illuminated. Not covered by warranty or Federal Emissions Law. Estimated $500 to repair at dealer so I drive with the check engine light on”

Anonymous, ID (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel cap

“Check engine light came on along with stability and cruise flashing. Pretty sure it is due to gas cap not secure enough to but has not yet reset”

Helen T., AK (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

“needed expensive repair to replace drive shaft”

Douglas M., MA (2012 Subaru Forester Unsure 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“A hub and bearing had to be replaced”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Driveline vibration

“This was traced down to the transmission output bearing failure”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Stability control (ESC)

“I had to have the bushings replaced; I did not feel any difference,the technician found the problem and showed it to me”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transfer case

“Transmission output shaft bearing was replaced”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“The clutch went out at 82000 miles. I had it replaced at a nearby Ford dealership. It was expensive for the replacement, but my Forester has run great since the clutch was replacement”

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Clutch completely failed. Was barely able to get car to the dealer. Clutch replaced”

Michael K., WI (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

“5th gear failure in 5-speed manual”

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“Just before 75,000 miles, the transmission needed to be rebuilt, due to slipping gears and "dropping" at a stop”

Kevin N., MI (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

“2nd. Forester I have owned where the manual trans. has failed”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“Repaired under warranty”

David J., PA (2012 Subaru Forester XT 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Muffler

“I noticed some rust spots under the right rear of the car that had dropped on the garage floor. I noticed the rust was coming from the front of the muffler where it was connected to the exhaust pipe. I took it to the dealer and they confirmed the l”

Emil C., CA (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Loose/rattling heat shield

“Rattles al the time at Idle”

William T., IL (2012 Subaru Forester X 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

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