Published on October 25th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Subaru Forester 1997 Used Car Review
Most MPV owners never end up never using the 3rd row seat, having to live with high fuel bills (remember, they are driving around a large un-aerodynamic bread box), having their kids running around the large interior while in motion and worst still, most owners end up with at the most 2 kids only (with a maid in tow). This means that a regular car with a large boot would have been more than adequate. Simply put, the mommy and daddy in front and the two kids in the rear with the mandatory maid in the rear center. With ‘balik kampung’ trips and the occasional Sunday picnic, the luggage will fit nicely in the rear boot. So here on these pages I offer to you a great used possibility in a mommy car that will have daddy borrowing it on weekends and in the evening to run around with his buddies chasing little sports cars around corners and on the open highway. A sort of mid life crisis buy, which the wife will and should approve after a brief test drive. The 1997 Subaru Forester is our used car pick for families looking for an alternative to a large cumbersome MPV.
The Subaru Forester arrived in Malaysia initially under Tan Chong’s subsidiary with two-litre turbo charged engine mated to an automatic transmission in a five-door estate body. This is in some ways an Impreza WRX in a station wagon shell. It sits rather high almost like a CRV or RAV4 but a tad lower. It has a legendary 4-wheel drive system; great build quality and a drive performance to rival most sports coupes in the market. Inside you get a simple dashboard layout with a good driving position to see in front and at the sides. The square boxy profile lends to good interior space and the high riding position allows for great entry and exit especially for ladies in short skirts and aging passengers with bad backs. Moving toddlers in and out the rear seats are easy and loading groceries is a cinch as the load height is just right for the shopping carts and the hypermarkets. A months groceries will fit with ease and when on a week long beach holiday you can cart two suitcases with plenty of beach toys and even a couple of tricycles.
Getting to your destination will be super quick if you want to as the Forester turbo packs a 225 to 265 horsepower engine depending on specifications and model type. Most used Foresters in the market today as gray imports from Japan and they have a dozen or so variants. Many have been owned by single ladies and men and a few families have taken the right step in owning one without regrets. Features are good where even the so-called ‘basic’ version will come with power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors as well as headlamp washers, driver and passenger airbags and ABS. High specification models will have electric sunroof side airbags and leather seats with Bilstein suspension and light weight alloy wheels. However with most cars and after a few owners adding accessories this would have changed and increased and engines would have seen some rough mileage.
First thing you need to do before you decide on a purchase is to check the turbo unit and the service record. There a few Subaru specialists in Klang Valley and they have the diagnostic equipment to handle these cars. Then you need to check for accident damage. Most would have had new paint jobs by now so look for uneven lines and gaps in the exterior panels as build quality on these cars are quite good from the showroom. Blown engines are common and replacement engines are plentiful at between RM6 to RM9K depending on year and type. Always check the underside for off road damage however it is unlikely that any owner would take a Forester off road even with its superb off road capabilities. Prices for a 1997 model start from RM40k for an early stock Forester with little add ons and can go as high as RM65K for a fast a furious 1999 model.