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When looking for a safe SUV, Subaru is a reliable brand that gets recommended a lot. What are some of the best used Subaru Forester SUV years to look for? Since this sport utility vehicle has been around for so long, there are more suitable options than bad.

2020 is one of the best used Subaru Forester SUV years

The best used Subaru Forester SUV years
The Subaru Forester SUV in fall foliage | Subaru

Looking at Consumer Reports rankings of the Subaru Forester, not much changed between 2021 and 2020. That means either is a good option for the best used Subaru Forester SUV years. Both SUVs have high reliability and owner satisfaction scores, coupled with more reasonable prices.

A 2020 Forester will probably have more miles but a better price depending on what you are looking for. A 2021 Forester SUV might still have some warranty but will likely be in a higher price bracket. Both years have no open recalls and good scores for the crashworthiness tests. Owners report that areas of potential reliability trouble spots like the engine, transmission, and in-car electronics were performing well. These years are a good starting point if you need a reliable Subaru.

2018 is another option for the best used Subaru Forester SUV years

Going back a few years, 2018 is another one of the best used Subaru Forester SUV years. This was the last year before a significant redesign, so you might find a better deal on this version. Consumer Reports still gave the 2018 Forester good reliability scores, and the owner satisfaction score was even higher.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2018 Subaru Forester the Top Safety Pick award. In most of its testing, the 2018 SUV received top scores of “good.” Only one part of the small front overlap passenger test received a lower score of “marginal.”

If possible, 2009 is a good year to avoid for this Subaru sport utility vehicle


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The 2009 Subaru Forester is one of the least reliable years since it hit the market in 1997. The reliability score is one of the lowest points in its history. The owner satisfaction score wasn’t much better. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also issued 17 recalls for this year. Many of the recalls are for the exploding airbags that have plagued many vehicles from this era. In fact, nine out of the 17 recalls are for the airbags.

Owners also reported engine, brakes, exhaust, and transmission issues. The NHTSA did give this 2009 sport utility vehicle five stars on most of its crashworthiness tests. Some were unrated due to the year of the car.

Consumer Reports says the Subaru Forester is one of its most dependable compact SUVs, and owners seem to agree. The older the vehicle gets, the more likely it is to have expensive problems. That doesn’t mean a good option isn’t out there that might be older. If you find a used Subaru Forester SUV that looks good, get a pre-purchase inspection or ask for maintenance records. You might save yourself some headaches down the line.

This article was updated on 10/7/2022.