Subaru Forester STi

What is the Subaru Forester STi?

Subaru Forester STi
Subaru Forester STi

A high performance, full time 4WD rally-bred estate car.  For those with a family or lots of stuff to transport, who aren’t yet ready for full acquiescence to a standard family wagon.

The version pictured here is based on the 2nd generation Subaru Forester and was released in February 2004.  The model code is SG9.  There was a STi version of the 1st generation Forester, released in May 2000.  This had a 2 litre engine with less power.

Why you’ll want one

Superb performance from the 2.5 litre, 4 cylinder turbocharged boxer engine, which produces 261 bhp and is coupled to a 6 speed manual gearbox.  The 0-60 time is 5.4 seconds, which makes it faster to 60 on paper than a Porsche Cayman (non-PDK), Lotus Elise, Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000 and many others.

Reliable if looked after.

Loads of space in the boot and a huge load area with the rear seats down.  Lots of other practical things like ISOFIX points on both of the outer rear seats.

A HUGE air intake scoop on the bonnet 🙂

Why you might not want one

Getting a barge like this to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds comes at a price!  From what I have read you’ll be lucky to see 30 mpg.  The manufacturer’s official fuel consumption figure is 27 mpg (I’m using UK gallons).  If you’ve been enjoying all the performance on offer I suggest you don’t even bother doing the calculation.

Insuring a car with this performance isn’t cheap.  Not the insight of the century I know.  I’d estimate £600-£700 for a low risk driver.

Ideally these engines need to run on 98 octane fuel which is…’ve guessed it…..more expensive than standard 95 RON unleaded.

Look out for

Bodged / budget modifications.  Things like fitting a ‘decat’ pipe or high flow air intake without an associated remap of the engine management.

Lack of service history.  In particular cars over the 50,000 mile / 5 year timing belt change interval.  The engine is an interference engine so this could get expensive if the belt breaks.

Subaru Forester Cross Sports being passed off as the STi model.


The Subaru Forester STi is expensive to run but in my view represents excellent value for money for the performance you get to enjoy.  Get in touch if you’d like to know more or import one for yourself.


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