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6 Best Used SUVs Under 10K - Subaru Forester Deserves A Look, But Proceed With Caution

What are the best used SUVs under $10,000? This is a popular price point, but there are a few good picks. See why the 2011 Subaru Forester deserves a look. But there is caution needed with some Forester trim levels. Check the report before you buy.

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Is the Subaru Forester a good SUV pick for used car buyers? A new report from U.S. News picks the best used SUVs under $10,000 and says the 2011 Subaru Forester should be on your shopping list. Below are the U.S. News best used SUVs for about $10,000 you can buy this year.

2011 Honda CR-V: Average Price: $9,939 | U.S. News Score: 9.0/10
2011 Nissan Murano: Average Price: $8,383 | U.S. News Score: 8.9/10
2012 Kia Sportage: Average Price: $9,275 | U.S. News Score: 8.8/10
2011 Toyota RAV4: Average Price: $8,475 | U.S. News Score: 8.5/10
2011 Toyota Highlander: Average Price: $9,150 | U.S. News Score: 8.5/10
2011 Subaru Forester: Average Price: $7,915 | U.S. News Score: 8.2/10

2011 Subaru Forester

What does U.S. News say about the 2011 Subaru Forester?

"The Subaru Forester seemingly set the benchmark for many modern small SUVs. It combines the best road-going attributes of a car with a tall, versatile layout that delivers plenty of head- and legroom and 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Though not as refined as other small SUVs, Forester's cabin is durable and ready for adventures."

They also say, "The base engine in the Forester makes 170 horsepower and provides adequate power for around town. However, if you find a 2.5XT model, it features an upgraded 224-horsepower turbocharged engine. Both engines send power to standard all-wheel drive through an automatic transmission. You can also find the base engine with a manual transmission."

2011 Subaru Forester

What does Consumer Reports say?

Consumer Reports gives the 2011 Forester a 3/5 in overall reliability and a 3/5 in owner satisfaction. In addition, Forester is ranked Ranked number 3 of 4 in reliability among 2011 SUVs. However, CR says some owners report major engine repairs on some models. "Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt."

What used Forester years should you avoid?

Consumer Reports says some Forester models are worse than others for reliability. CR says the 2006-2010 Forester models have the worst reliability. 2014, 2013, and 2012 Forester are model years that could have reliability issues.

The 2011 Forester falls in between, and not all trim levels have the same reliability. We suggest having a certified Subaru mechanic check out the used Forester model you are considering. It is money well spent and could save from paying for an expensive engine rebuild.

Is the Forester a safe vehicle?

The 2011 Subaru Forester is a Top Safety Pick award winner for crashworthiness from the IIHS.

Finding a used Forester

A recent report from iSeeCars says it's challenging to find a deal on a low-mileage used Subaru Forester compact SUV in today's market, but expanding your search radius can provide consumers with the best chance to see more savings. "Even if you can't travel to the city with the greatest savings on your car, you will probably find greater savings beyond your local area, making the travel worth it," said Brauer.

For the 2011 model year, Forester came with two engine options and five trim levels. The Forester is available in 2.5-liter naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) and 2.5-liter turbocharged models.

The naturally aspirated models are available with a manual or automatic transmission. In addition, the naturally aspirated model is available in four trim levels; 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X Limited, and 2.5X Touring.

The 2.5XT turbocharged version was available in two trim levels, the 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring. The 2.5X and 2.5XT turbocharged models come standard with an automatic transmission.

What is the best trim level?

The Forester Premium offers good value. The 2.5X Premium standard equipment included a 10-way power driver's seat, 17-inch Alloy Wheels, 225/55 R17 95H all-season tires, privacy glass, a panoramic power moonroof, roof rails, steering wheel mounted audio switches, reclining rear seatback function, and back seat retractable rear tray. An optional all-weather package included heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icer, and heated exterior mirrors.

What is the 2011 Forester fuel mileage?

The Forester with the 2.5-liter engine with the naturally-aspirated engine gets the best fuel mileage. The EPA estimates are 21/26 city/highway mpg and 23 combined mpg with the automatic transmission. In addition, the 5-speed manual transmission gets one more mpg highway (27).

Other used Forester model years to consider

If you can buy a newer used Forester, Consumer Reports (by subscription) says the 2017 Forester is the best five-year-old SUV you can buy now. Consumer Reports says the 2017 Forester is fuel-efficient and reliable, and they also come with standard safety features with the highest crash scores.

2017 Subaru Forester

What is the price of the 2017 Forester?

CR says a used 2017 Forester price range is $18,775 - $24,600. However, with new 2023 Forester models scarce, prices may be higher as retailers raise the prices of low-mileage Forester SUVs.

When buying a used Subaru Forester or any used vehicle, it's best to consider models maintained according to the owner's manual. Ask the owner or car dealer for maintenance records, and getting a vehicle history report from AutoCheck or CarFax is a good idea. As mentioned above, we suggest having a certified Subaru mechanic check out any used Forester model you are considering.

You Might Also Like: Looking For A Used Subaru? CR Says These 2 Models Give The Biggest Bang For Your Buck

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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