Subaru SG Forester: What You Need to Know

Avishka Chandeepa

Posted 28 May 2024


History of the Subaru Forester 

The Subaru Forester, a pioneer in the now-dominant crossover SUV market, debuted in 1995. The second-generation (SG) arrived in 2002, lighter thanks to an aluminum hood and redesigned frame. While retaining a boxy look, smoother lines and wider arches gave it a more modern feel. Safety was a focus, with a strong structure leading to a 4-star ANCAP rating, later improved to 5 stars.

Engine options varied by market, including non-turbo and turbocharged 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines. Subaru offered 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions, alongside a 4-speed automatic. Permanent all-wheel drive ensured capability in all conditions.

The Forester STi, launched in 2004, shared its engine with the 2005 WRX STi. The SG Forester remained a well-rounded and capable compact SUV until its 2008 replacement. Keep reading this buyer’s guide to know everything about purchasing a Subaru SG Forester.


Forester STi and Cross Sports

Australia prominently uses the Subaru Forester SG5 and the Forester SG9's Cross Sports and STI versions on their roads, mainly because they are performance-based SUVs. 

The Forester STi was designed as a sports-based version of the Subaru Forester SG. The Forester STi received a comprehensive makeover to transform it into a performance machine. Unlike the WRX STI, it has a unique 2.5-liter turbocharged engine (EJ255) with a special red intake manifold, producing 265 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. This translates to impressive acceleration, reaching 0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.  A stronger six-speed manual gearbox from the WRX STI handles the extra power with ease, while taller gear ratios in the top three gears allow for relaxed highway cruising. To further enhance performance, a larger intercooler improves engine efficiency and a low-back-pressure exhaust system lets the engine breathe easier.

Subaru Forester STI version from Japan to Australia by Zervtek
Subaru Forester STi Version for an Australian customer before shipping.

The Forester STi continues beyond just engine upgrades. It boasts a sportier suspension setup with STI springs, revised struts, and thicker anti-roll bars, resulting in a 1.2-inch lower ride height and sharper handling. While the higher center of gravity of an SUV remains, the Forester STi tackles corners with confidence thanks to its quicker steering rack. This combination of powertrain and suspension upgrades transforms the Forester STi into a capable performer that retains some practicality for everyday driving.

The Subaru Forester STi SG9, on the other hand, released in December 2005, offered a sporty option with the Cross Sports 2.0 T variant. This 5-door, 5-seat SUV packed a 1,994 cc turbocharged engine (EJ20 model) that required premium gasoline for optimal performance. Notably, the engine is smaller than that of the STi. Despite weighing in at 1,460 kg, the Forester TA-SG5 balanced practicality and exhilaration. With a total cargo volume of 11.981 cubic meters and a choice of colors including satin white pearl, obsidian black pearl, urban grey metallic, premium silver metallic, garnet red pearl, and Newport blue pearl, it catered to a variety of styles and needs.


The 2005 Upgrade

Subaru updated its vehicle lineup in response to stricter Euro 4 emission regulations in 2005, including the SG Forester. The Forester received significant changes, including a redesigned front fascia, new fenders, and an updated interior. Subaru introduced a new generation of flat-four engines with a variable valve opening system that optimized engine performance.


Specifications of the Subaru Forester SG

ModelSubaru Forester SG (Second-Generation)
Year of production2003 – 2008
LayoutFront-engined, four-wheel drive
Engine/Engines2.0 L EJ20 H4
 2.0 L EJ20 turbo H4
 2.5 L EJ253 H4
 2.5 L EJ255 turbo H4
 2.5 L EJ25 turbo H4 (JDM Forester STi)
Power123 – 226 hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque137 – 236 lb-ft
Gearbox5-speed manual
 4-speed automatic
 6-speed manual (STI)
Suspension FrontMacPherson Strut


Finding a Second-Generation Forester

The SG5 and SG9 Foresters were never manufactured and delivered in Australia. This is what makes them eligible for import now. That’s where the services of ZervTek come in, as you can browse Subaru Foresters for sale either in our stock or browse upcoming Foresters in the auctions.

The Japanese auctions will:

  • Give you a lot more options to pick from.
  • Set your custom budgets per vehicle depending on the year, mileage, condition, etc.
  • Buy at wholesale prices that Japanese dealers/exporters buy at.
  • A flat exporter fee that includes all the charges within Japan.

We provide translations for the auction sheets which are condition reports that come with each car, do additional inspections to get you photos and videos before the auctions, and provide you with pricing data for recently sold-out Foresters in the Japanese auctions so you can gauge and bid at the current market price and never over.

After successfully winning a vehicle, ZervTek will take care of inland transport, documentation, and customs clearance in Japan and arrange shipping taking care of everything up to the destination port. 

Subaru Forester SG9 STI Version in Australia
The same Subaru Forester STi in Australia.

You can find a full guide to our auction process here. If this seems a bit complicated, do not worry. An agent will talk to you, providing you with translations and support throughout this process. We are here for you; it gets easier after you go through the translations of a few vehicles.



This guide delves into the depths of the Subaru Forester SG, its history, and the details of the Subaru Forester STi TA-SG9 and the Cross Sports TA-SG5. It further explains how ZervTek can help you scour auctions looking for your dream Forester SG, and what you need to know about the Japanese auction system. We ship worldwide, not just to Australia, so if you have any other vehicles that you're interested, please contact us via WhatsApp or Email.