You would really think me to be an idiot to be giving you tips on buying a second hand Chevrolet Forester. Heck, I am sure that many wouldn’t have even heard of this car. This was the very first car or SUV or crossover from the General to come to India and also to flag off its Chevrolet brand operations. Though this crossover was never a Chevrolet in any other market, India was the only market to get it. In fact it is a Subaru car. Surprise of surprise, though you wouldn’t find much of those used Chevrolet Forester crossovers, I found one at Vipul Motors which is in Vashi. I was just passing by and that is where this cream colored car was displayed as for sale. What GM tried to do is mix the looks of an estate and a SUV and the result was the Chevrolet Forester.
Out now in 2011, if you were to buy a used Chevrolet Forester in India, it would mean that you would end up answering many questions from curious onlookers while some true blue SUV fans would even want to buy this SUV from you. I have got some tips in place for you should you want to buy this gem of an SUV. Starting with the styling, it may not appeal to many and is more for the people who prefer not to let go of a book by just reading its title. The longish snout housed one of the most powerful head lamps from its time. However with time, the head lamps do tend to accumulate dust and by this time, it is highly possible that they would have even blackened out. Sourcing out parts can be a bit of an issue however if you actually place a request at an authorized Chevrolet show room, you can get an original glass after 3-4 months. Prices however are a bit shady and would entirely depend on the quote given by the Chevrolet dealer. The fog lamps also were said to have a short life period and hence would need to be changed. Changing them shouldn’t be a problem as after market ones do just as fine as the new ones.
The outside rear view mirrors are black in color and not body colored. Paint quality of the used Chevrolet Forester should be even and smooth. If the painted surface reveals any bubble or uneven spread, then it means that the paint surface has been scratched and the touchup job has been done poorly. Rust is never an issue with Chevrolet vehicles however the earlier batch of Foresters had reported some sort of rust in their underpinnings and do check if the car you are looking at has got this phenomenon treated. Tail lamps for many cars would also have gone kaput. Replacing them would take the same ritual of waiting for the genuine spare parts to arrive from Indonesia.
Moving onto the interiors, they were from an era when audio controls on steering wheel were still a distant dream. The 4 spoke steering wheel plus the lackluster instrument panel means that the interiors wouldn’t make one go wow. However the highly functional interiors wouldn’t get soiled easily and even if they do, a simple shampoo job would be enough to spruce up things. There are lots of cubby holes in and around the cabin. A used Chevrolet Forester would be a smugglers delight. Plastics were of the shiny type but then there is some clever interior packaging inside this car. It has got cup holders behind the front seats as also near the gear lever. Minor electrical issues are to be expected plus if you have never used a Chevrolet car before, get used to light buttons on the left side of the steering wheel and indicator stalks to the right. Though the Forester may look very big from outside, inside space is at a premium. Other than the front seats both the middle and third row of seats were utterly cramped. Check out for the air-conditioning ducts and see if they have been clogged or are working properly. AC repairs can be very costly for a used Chevrolet Forester and periodic AC servicing should cost something around Rs 15k. Boot space is just about adequate however the rearmost seats flip forward and hence aid the utility factor.
The Chevrolet Forester was known for its off-roading prowess and general mile munching capabilities. A second hand Chevrolet Forester wouldn’t be much off the mark. It has a low center of gravity plus symmetrical weight distribution. Moreover, it used all wheel drive system and also had a low gear ratio system. Suspension links at the rear however were a bug bear and required a replacement or looking into, every 20,000 kms. If the car you are checking has crossed this mark, then enquire with the seller if this repair work has been carried out. Whilst driving the car with a full complement of passengers, the car would sag a bit however this is to be expected as this car was softly sprung for a SUV. Some of the suspension bushings also had a leaking problem. Though the Forester was a SUV, it had somewhat low ground clearance as compared to other SUVs and was more prone to scraping if the model you are checking out has been used many times for off-roading.
Coming to the engine, the Forester has a 4 cylinder transversely mounted 2.0 liter petrol motor which generated power in the range of 120 Bhp while putting out 18.15 kgm of torque. A 5 speed gearbox was standard while there was no option for an automatic. The engine timing belt requires a replacement after 80k mark, do check if this repair work has been carried out. The engine is a delight which begs to be revved. However with its taller gearing, initial acceleration wouldn’t be a flat out thing. However rev the nuts of the engine and she would delight you with her effortless performance and cruising abilities. Not much troublesome, the engine however if your Forester is from the early 2002 batch then do take a close look at various engine parts. If possible, take a senior GM technician with you while inspecting the car. A Chevrolet Forester returns an overall fuel efficiency of 9.2 kmpl and a used one shouldn’t be off the mark. However with rising prices of petrol, you may want to have a hard look at this one.
Coming to the prices of this car, a used Chevrolet Forester price would range between Rs 5.5 lakhs to Rs 7.3 lakhs. In its heydays, the Forester used to sell for Rs 17 lakhs plus. However enthusiasts would tell you that this car is highly dependable.