Love my new Forester!
Have noticed it has a bit of road noise at highway speeds.
I know about changing out the stock tires and may do that.
Saw something about noise reduction padding for the doors and rear cargo area. Not sure on the details.
I did a sound damping project on my 2006 Forester a few weeks after I bought it. Now, it is easy to hear a whisper at 80 mph and the sound system is 200% better.
Basically, the areas I treated were the doors, under the back seat, the cargo floor area, and the hood. It takes time to apply the material, but not very much technical skill.
You need to use two materials to achieve good results. The first material is called B-quiet ultimate. There are other brands out there so research them for the best deal.
And the second material is called ensolite mlc foam. I used the 1/8" and the 1/4" stuff. You need some 3M auto spray adhesive to stick the foam in place. On the doors it is best to apply the foam to the inside of the door panels.
Anyway, the b-quiet stuff once applied sticks like crazy. No way is it going to fall off. You can double up on too if you want. Inside the doors I only covered about 40% of the sheet metal.
I bought two thicknesses of the ensolite MLC foam, 1/8" and 1/4". I used the 1/8" foam on the doors and 1/4" every where else. Of course, no foam under the hood. Just put the hoodliner back in place.
Doors: apply the b-quiet to the inside of the exterior sheet metal, cover about 50% or whatever you can reach. Use utility scissors to cut the stuff and wd-40 to clean the scissors. Apply the 1/8" foam to the inside of the door panels using the 3M auto spray adhesive. Spray the adhesive on the foam. You want to cover as much of the panel as you can, but 80%+ is fine. Of course, don't cover the speaker holes. Work slowly at first to get the hang of it, but like I said you get to be a pro before too long.
Hood: take the hood liner off and apply some of the b-quiet to the smooth sheet metal between the ribs. You will need to get some replacement hoodliner retainers because the subaru ones can't easily be re-used. Dorman 799-145 headliner retainers work fine. Buy them at O'reillys, etc.
Under the back seat: Unbolt the back seat and remove, apply a lot of the b-quiet, in some places 2 layers because this is where the rear differential noises enter the cabin and then glue the 1/4 foam in large pieces to the b-quiet.
Cargo floor and spare tire well: repeat above. This area will take the most time. You will see that the quarter panels and wheel wells have a thick foam sound proofing material on them.
I didn't do any place else because I didn't want to mess with the front seats. And I didn't put any around the engine compartment because I didn't want to spoil the looks. In fact, there is really no way one can tell that I did the sound damping project. The areas I did are the top road noise areas and you will be impressed with the difference.
At the same time that I did the sound damping project, I also changed out th very noisy, low rated stock tires with Goodyear ComforTreads which are top-rated for quietness, road handling/comfort and wet/dry traction.
I've also replaced the stock windshield wipers with the new slim profile wipers that don't produce much, if any wind noise, and give a superior performance. I could tell the difference the first time I drove the Forester over 50 mph: no more wind noise from the wipers.
Probably the interior of my Forester is now just as quiet as a Lexus!!