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The speedometer instrument cluster bezel is different on the 05, the steering wheel is also different and is like the 3-spoke WRX momo style wheel without the momo brand and red thread. For those that liked leather while shifting a manual tranny, the XT premium package with leather was finally made available on the 5spd not just the auto only as in 04.

Those are a few things I can remember.

Jeff
 

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N10S said:
The speedometer instrument cluster bezel is different on the 05, the steering wheel is also different
I have a 2004 but I looked at a 2005 before I bought. Climate controls were different with proper rotating knobs on the 2005 rather than the nudge-wheel affairs on the 2004. Cruise control stalk was different with the main cruise on/off switch on the stalk for the 2005 rather than in a somewhat invisible position on the dash on the 2004. I don't remember much else of note.

-- Steve
 

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Depending what model you have, the weight may have changed. Here's a list of the weights of each model of the Forester.

2004 X manual 3090
2004 X auto 3135
2004 XS manual 3095
2004 XS auto 3140
2004 XS Premium 3130
2004 XS Premium 3175
2004 XT Manual 3205
2004 XT Auto 3250
2004 XT Premium auto 3300

2005 X manual 3090
2005 X auto 3135
2005 XS manual 3105
2005 XS auto 3150
2005 SX LL bean auto 3195
2005 XT Manual 3225
2005 XT auto 3270
2005 XT Premium 3225
2005 XT Premium 3270

2006 X manual 3165
2006 X auto 3205
2006 X Premium manual 3175
2006 X Premium auto 3215
2006 X LL Bean auto 3230
2006 XT Limited Turbo manual 3310
2006 XT Limited Turbo auto 3350
 
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Didn't the rated towing capacity change as well? For the U.S. model anyways. Went from 1500lbs to something like 2400lbs. Or was that change from '05 to '06?
 

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Trial2 said:
Didn't the rated towing capacity change as well? For the U.S. model anyways. Went from 1500lbs to something like 2400lbs. Or was that change from '05 to '06?
04 towing capacity is 2400 LBS. 05 also saw the Power Seats option, not available on the 04 and a very cool option.
 
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keyser soze said:
Trial2 said:
Didn't the rated towing capacity change as well? For the U.S. model anyways. Went from 1500lbs to something like 2400lbs. Or was that change from '05 to '06?
04 towing capacity is 2400 LBS. 05 also saw the Power Seats option, not available on the 04 and a very cool option.
My bad:

For '04 & '05
Without trailer brakes: 1000lbs.
With brakes : 2000lbs AT NA
2400lbs AT Turbo
2400lbs MT (both NA & Turbo)
 

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Jeffn said:
Thanks, nothing significant then.
I would have though the immobiliser was a big deal (we already had them - its the law here for all new cars)
It should be damn near impossible to steal the car without the key - they would need to tow it away. Certainly someone looking at stealing an XT in the US would simply skip a MY05 and grab a MY04.

For me the blue colour was the big deal. But the added bonus was the steering wheel audio controls and the tweeter and subwoofer.
 

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According to edmunds.com, 05 has a new Automatic Transmission. less gear hunting and different gear ratio. All 05 models have drive-by-wire throttle.
 

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razz said:
According to edmunds.com, 05 has a new Automatic Transmission. less gear hunting and different gear ratio. All 05 models have drive-by-wire throttle.
Hmmm... different gear ratios? Not according to this...

04 X/XS/LLBean: automatic: 1st 3.027, 2nd 1.619, 3rd 1,0, 4th 0.694 reverse 2.272; final 4.444

04 FXT: automatic: 1st 2.785, 2nd 1.545. 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.694,
reverse 2.272. Final 4.444

05 X/XS/LLBean: automatic: 1st 3.027, 2nd 1.619, 3rd 1,0, 4th 0.694 reverse 2.272; final 4.444

05 FXT: automatic: 1st 2.785, 2nd 1.545. 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.694,
reverse 2.272. Final 4.444

From http://www.cars101.com/forester.html

Also, the 04 FXT is drive-by-wire as well (but not the 04 NA models) and was the first model to get the new direct-control 4EAT.
 

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When Subaru offered me a 'deal' to get rid of MY02 Forester lemon, it was June of 04. The 05's were already on the dealers lot.

Offer was for an 04XS Premium and MY02, 9K.
For an 05XS Premium an MY02, 17K

To me at the time, the differences I saw were not worth the extra 8K:
Power driver seat (don't like it anyway, but others do)
Air Filtration Std (under $30 for that)
Drive by wire (from my wife's Highlander and being a grease monkey since the 60's, I wasn't to impressed with that either)
"NEW" 4EAT....Don't like Automatics or would consider one in this car unless due to physical needs I had to get one. So this didn't play into my decision.
Larger Auto-Climate controls, but unit acts the same, so large knobs didn't address any shortcomings.
Immobilizer available on the XT and LL Bean, but these were not my choices so this was a moot point.

Also they had the 04 available in Java Black (same color as MY90 Legacy LS was...I liked that car & color). 05 had Obsidian Black, not knocking it, but my preference was for the gold flake in the dark paint instead of the blue).

Needless to say from my signature, I went with the 04XS. Consistantly getting over 26 MPG in winter, over 30 in the summer...doing 26K a year. This Forester ranks 2nd or tied for 1st (with the 90 Legacy LS AWD wagon) in my favorite and most reliable Subaru.
 
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