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fourteen410
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 10:29 am 
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I bought my Forester new four years ago. I looked into the price of a newer used Subaru (at the time, '06-'09), and it was close enough to the cost of a new one that it made more sense for me to buy new (reliability was top priority for me). I actually ended up paying less for new than what some of the dealerships were asking for on used models.

Not sure if you're interested in the Forester, but they are cheaper than the Outback. I have 81k on mine, and the only trouble I've had with it was the A/C (small refrigerant leak). Actual highway gas mileage is about 24-25 mpg. One thing that I do miss about the older model subarus (pre 2008/2009) is the smaller size. I feel like I'm driving a boat most of the time.

Stay away from Outbacks/Foresters between 2000-2005 - I know too many people who've had the head gasket issue with the models in that year range.
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Steve
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 11:33 am 
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Jeff wrote:
A corporate discount does help swing the math towards buying new. A car with a salvage title that was totaled due to "very minor damage" certainly swings it towards buying used.

Except that a salvage title means the damage to the car exceeds 75% of the value of the car. People who say it's a salvage because of some minor damage are lying.

I bought my '08 2.5i, not the base model, new from Eastside subaru for 21k before tax, about twice the cost of what I was seeing for used with 100k miles on it. I saw dealers offering two year old outbacks with 20k miles for $2k less than what I got mine new. With it I got lifetime oil changes, as long as you get all the servicing done there, and an extended 100k powertrain warranty included at no extra cost. I get 28 mpg on the highway going from bothell to the tri cities, but can get 30 if I'm just doing 60. Best I ever got was 33 mpg driving back from Sun Mtn Lodge to Marysville, but that was mostly 50 mph on highway 9.

So far I have 107k miles on mine. It doesn't burn oil, has no piston slap, and no head gasket leaking, yet anyway. My only complaint is that the right rear door lock no longer auto locks and it is $250 to fix and it can still be locked manually. My buddy bought an '08 Forrester at the same time and was concerned about reliability problems, but he likewise has had no problems except when he tried to activate the rear wiper when it was frozen to the window and it broke.

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like2thruhike
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 3:51 pm 
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I like the idea of a Subaru....but what about a Honda or a Toyota?

Less drama.
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Steve
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 4:03 pm 
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You can get a used 4Runner or Tacoma, et al, for a less than a subaru according to my searches. My wife loves her subaru, but I'll likely be replacing my vehicle with a 4Runner partly because the subaru roof racks are too short for me to feel comfortable about mounting my 17'+ kayaks on top and the limited space inside for more than two people.

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iron
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getting old
PostTue Jan 28, 2014 4:31 pm 
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i found the subaru to be plenty adequate for 4-5 people and 17' kayaks on the roof. but, i hear what you're saying about more options. seems like the 4runner or tacoma is a whole different animal in terms of MPG. our '95 subie was 30 MPG and it's going to be hard to swallow the thought of a drop in MPG.

does anyone have a consumer reports USED card buying guide they'd be willing to lend me? current year or sometime recent? i know they issue these annually. on eBay, they run about $40, which is understandable, but not something i want to pay.

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contour5
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 4:41 pm 
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I'm kind of partial to 92 to 94 Astro vans; shortie model. Available with AWD, for well under $2k. Mileage isn't the greatest, but there's tons of room for sleeping space. Goes pretty good on snow, with adequate tires. And! You can drop a short block V8 in there if you're lookin to hot rod.

I know this is a bit drifty in the current thread; just wanted to toss it out there for others who might be looking for the perfect trail car...
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Navy salad
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 5:47 pm 
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I've had a 97 Outback that I bought used around 2002 with around 45,000 miles on it at the time. Since then, yes, I've replaced the head gasket--once--but have not had a HG problem since. I've also replaced the CV boots 2 or 3 times, but at least this isn't an expensive repair. I recently had a Suburu Tech (who happens to be a NWHikers' member) replace the clutch just because it was due. It's now got around 200K miles on it +/- and going strong. I've taken it on 80 mile long gravel, potholed roads on Vancouver island several times and all through the Cascades. It's been a great car for both hauling kayaks (as many as four on top, although three is more like it) and many many hiking trips. I intend to drive it until it either falls apart or gets too expensive to maintain.
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DIYSteve
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 5:48 pm 
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like2thruhike wrote:
I like the idea of a Subaru....but what about a Honda or a Toyota?

Subie AWD is superior.  Honda makes great cars.  Toyota makes very good cars.  But both AWD systems kinda suck.
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 6:24 pm 
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We have 4 runner and a CRV and have many friends who have had subbies what BS says about CRVs is true it is more for going skiing without chains. The 4runner has a very adaptable 4x4 system that includes AWD, compound low, and true 4x4 which is superior to AWD in extreme conditions as does the Tacoma. My friends with Subbies have all had head gasket or tranny problems. I never liked the engines as it is quite inefficient as compared to the others. I also liked preunibody Explorer which we got 200k before contributing it to charity. Just MHO.

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Bedivere
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 8:18 pm 
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If trail and cargo capability trump mileage, get the 4Runner.

Other than the gasket issues Subies are, for the most part, quite reliable.

My WRX is being retired from trailhead duty this year in favor of a 4x4 pickup. It doesn't help any that I installed slight lowering springs and stiffer struts on it last summer.  Still, it handled the Middle Fork road just fine last weekend.

It's an '06 model that I bought in early '09 for $10K less than what a new one would cost.  It had 38K miles so still had the balance of the factory warranty and in all respects was just as nice as a new one.

I've put 100K on it since then and only had very minor issues that could happen with any car though it is now going through oil at higher rate than it used to - about 1 qt every 1500 miles.  I think it's the seals in the turbo but can't be sure.

The turbo engines don't have headgasket issues but you do take on the added risk of a turbo failure.  They're rare, but they do happen.

A good friend of mine has been a mechanic his whole life and he likes Subies - got one for his wife and it's been mostly trouble free.

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Jeff
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 10:19 pm 
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Chainsaw_Willie wrote:
he turbo engines don't have headgasket issues but you do take on the added risk of a turbo failure.  They're rare, but they do happen.

It is true that the 2.5L turbo Outback (3rd gen) seems to be immune from head gasket failures. However, the turbos seem to go out with about the same frequency. Many think the infamous banjo bolt contributes to oil starvation for the turbo.
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boot up
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PostTue Jan 28, 2014 11:17 pm 
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gotta say my wife's '12 Impreza is winning me over. 
I can't figure out the complaints about the CVT.  Nissan's early CVT's were crap and a very different design and are probably responsible for giving CVT a bad name.

I just did 6 hours of driving the Impreza last Saturday, winter gas, much of it in traffic or on streets or gravel/slimey roads or above optimum gas saving speeds on freeway. Below freezing the entire drive in, on winter gas. Still managed an average of about 36mpg per its gauge.  To me that is a big deal.  Some people obviously don't care about gas mileage, so that wouldn't be a big deal.

Big thing I have noticed in slimey mud or gravel or icey roads, is that the Impreza feels much much more stable than my Honda AWD.   Subie knows how to design AWD.  And I still have the OEM tires on which everyone says are crap.

Honda's respond well to careful and frequent maintenance.  Actually, they require it, in my experience.    Also Honda has had some Dark Years.  We got out from under a 2000 Accord that was a disaster.  So far my Element is doing ok, but all fluids need to be changed every 30k miles, fer instance.

We bought our Impreza Premium model for a smokin good deal.  It was a special order to get that simple model with few trinkets.   I don't like buying someone else's headache, so I prefer to buy new.  I combine getting usually one up from the bottom of the line, and some good bargaining and end up paying what someone else is paying for a car with a bunch of miles on it and a bunch of doodads that are going to break down sooner. 

If I had to replace my Honda Element tomorrow for some reason.  I would give a close look at the 2014 Forester, cheapest model, which is much better gas mileage than the older ones.  And I would get the CVT. 
There are already people on the Impreza forum racking up more mileage on the CVT than I will ever put on a car.  I have not been hearing of any problems.

Different cars for different needs though.

YMMV

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Bogart
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PostWed Jan 29, 2014 1:02 am 
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iron wrote:
i found the subaru to be plenty adequate for 4-5 people and 17' kayaks on the roof. but, i hear what you're saying about more options. seems like the 4runner or tacoma is a whole different animal in terms of MPG. our '95 subie was 30 MPG and it's going to be hard to swallow the thought of a drop in MPG.

Iron -

Mileage may be worse on the Outback.  I have a '98 Outback, with Hankook iPikes on it year round, plus bike rack & ski racks year round.  I'm also running one size up in tire from stock, and replaced the struts/springs so it runs about 2" higher than stock.  Main issues affecting mileage would be tires, and then a toss up between the lift & roof hardware.  Mostly in city driving I average 21 mpg, road trips I'll get up to about 25.

I drive about 5000 miles annually, so the difference between 20 mpg vs. 25 mpg @ $4 per gallon costs me $200/yr.  Your mileage will vary, so to speak...

Big Steve and others have listed decent resources.  If you like the Suby stuff, there are a ton of people doing interesting & practical stuff on outback.org.  That's a pretty huge knowledge base to fall back on from a DIY and cost management perspective.  The headgasket issue is not catastrophic (as long as you commit to monitoring coolant) and a known cost, so limits your exposure.
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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seeking hygge
PostWed Jan 29, 2014 8:35 am 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
I never liked the engines as it is quite inefficient as compared to the others.

That changed with the 2012 Impreza 2.0L.  EPA 36MPG highway rating, best AWD MPG available.  See bootup's post re real time 36MPG.  We're getting it on highway trips too, routinely getting 32MPG on ski trips with winter gasoline and a ski pod on top of the car.  Pairing with the CVT helps the MPG.  And it's a roomy car: back seat leg room is better than older Outbacks.
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HitTheTrail
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PostWed Jan 29, 2014 8:45 am 
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Bogart wrote:
I have a '98 Outback, with Hankook iPikes on it year round, plus bike rack & ski racks year round.  I'm also running one size up in tire from stock...

I have heard Wildernessed say a couple of times that if one tire has a problem you have to replace all four of them. I think it is related to a balancing issue with the AWD. I know it happened to him at least once and maybe twice. Just something to consider.
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