Autumn

Autumn

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Want

A new car. Well, not new but pre-owned, as in used. It's time for me to face facts - my truck eats far too much gasoline. I drop close to eighty dollars a week between my drive to Little Bit's school and my business.

I want a Subaru like the one below.


A very practical wagon. Thing is, I know next to nothing about Subaru's, nada, zip. I did a bit of research yesterday. I understand they're the bee's knees on the road rally circuit in Europe, kick butt little cars. My son informed me their transmissions are bullet proof. They hold their value well. The 2.2 engine is one of the best. It's a 'flat-four,' whatever in the heck that means. I'm not a gearhead.  Weapons yes, motors and drive trains leave me cold.

I like the Subaru wagons - they have space for gear, rifles, and groceries. It's a full time four wheel drive vehicle that many use for off-road fun. They're tough. That, I like. It pares well with my survivalist mentality.






I came across an ad yesterday. There is this small 'fly-by-night' used car dealer here with one for sale. Trust me, not many of these cars are up for grabs. He said its a one owner 1999 Legacy L-wagon with only 124K miles. I've seen pictures of the car. Its beautiful. His price, though, scares the heck out of me. He's asking $3,759.00. Seems low to me. The blue book is over nine thousand. Even my son said they hold their price well, so why is his price so low, I wonder.

Seems I shall have it up on a rack for inspection before I consider a purchase. Looks never reveal the evil hidden within...

Now, I ask you, my fine friends - your opinions on Subaru. After all, there are a few Honda and Toyota wagons left out there somewhere. Oh, yes, I'll keep my truck.

Thanks,

Stephen

53 comments:

  1. My sister-in-law and her husband have owned serveral over the last 10 years. He's in IT and can afford to trade up every couple years. They've never had a single problem, including quite a bit of roadtime for 3 different kids-events.

    Kerodin
    III

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    1. Kerodin, first of all thanks for stopping by and please, don't be a stranger.
      Thanks for the comment. Your BIL must enjoy the smell of new cars.

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  2. My mother loves hers (I think it's a 2007 or so). Nice car, but I'm so tall that there is no comfortable position in the front seats if I sit in it for more than 3 hours at a time. That won't matter to normal-sized people, and if I can sit slightly cockeyed in the back seats I'm fine.

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    1. bluesun, I've yet to try and fit into one. I 6'1" so shouldn't have a problem...I hope. Thanks.

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  3. Subaru wagons are very popular up in Anchorage; it's a very common sight to see them cruising around with kayaks, fishing poles holders/ski holders, or mountain bikes on the roof racks, and fairly standard to see cargo netting strung across the back and a retriever, lab, or husky mix pressing his nose to the back window and watching the world go by. (You can track the changes in your friends when the fold-down seats go from stuffed with fishing gear or drysuits and scuba gear to carseats. The dog remains.)

    If you see one parked off the side of the highway south of town, you just look up for the rock climber, or if a cluster of them, look out on the tidal flats for the wind surfers.

    My flying buddy hates 'em, but he spends a lot of time on the road, and claims that's because subaru drivers never smile and are the worst drivers. If true, that's the fault of the people, not the car. They handle snow pretty well, and mud pretty well, and run really reliably and pretty low-maintenance until they hit the end of their long life, when everything seems to go at once. (Which is why they hold their value so well.)

    Amusingly enough, I've never owned or driven one; I give you this impression from having been around so very many of them. They're more common than Jeeps and less common than pickups, and so this is just what I've seen around me. It's a free opinion; take it for what that's not worth.

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    1. The Subaru is a fairly rare vehicle in this part of the country. Like some have noted we don't get much snow and our beach dunes are considered mountains. Your opinion is valued and I thank you, Dear Lady, for the comment.

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  4. Like any vehicle the Subaru can have it's lemons. I had one of those lemons back in '83. I have not looked at them in a long time, I suspect though that you will find them to be relatively simple workhorses. As to the deal that you have... CARFAX. Find out what happened to it. I was speaking to salesman a while back and he indicated that Carfax is the best thing that ever happened for consumers of pre-owned vehicles.

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    1. That's what worries me, lemons. Of course the first thing I'll do, if I actually take a look at this car, is ask for the Carfax. I'm not completely sold yet. Like I said, it's a want and not a need. Thanks for the comment,Thor, and for stopping by my humble blog. Please, stick around as many nice people visit here.

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  5. I don't like them, I don't really know why but I do see a lot of 'save the whales', 'greenpeace' and 'obama' stickers on them. I do know they are VERY popular with the green, tree hugger bunch.
    Alright now I have offended a lot of people.....but you made me do it.

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    1. Well, heck, Bubba, I hug trees too. Afterwards I cut 'em down and burn their wood. I understand Whales make great BBQ, and if I find an obama sticker that cuts the sucker down, well I'm not above slapping the sucker on my bumper. I shall take the blame if you indeed offended the wrong people. Thanks, my friend.

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    2. That's OK I can't help myself either, I guess anytime I see a Subaru I think liberal, this also applies to Toyota Prius, Volvo and any electric car. Now I am sure I ticked off more people.

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    3. Duke, you're not as far off as some would defiantly claim. As for whales - you know that tastes change depending on the amount of carbs available? Inuit and Inupiaq friends of mine state very strongly that whale tastes awesome when you're on the traditional diet. To my potato eating, rice-loving, pasta is awesome self, muktuk tastes awful. As for the grilled meat - it's like beef in size and texture, really - except it tastes strongly fishy. It's probably also an acquired taste, and I just never ate enough to acquire the taste.

      Again, though, like guns - blame the user, not the tool, eh? And if the stereotype smarts too much, well, I can probably find the sanctimonious bumper stickers for you. Alaskan favorites include "Alaskans for Global Warming", "Eat Moose: 10,000 wolves can't be wrong", and "Friends don't let friends eat farmed fish."

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    4. Now I want some grilled Whale...and those bumper stickers work for me. Thanks, Dear Lady. Duke, btw, is the ugly one. I'm cute...

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    5. Duke, 'ole Buddy, I'll take up for you. Let it fly.

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  6. We got one in '93. Best deal we ever got on a car, although we admittedly bough at a conjunction of the moon (end of quarter with an aggressive incentive program).

    Drove it 130,000 miles before replacing it with a POS Nissan Minivan. FAIL.

    If you're handy fixing cars and live where they don't salt the roads, I don't see why you couldn't drive one to 250k miles. Not a flashy car, but reliable and low maintenance for us at least.

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    1. 'If you're handy fixing cars,' that is a problem with me. I can and will on occasion do minor repairs, but hate grease monkey work. I do like reliable and low maintenance rides. Thanks, Borepatch. I don't care what Duke said, I think you're a fine man....

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  7. Since you asked for opinions, you'll get my honest opinion: they are UGLY. I admit to a station wagon hatred as I was driven to school in one for years - remember the ugly old ones with vinyl wallpaper like faux wood on the lower half? Yup, my mom drove that thing for most of my childhood. So embarrassing. I prefer Jeeps and SUVs. Nothing ugly about a big gas-guzzling Chevy Tahoe.

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    1. There, done. No ugly car for me. Thanks, Sweet Mermaid.

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    2. Glad you see it my way! How about one of those little Honda SUVs? Honda CRV? Not sure of the name but they are cute but lack a tow hitch. Maybe Lil Bit can drive it when she turns 16. You're ready for that, right? It will happen in a blink.

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  8. Honda and Subaru have the most reliable auto track record visa vi the Consumer Reports Survey.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/buying-advice/who-makes-the-best-cars/overview/index.htm

    Note that the U.S. cars used to be way down on the list, but have been doing much better for some time.

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    1. Thanks for link, Russell. Now were getting somewhere.

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  9. If you want one just because you Want one then by all means get one.

    Folks love 'em around here in the mountains too, although in rare cases a few roads are so steep, that the cars are too lite for the all wheel drive to catch and pull it up the mountain in a heavy snow. You living in a state where "space mountain" is considered the third largest mountain in the state, I don't 'spect you'll have that problem nor the snow problem either for that matter.

    But buying one based on your first reason, you'll never save enough gas money though to pay for it. Then the extra insurance, and tires on it. Even if you save an extra $160 a month (cutting your fuel expense in half and double your gas efficiency) you'll probably still wear that particular car out before you break even money wise.

    We've looked at them and I think even with the smaller engine you'll be lucky to double the mileage there in town verses your truck (If it's a full size truck you have). Plus I like a bigger vehicle to haul kids around in just for safety issues. Setting up higher, with more "vehicle" to surround them.

    Even with my 6.2 liter engine in my truck, I couldn't normally double my gas efficiency with one of those small engines. Maybe if I'm running jack rabbit style around town, I might barely double my efficiency, but I don't drive like that.... I hate making the other traffic look THAT slow...

    Just my thoughts.

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    1. I know, I know. I've done the math. You are correct of course, it's a want, not a need. I'm a cash man and my money is burning a hole in my pocket. I'm sure I'll wake from this dream and common sense will take over and tell me to leave well enough alone. Thanks, Matt. You're a fine friend.

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    2. Matt: Yes that is a good point. The best way to save money is to ride you current vehicle into the ground, followed by careful driving to increase gas mileage.

      I do the first one, but the second one - not so much.

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  10. Be careful with Subby's their warranties are not the best in the world and they don't cover the whole vehicle. I know of a few people sold them after a repair bill came in and they shelled out several thousand to get them repaired. I suspect this is the reason the price is so low. This is the reason why I stay away from VW as well. I have stuck with Toyota over the years and I have never been disappointed once. Plus they have one of the best used car warranties in the business. Your Mileage May Vary.

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    1. Thanks for the information, mmasse, I didn't know that little but important fact. We also own an Integra (hope I spelled that correctly) and it's warranty is great. Again, thank you.

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  11. It does seem cheap, but keep in mind not many people go to a car lot to buy a 12 year old 100k+ mile Subaru. In your area Subaru does not sell well and the market penetration is really low. Who needs an all wheel drive in Florida.
    This kills the resale value so it doesn't mean the car is bad, it just means it's hell to sell that kind of product there.
    Here in Colorado I could get about 8-9500 for that vehicle.

    I've worked for Subaru for the last 15 years. Feel free to drop me an email about anything you are looking at. If I don't know enough about it I'll ask a few Subaru tech's what they think. I promise to be unbiased (don't own one myself) and can run warranty history, carfax, recall info, etc. if that's the route you decide on. blackisis01 at mac dot com

    In case it's helpful. I wouldn't be afraid of the price if it checks out ok and the background is ok.

    Keep in mind, as Matt said, how much fuel can you buy with that same kind of money and how long will it take to actually save money.

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    1. Very valid points. Thank you for the offer of assistance too. Very nice of you. I still haven't made a decision either way. I'll look at the car tomorrow and then, after my son checks it out, either shut it down or jump. Not sure....
      Again, thanks, my good friend.

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  12. They are very popular in New England. Very good traction, and that's important. My daughter had a couple. Well built cars. I'd say drive it and see how it feels for you.

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    1. I shall, thanks Sixbears. Don't know why I just like the looks of the little suckers. Guess I also want to save the mileage and wear and tear on my truck.

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  13. I just want a car...period. 3 years without.:(

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    1. Rob, I understand 'the ruler' has a program...call and ask. Thanks, Bubba.

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  14. Their the bees knees....I love that!

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    1. Well thank you, Pretty Girl. It's a very old 'saying,' as they say....

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  15. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)May 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Best 4X I EVER owned was my Bronco - kept it for 13 years until it fell apart - to bad they don't make them anymore.
    Then I had a Chevy Blazer - a total piece of garbage. Now I have my Jeep Cherokee - love it! I've had it for 12 years now and it has always made it home through snow storms, hurricanes and floods. The new ones are just rust buckets. My cousin has a Subaru and loves it. She lives in the suburbs, so I don't know if it would be any good in the country.
    Have it checked out, put it through a good workout and if you like it - buy it! Good luck!

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    1. I might just throw caution to wind and buy the little sucker...thanks, Sweet Phyllis.

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  16. Okay,I just have to throw in my two cents. I like the looks of them but would never own one. Here in Oregon if you drive a Subaru you are a tree huggin' liberal. Wouldn't be caught dead in one :)

    Blessings,
    Red

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    1. Ah, come on, Sweet Lady, I know you want one. With the proper 'Free men do not ask permission to bear arms' sticker I believe the general public will get the message. Thanks, Dear Red.

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    2. That's why you add your own "bumper stickers" to it, with luck the shock at seeing heresy of a NRA or Tea Party bumper sticker on a Subaru will cause said tree hugging liberal to "shuffle off this mortal coil".

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  17. My sister is on her third Outback, and don't think she will consider another vehicle ever again. My best man is on his second. They are love it or hate it styling wise. Mechanically, they have a good reputation. The boxer engine turns out pretty good performance and gas mileage for the size engine. I'd say go for it.

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    1. I'll check it out tomorrow and if it passes a carfax, and my son's inspection I might just lay down some cash. Thanks, Shepherd, positive feedback helps.

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  18. I have a 2011 Outback, for all the reasons you listed. I can fit the gun cases and range boxes in it and still carry 4 people, and I'll get around 30 MPG doing it. Almost 9" of ground clearance mean that curbs and "speed bumps" are no longer a big concern. The 2.2 has plenty of power; last year's trip in the WV mountains proved that to me. I got an upper-endy one; it's got every creature comfort known to man and a kicking stereo to boot. Everyone I ever know who's had one loved the thing.

    Bad thing is that most people who buy them are "green", and you get tagged as being "one of them". The cognitive dissonance when they see the NRA Endowment Member sticker on the rear window is like a Mastercard commercial--priceless. :-)

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    1. Well said, my friend. I have the same kind of stickers...I think the car is kickass. Thank you very much...

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  19. My mother had a couple of Subaru wagons and loved them. AWD is a pretty impressive system, I recall when driving it there seemed to be far less "hesitation" when you had to steer sharply. Do be aware that while they are durable when something finally breaks the parts do cost more.

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    1. Odysseus, thanks. Good point on the parts. Thank goodness I've a son employed by Acura and he orders parts at cost with a discount. Thanks, good to hear from you.

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  20. Stephen, the best (smartest) thing you could do before you 'pull the trigger' on this purchase is to go to: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/index.htm and see what they have to say - it's saved my butt a few times over the years - the car could be great except for a crappy electrical system (for example) - Consumer Reports is all about which one is statistically best - I'm all about about statistics, which is why I wear a seat belt, carry a gun (or two), a knife, flashlight, etc. Hope this helps.

    HankH

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    1. Hank, thank you very much for the link, and trust me, I shall read. You and I think much alike on statistics. I even carry two weapons in my truck and will do the same in my Subaru - if I buy it. Thanks, and please, hang around.

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  21. I have a Baja, which is the pickup version of the Outback in your picture. I have a "Coexist" sticker made of gun company logos on it, along with a Gadsden flag and a USCCA sticker. All on the windows, nothing on the paint. I wanted one as soon as I saw them, in Baja Yellow of course, and now I have it.

    It's been a good little rig, I bought it for 10K a couple of years ago and have put almost 35K on it. The only problem I've had with it was when the idle air control valve went out on it ($45 for my Pontiac), the parts store guy quoted over $300 for it and didn't even offer me a drink first. Ebay Motors fixed me right up.

    Two things about the pancake 4 (think water cooled VW motor), they have a problem with head gaskets leaking water (there's an additive that Subaru sells for the cooling system to prevent this) and they will develop piston slap. Nothing to worry about, it just makes noise when cold.

    It sure was a good companion in the slick stuff this winter when I went to the folk's house (in Iowa) for Christmas.

    There's this, as well. I went looking for fog lamps for it (neighborhood kids and BB guns) and found exactly 3 Subi's in all of the junkyards in the local area. Two had been wrecked and the third was an early 80's model. Says quite a bit for their reliability right there.

    Kind of wordy, but have a good mechanic check it out for you and then do not fear.

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    1. What a great and informative comment. Thank you, my good friend.

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  22. My stepson's girl friend has an Outback with about 400k on it. It's only given her trouble once, and that was when one of the cam drive sprockets disintegrated. They used a "composite" material to make them, and they do occasionally fail.
    The bad thing is that they're an "interference" type engine, which means if the cams stop turning, leaving the valves open on certain cylinders, the pistons come up and hit the valves.
    Her Dad came down from Colorado and trailered it back to repair it, and it's running fine now.
    I also had a buddy back in College who had one of the early ones who put 500k on it.
    If you take care of them, they'll run for a loooong time.

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    1. Thanks, drjim. I haven't as yet given up on my search. I'm sold on the Subaru.

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  23. Hubby's family bought Subaru station wagons before they became popular and expensive (late 70's early 80's). Hubby and his sister actually walked away from an accident where they rolled one into a farmer's field (icy conditions). Even with his broken glasses hubby could see the farmer hurrying over the fields to get to them with the manure spreader following behind chucking muck faster than you could imagine. If there had been fans in the sky, it would have been hitting them. I digress. They are good vehicles, if you can find one that isn't used up.

    If you want something with more headroom, try a Honda Element. We like ours. The only trouble you might have is getting an element owner to part with theirs so that you can buy it. Ours has a manual transmission, and even with a heavy foot, it gets 22-25mpg.

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    1. Mrs. S., if I'm lucky I get 16 mpg in my truck. Thanks, Sweet lady.

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