Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New England
Car: 2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Don't worry too much about the gas mileage between the H4 and H6.
The gas mileage on my H6 tends to be within about 1-2 MPG of my mom's 2001 H4 sedan or our other two '98 H4s (Outback Limited and Legacy GT Wagons), maybe 3 MPG different on pure highway at the absolute most. In the colder months, the difference is even smaller. I'd say the average difference is about 1.5 MPG.
Timing belt on the H4 is due every 105k, serpentine belts for both engines (H4 has two, H6 has one that drives everything) are due every 60k, but they're not as critical since they obviously won't trash the engine if they snap, but they're so simple and cheap to change it's crazy to run old ones.
I really like the H6 over the H4, not just for power, but the butter-smooth engine makes it feel like a much nicer car. Also, no HG woes on the H6 if you're looking at a 2nd gen. They're tougher to find, though!
Also worth mentioning that they did make plenty of limited H4 cars. My mom's '01 Outback sedan is a limited and I think the only option it's missing that my LL Bean has is the auto-dimming rear view mirror, and of course it has just the one sunroof.
For that amount, I think you should be able to find a very solid '03 or '04 H6 (or H4 if you're inclined to go that way) without a problem. I paid $7300 for my '04 LL Bean with 107k on the clock almost a year and a half ago.
RIP Outback: 2008 3.0R LL Bean "Senior Citizen Gold" 99,150 miles
My Current Vehicle:
2011 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Long Bed TRD Sport 4x4
Immediate Family Has (and I work on):
2004 Outback Base 5MT Wagon
2001 Outback Limited H4 Sedan
1998 Legacy GT Wagon (Auto)