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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Subies,

13 years and 192,000 miles with my '99 Forester S, and it's needing about $4500 in repairs including oil/coolant leak, power steering problem, and transmission issue.

So I'm thinking it's time to trade the old beast in for a shiny new Outback '13. I live in the Northeast and I definitely want the cold-weather package, the compass/dimmer rear view, and probably the back-up warning, the cargo cover, and maybe the LED puddle lights.

Other than those, what must-have options are there? When I got my S, I got all the options, assuming sooner or later I'd need them. Turns out, I never used the cargo netting and rarely used the fancy barometer, but the thermometer and compass have been handy.

I don't think a navigation system is worth the $1000 when my wife and I already have Android phones with pretty good GPS, and if we really want a standalone GPS we can spend a whole $99 for a new Garmin or Tom-Tom.

I have a young child and safety is important to me; I found the Forester to be extremely durable; it survived a t-bone accident with only minor fendor damage, while the driver who ran the stop sign was totaled. The Subaru EyeSight safety camera might be useful, or it might be an expensive waste of electronics--anyone have experience with this?

Thanks for any tips!
-BP
 

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2011 SSM Outback 2.5i Premium
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What "back-up warning"? The only add-on to assist with backing is the rear-view camera, which is only available with the moonroof.

I have the cargo nets, they come in useful at times. Some also like the rear seatback protectors.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited w/SAP
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Mine has everything under the sun. The Nav is not great but I do enjoy the full size touch screen for the back up camera and audio connectivity. One of the main reasons I bought the 13 was the availability of the Special Appearance package.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just test drove the Outback Premium. It's OK. I think I prefer the way my Forester S handles, and it's definitely quieter. I was a bit surprised about the road noise. The sales guy claims it has to do with the 4 cylinder engine. Anyway--really nice car overall.

Don't know... maybe I should just fix up the Forester and stick with that for a couple more years until something comes along that really impresses me :)
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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I'd say get the 2013 OB - I just ditched 2010 Forester XT (traded in) and I gave my 05 Forester to my son. Rule of thumb (in my vocabulary) if any fixing exceeds $ 3000 I ditch the car!
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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2,182 Posts
I'd say get the 2013 OB - I just ditched 2010 Forester XT (traded in) and I gave my 05 Forester to my son. Rule of thumb (in my vocabulary) if any fixing exceeds $ 3000 I ditch the car!

I agree with jogosub.

I had an 03 OB with 240,000. I should have let it go at 200K. I kept thinking that X repair would be the last expensive repair I would pay - then there would be another, and then my engine went.
You can do this repair - and stretch it out - but if it were me, I would first CONSIDER that money for a down payment and , and if I decided to do the repair - I would then work hard to get myself in a position to buy a new car.
Because the next time there is another expensive repair - and its LIKELY, you dont want to even consider paying that again.
I had the "drive it into the ground, get the most for my money" attitude, and in the end - it cost me more than it should have, and theres NOTHING convenient when your car really starts breaking down.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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Sequoia: I had a smiliar situation with my wife's Saab convertible... I kept replacing and fixing it (including the new rag top) until the pesky engine mounts did it! I've replaced those only to find that I needed various air condition components... we put an ad on Craigs list and the car was sold in one day! That car was replaced by Honda Civic that now has 78K and besides oil and filters I haven't touched it!
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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Sequoia: I had a smiliar situation with my wife's Saab convertible... I kept replacing and fixing it (including the new rag top) until the pesky engine mounts did it! I've replaced those only to find that I needed various air condition components... we put an add and the car was sold in one day! That car was replaced by Honda Civic that now has 78K and besides oil and filters I haven't touched it!
Ive done this with both the only 2 NEW cars Ive bought- drove them as far as I could - both went past 200K (first was a Toyota Tercel).
but BOTH times - in the end - it was REALLY a headache dealing with a car that wasnt reliable, and thinking every pricey repair would be the last pricey repair for a while, then needing to buy cause the car isnt driving and you shouldnt buy a car when you ABSOLUTELY need to - you should do it right before. (obviously - thats hard to determine - so you just have to pick a point to move forward without the push of a broken car.

I hope NEXT time - Ill follow my own advice. ;)
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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good thinking on the factory nav, its horrible to begin with. eyesight is a good idea for subaru, but i hear things about it not working well at night, wait til subaru gets the "bugs" out. if you like the handling of the forester, after all you did say the outback was just ok, get a cheap beater car til the '14 forester is available. i think you'll really like that.
 

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Just test drove the Outback Premium. It's OK. I think I prefer the way my Forester S handles, and it's definitely quieter. I was a bit surprised about the road noise. The sales guy claims it has to do with the 4 cylinder engine. Anyway--really nice car overall.

Don't know... maybe I should just fix up the Forester and stick with that for a couple more years until something comes along that really impresses me :)
You got that right. That is exactly how I feel about my old OB vs the new ones. But still you can't beat Subaru. Hoping they would just bring back a Legacy wagon.
 

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With the 2014 Foresters right around the corner, why not wait a few months and see if you like the redesign? I like my 2013 OB, but it does feel more SUV like than my 2005. I looked at a lot of the small crossovers, and came back to Subaru in the end. My kids have gotten bigger, and the room in the back seat, and legroom in the front is a big plus. I'm not sensitive to the road/engine noise, but my wife did comment that she thinks the car is noisier. As others have mentioned, a better handling Legacy Wagon would probably be more popular this generation and its a shame Subaru no longer offers it here.

As far as options go, the backup camera is really nice, but you need to get the moon roof package to get it. Side nets, rear seat back protectors, cargo tray are nice additions. I'd skip the high end stereo/nav, and go aftermarket if you really need something better than the stock premium unit. I also went with all of the exterior trim options for ding protection... side molding, wheel well arches. bumper cover and bumper trim.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Is AWD that big a deal these days? FWD, stability systems, and braking systems are all getting smarter, so maybe the differentiation of all wheel drive is just no longer so compelling.

My problem is, for $27K or $28K I need to really be in love with the vehicle I'm buying, and unfortunately the Outback did not seduce me.

In 1999, the Forester S with all the option packages was a premium vehicle for $23K, equivalent I suppose to a $30K loaded Forester in 2013. I don't want to spend that much, though.

Recently I drove a newish Honda Civic around the big island of Hawaii and I was very impressed. Nice handling, quiet, great fuel efficiency, spacious, well designed console. Of course, in Hawaii, you don't need to worry too much about snow and ice....

So for an extra ten grand, the Outback offers an extra 10-20 cu ft of cargo capacity, but the Civic does have 60/40 folding rear seats, and frankly I found it to be a more pleasant vehicle to drive. I'm not much of a car aficionado; I just want something reliable and practical and, paramountly, safe for myself and my family.

I guess I'll look at recent model used Foresters which are in the $16-$18K category and see if that "feels right" since the Outback isn't quite there yet. And I'm going to test drive a Civic and a Corolla, too.
 
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