I'm brand new to this forum, but not new to forums in general, having been a part of the Mazdaspeed community and then also was active on a Ford Edge forum.
We sold our 2013 Ford Edge Sport in October and my wife and I have been sharing "her" 2021 Mazda CX-5. We sold the Edge (which I primarily drove) to eliminate a car payment - and I also kind of wanted to get back into a manual (though she was slightly opposed). Initially, I had hoped to find a Mazdaspeed6, Legacy GT or WRX with the cash left over from the sale of the Edge. This seemed feasible with a budget of ~$9k. However, I've been unable to find any of those - with low(ish) miles, stock and in good working order - near me (N. Idaho). I was close to buying a Speed6 in Seattle but the seller was flaky.
She's preparing to return to work full-time, so we're coming up to crunch-time to find a 2nd car. Around the New Year, my wife proposed that we look at a Forester and I can just drive the CX-5. At first I was opposed to this - we bought the non-turbo Carbon Edition because
it was going to be primarily for her and she felt the turbo was unnecessary. I don't mind the CX-5, but it's not what I would have purchased if I knew I'd be the primary driver. That's a lot of back story as to how we got here . . .
After looking for Foresters nearby, she also started to consider the Outback. We actually test drove two 2013 Outbacks (both 2.5i Limited) this weekend at a lot that specializes in salvage titles. We had no intention to buy either, but I wanted her to drive one before she sent me off to wherever (Seattle, Portland, Boise, Salt Lake City). The first one we drove was awful (and it actually had a clean title). Rough ride, engine felt awful and it hesitated and nearly felt like it was going to die at most stops. We told the dealer and asked if there was another we could drive to compare. The second one was much smoother and had the upgraded head-unit w/Nav - and the oil light came on during the drive. She's now deep dived into finding an Outback, scouring everywhere within ~750 miles.
My wife will be using this car to drive to and from work (about 10-15 minutes each way), for errands around town with our (2) younger girls (8 and 5), and occasionally to take the girls and our dogs (3.5 year old golden retriever and a husky puppy) on hikes (again, probably no more than an hour travel time except on rare occasions).
- From what I have gathered so far, any Outback with the 2.5 before the 2013 models has a timing belt and likely should have been replaced by now? (the ones in our budget are going to have 120k miles or more)
- That doesn't apply to the 3.6 as it has a timing chain, correct?
- Head gaskets were a common issue but that was apparently resolved beginning in 2010?
- Anything else that jumps out?
- Is the 3rd gen big enough for 4 adults and 2 dogs to comfortable take a 30-60 minute trip? The 4th gen looks / feels bigger, but I've never driven the 3rd Gen (the closest thing would have been an '05 Legacy GT).
- Would a low mileage 3rd gen be better than a 4th gen with high mileage (assuming price points are similar and timing belts have been replaced)?
She's found a 2008 Limited in Portland with only 126k miles and a clean title that she and her dad think we should pursue. There are other 4th gens locally that have 150k-170k miles that are within our price range. For the pre-2013 ones we're asking if the timing belt / water pump / head gaskets (where applicable) have been replaced.