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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at purchasing an Outback and pondering the decision of what years to look at. I can get a high mileage (150k) Gen 4 for the same price as a moderate mileage (70-100k) Gen 3. I've owned Subaru's and presently own but new to following the Outback. I'm looking for manual transmission cars only and I'm not interested in getting an XT or anything. Is there any key differences between a Gen 3 and a Gen 4 to consider? What would you buy? Curious to read all you responses!
 

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They are totally different vehicles. Drive both, get what you prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Unfortunately I don't have any near me to test drive. What's so different? How would you describe the driving difference between a 2008 and 2012?
 

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Everything. Everything is different. A gen 3 is a wagon. A gen 4 is a cross over.
 

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From a practical sense, G4 is significantly taller and handles as such. Interior is a little more spacious on the G4, but again, it's bigger. G3 was the last of the REALLY COOL LOOKING Outback models, in my opinion; the shape was second to none.


If you can't test 'em both, I'd personally recommend the G3. I'd also recommend the H6, but I don't think that was ever paired with a manual.
 

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I really group all Outbacks into two groups.

Gen 1/2/3

Gen 4/5/6

Do you want a little wagon or a larger crossover? How do you feel about a CVT?

4 speed auto or 5 speed? Manual transmission?

Weird roof racks? Stay away from 4/5/6

Not sure about what's easier to personally maintain. I would guess the 3's. But maybe there's more room in the engine bay in the 4?

A well taken care-of Gen 3 with more miles is probably a better buy than a neglected lower-mileage Gen 4. But I think this is true for all cars.
 

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Brucey is a Tool of the Devil !
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2010-12 EJ253 manual is probably the best of the big bodies to be had used.
(last of the EJ253 made with good head gaskets, ...possibly avoiding any 2010 due to fit/ finish issues for it being the first of its type)

if you want slightly stiffer suspension: swap on 2013-14 outback struts. and better feel from @traildogck 's own CKESSP items.

earlier is smaller if you want smaller. (like less rear leg room) you can look up dimensions on cars101.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great info. I do really like the styling of the G3's. I almost have the rear seats down and use for utility and our dog. Looking at the G3/4 I guess I didn't realize the size difference. I am not interested in getting a AT or CVT. There's an impeccably maintained single owner 2012 with 180k within the state (4.5hrs away) I was looking at online and a two owner 2008 with 140k out of state (5.5hrs away) that is really sharp. A lot of vehicles I have found within my 500 mile radius has 3 owners and sub-par maintenance history. With all the research these two vehicles seem like great deals with good records. So without me being able to easily drive them both and see/feel the differences I figured I would pick some brains to see what others people thoughts are on the vehicle differences and what they would choose.
 
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