Same here. Maybe I will test drive a 2.5L before going straight for a turbo or 3L.
Maintenance is key. We had full confidence in this car's maintenance because we bought it from the dealer who did it.
I also want to say that for our purchase price, Holmgren Subaru in Connecticut did at least $500 in extra maintenance on the car prior to our pickup. They replaced the front *rotors and pads* gratis, giving us basically new front brakes (the rears are in good shape) even though they really didn't have to. While they were at it, they also replaced the front right hand side driveshaft with a brand new OEM unit because evidently while replacing the rotors and pads one of their service technicians found a nick/cut in one of the boots. On top of that they did the fluids, and then they did a meticulous job cleaning it and left it pristine. It's difficult to describe how clean this car was at delivery aside from saying that if I didn't know anything about new model Subarus, I would have said:
"That's a new car."
The entire car was cleaned and prepped so well inside and out that we felt a little uncomfortable even *breathing* on it. I mean -- it was PERFECT. Even all the window edges were clean. No lint, no dust, no fingerprints - anywhere. You get the idea. We actually felt badly getting in the car without taking off our shoes.
And no, they did *not* steam clean the engine compartment which allowed us to see if there were any leak problems, which there aren't. The rear shocks are firm and solid and the car handles well. The 2.5 4-cylinder 4-speed transmission is not an underpowered car, it's just not a fire-breather as a lot of cars have become in the past ten years. I'm sure the 6-cylinder models are even more satisfying and if you can find a good one, God bless. We took a bit of a risk with the 4 and as Captain Kirk once famously said: "May Fortune Favor the Foolish."
They're probably not that foolish. The Turbos have to be a kick. Maybe the next time I get to buy one
There are a lot of automalls out there, lots of second-and-third hand lots, etc., etc. and a lot of private sellers. Some of them are good. Some of them will give you a better deal than you can get at a dealer, but you're playing roulette unless you have the car independently inspected.
If you do some homework you can find a real Subaru dealer who really knows the car and come out happy, which is what we are.
I wanted to purchase it from a dedicated Subaru dealer because I know they really understand the car. Automalls may be nice occasionally, but do they really know anything about the cars they're selling when they have 15 brands on the lot, or do they just clean 'em up and move 'em out? In any case, we're very happy with ours so far, and we know how to maintain it thanks to this forum (or at least we're gaining a solid knowledge base).
Also, I think one of the reasons we got a solid deal was that we told Holmgren right at the beginning: "We're paying the full balance for this vehicle and you're getting a bank check for it. Please make sure this car is in good shape."
I'm not a shill for them but after our experience I recommend Holmgren Subaru in CT without hesitation. We got as close to a new car as you can find with 78K miles and for a good price out the door. It's a safe car with a lot of really nice features. The base 4-cylinder engine is not going to win many drag races, but unless you're hauling *lots* of cargo through the mountains with a trailer, it's powerful enough for the car. If you want to win races or thrill/scare yourself silly, this is not your engine.
I'm looking at a lot of 65-85 MPH cruise control driving with occasionally serious snow and ice and slush and mush duty, and the base engine is more than powerful enough for that. I wanted something that's super safe and stable in the wet and snow. In bad weather you want a nice steady throttle, precise steering, predictable handling dynamics, lots of grip, bombproof structural integrity and *no drama* and this car delivers on those.