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Took Delivery of the '08 2.5i LTD

2280 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  StuntmanMike
We took delivery of the '08 2.5i LTD today and folks, we're stoked. It's a really nice car.

The interior is midsized for us coming out of a Grand Caravan (which we're keeping as a schlepper) but it's well put together and very pleasing to the eye and the touch, and everything works. It's more upscale than the price.

I took the car for a drive this afternoon and leaned on it a little on some wet roads, and I was very impressed with the stability. The low-end torque isn't bad at all, and once you get moving, it really feels planted at all four corners as only someone who has driven 4WD sedans in the past knows. Some of my previous cars were 1st and 2nd Generation Audi Quattros and the Subaru gives me the same feeling: Planted. Unflappable. More grip than it has power, which is what you want in a family car. The steering isn't as direct in terms of feel as an early Audi Quattro but it is precise, and the engine isn't overstressed in the 2.5i configuration. It won't blow your skirt up but neither will it leave your pants down, so to speak ;). The turbos have to be a lot of fun!

The outward visibility through the rear 3/4ths is great compared to a lot of other cars and of course you know that I'm beaming because I just bought it but...even tamping down my expectations, I just really like it.

It feels solid, really connected to the ground and I'm glad I drove it first on a wet, curvy road, because it was "totally no drama" even at speeds well above the posted limits. It telegraphs its limits well, and they're pretty high in less than optimal conditions: it's a wagon but you can clip apexes with it and power out of them in the wet with no doubts at all. You can tell the instant you drive it in wet weather that it's going to be a great snow car. I was impressed with the wet-road handling -- and I wasn't babying it.

The verdict was that it's a fun, safe car with the emphasis on safe but with enough fun mixed in there that it's not bland. You can feel that in its bones. The first question I ask when driving a car and putting some strain on it is: "Does it feel faster or slower than you're actually going?" and this car is definitely the latter. That's what you want.

We're very satisfied so far. Our dealer (Holmgren Subaru in CT) went the extra mile to really do the prep work on it (it was also dealer-maintained) and I think that speaks for a lot of the satisfaction. I'm glad we decided to buy a dealer car, even though we had other choices. With 78k miles on it, what we received is as close to a new car as I've ever seen. It is/was immaculate inside and out and everything works perfectly, and Holmgren gets a big thumbs up from us.

Was I a little worried? Oh yeah. First Subaru, 78k miles, sure I was a little worried, and we paid *in full*. I dickered a little on the offer price but once we settled on it we paid the full balance immediately. My recommendation is to find a good dealer, negotiate a good price and go with it.

IMHO this car is worth at least as much as its resale value + 10%.

Lots of fun and very happy so far, like one of those rides you'd recommend to anyone. :)
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Keep an eye on the rear suspension... once the rear shocks go bad the Mr. Hyde comes out of this car and he's no fun. The OEM replacement is fine, but switching to the 2004 model struts will make it better-than-stock.

Also mind your tires- they make or break any Subaru when it gets slippery.
"Roger" and thanks for the tip!

My earlier Audis were like that also, so I feel right at home. The AWD is a real asset in terms of control - but only if the rest of the suspension and its interface with the ground are working like they're supposed to.
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.
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Sounds like a great dealer! I'm in RI, I'll have to take a look at thier website and see what they have, they may be worth the drive.

Our opinions on the interior seem to differ quite a bit though! Which actually surprises me a bit, as you're coming out of a Grand Caravan. The Subaru has got to feel tiny in comparison!

Maybe the fact that it's an LTD makes all the difference in the interior.
It is smaller than the Grand Caravan particularly in the back seat. The front seat room is cozier but there are no complaints - it's a station wagon, not a minivan. The back seat would be cramp-y if we had children around the house or more often had them occupied, but we don't. From what I've read, Subaru addressed that problem pretty well with the 4th gen. cars. It wasn't that big a concern for us because we very rarely have a back seat passenger now.

We'll probably wind up folding down the back seats more often than someone will actually ride in them, so it wasn't that big a deal for us. We did think about it though -- and decided it wasn't a make-or-break issue. The easy and accessible hatch cargo room is what we need about 95% of the time, I'd say 4% of the time we'll have to fold down the back seats, and we will have an actual passenger back there maybe 1% of the time or less.

We very rarely used the 3rd row seat on the Grand Caravan. It was the least-used space in the car, more a vestigial organ than anything else. That's just us - YMMV, as it were.

So when we looked the interior over and sat in it, what mattered most was the front seat ergonomics and the easy and capacious storage with the rear hatch. The lady of the household was just taken with the Limited interior with the heated leather seats and so that in itself altered the equation. Having something you really like does matter.

For the infrequent times we need it with a larger-than-average-sized passenger, the back seat is adequate and the front seat passenger will pull their seat forward a couple of inches. Seriously, we have a passenger back there maybe once a month for 10-20 minutes at a time. If your passengers are different then by all means, look at that with a careful eye.

Also, we are keeping the Grand Caravan as a "schlep/haul" utility vehicle. At more than 250 thousand miles it's not worth much in resale (and honestly I wouldn't want to sell it to someone) but it's still running well and the insurance is low enough where we live for that to make sense. We're hoping to get 300 thousand miles out of it before it falls apart like the Blues Brothers, and those last 50k miles are going to be used to spare the Outback the trouble. Basically we're going to run it until it stops working and then let the boneyard vultures pick it over. It's been a good car: I have nothing really bad to say about Dodge Grand Caravans except:

1) The front power window regulators are pure diarrhea and it would be better to offer the car with hand crank windows rather than subject customers to that kind of garbage on a regular basis.
2) The front brakes wear out too quickly because they are responsible for too much of the minivan's braking force for their size. They should be larger by 20-25% and the chassis dynamics should be altered to divvy up more of the brake balance to the rear end.
3) The front antisway bar bushings have to be some kind of an engineering joke that some drunk engineer designed for the car one bitter night. If you wanted the swaybar to bang into the chassis after 10,000 miles and let it clunk around over bumps you couldn't have designed them better. It doesn't do any damage and it doesn't really alter the car's dynamics but it's noisier than a prison rodeo goat rope. We've replaced them 4 times and the last time they lasted about 10,000 miles before the cacophany started back up. It's not dangerous but it's annoying and dumb.

Having said all that, the car still starts on the 1st or 2nd crank and the air conditioning still works without any kind of servicing. The basic drivetrain and the rest of the vehicle held up well under heavy use/occasional abuse, as long as we did the maintenance. It's just that we needed something different. The front driver's seat foam is crushed and falling apart, but the electric motors still work. Not bad, overall. It's put up with a lot.

The '08 Outback slots in there between the Intrepid and the Grand Caravan perfectly for us and does things neither of them can do. Both of those cars have been stuck and/or slid around precariously during the winter and we really wanted a car that is more capable during those months of the year.
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Sounds like a great dealer! I'm in RI, I'll have to take a look at thier website and see what they have, they may be worth the drive.
If you make the trip to Holmgren, talk with Manny Filindarakis or Evert Dahlquist, Jr. I can't promise you the moon and wouldn't try, but they treated us well and we were glad to have bought the car from them. We looked at a lot of cars before we chose the 2.5i from them.
Thanks for the info!

You're right about the passenger space. The truth of the matter is that 90% of the time I'm in the car alone. I mostly drive back and forth to work or around town, not too many times with someone else. The rear would rarely be used for people, and like you, my back seat's default position would probably be folded down, unless the rare need for back seat passenger space arose.

It's more the principle of the thing with me.
Yeah, you have to look at it carefully and principles are good things to have. When we actually saw the car in "in the flesh" that back seat room was a little disappointing but then we thought about it for a while and realized it wasn't a major hangup, at least for us. We'd have liked a little more rear seat legroom, but we realized we very rarely use it.

Everyone's requirements are different, that's what makes having choices important. :)

I will say that today we made the first grocery trip combined with an actual business delivery and the rear storage space -- without the seats folded down -- swallowed it all with no problem. Eight bags of groceries and about 200 pounds of business cargo and it was a snap, and we could have done it in the snow. :cool:

Our occasional backseat passenger is just going to have to deal a little. He's about 6 feet tall and he'll fit just fine if we pull the front passenger seat up a little.
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