2003 Audi Allroad or new car?


My well-used 2001 Subaru Outback went into the shop today w/a burnt-out catalytic converter and I’m thinking its time to get something a bit bigger/better. My hubby has a leased 2003 Audi Allroad with 60k miles, and I’m wondering whether it would be better to buy out his lease or to spring for a new car. I’m looking at the 2008 Highlanders, Siennas and Subarus. Here’s what I need/want:

* 4WD or AWD for snowy mtn passes.

* room for 4+ including bike equipment, ski equipment, and all the various personal effects of a family not accustomed to traveling lightly.

* “Car-like” handling. I’m a good driver, but a lousy park-er. Neeed something w/a smaller turning radius, not a truck or giant SUV.

* Better than average fuel economy (at least 20 mpg+).

* Unparalleled safety features.

* Good power and acceleration and all that.

* Less than $35k

* Great quality and workmanship.

Any suggestions?


Replace the catalytic converter and keep the Subie.


I concur, fix the Subie given your needs.

First I see no specific reason not to keep what you have, but I suspect you want a change. 

If you really want a change, then start down that path of shopping.  Don't let a salesman get you to sign anything, put any money down or do anything other than a test drive.  Just keep telling them that if you really like the car you will consider them, but you will not be bullied into anything else and stick to it. 

There are a number of possible cars so test them all.

Note: I did see one bad five letter word in your original message.  Don't go the L-E-A-S-E thing.  It is just a way to complicate your live and get your money.  They tend to be really bad ideas for any situation except a business where the car is a business expense and then it is questionable.


If I were in your position I’d keep the 2001 Subaru a while longer.

If you simply MUST have something else, a Highlander or Sienna would be fine. A new Outback is basically the same as you have now, so it’s not “bigger/better.”

Your hubby’s Audi should be allowed to go to someone else when the lease is up. You don’t want the maintenance/repair bills on that car, and they will start soon.


A new outback/legacy is not bigger however significantly better starting in 2005 vs any prior . The interior is upgraded to Audi like quality and nearing feel. Also the interior noise levels are quelled and ride much better(not that it was ever that bad).


I agree that fixing the old car is normally less expensive then replacing it. I also agree that leasing is a horrible idea. I would consider buying out the audi instead of leasing/buying a new car when the lease is up, regardless of what you do with the subaru. You have already paid for the most expensive part of the audi, if you like it there is no reason not to keep it for at least another 100K miles.

You do need to decide what kind of car you really want, a small SUV, a AWD wagon, or the dreaded minivan. Drive a few of each and narrow down your choices.

If/when you do buy another car, I would look at late model used cars instead of new, they are a much better deal and you can get a lot more car for $35K. At that price, you will have plenty of choices, so shop around and decide what you really want. Just for fun, try test driving a late model E320 4-matic wagon, you can probably find a pretty nice one for $35K (probably less).