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Buy a Subaru?

I have a 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager with 403,000 miles on it. Engine runs great (ok I have a leaky gasket, back end issues, and a dash that periodically “turns off”) but otherwise it runs great and the body is in ok shape. I know I need to replace it but with what? I want a high profile, AWD/4WD, with amply storage space (like a medium SUV). It cannot be a truck. So I was thinking about the Subaru Forester… but am worried the repair costs will be quite high as there are no after-market parts. What are your thoughts?

@rachapman Subarus are quite expensive to maintain, due to the engine layout and the fact that they’re AWD.

Dear db4690 - so repairs would be twice what I would pay now for my Plymouth? Or would it be three times more??? Thanks!

@rachapman significantly more. The parts will be more expensive. And if you take it to a dealer you’re going to get hit hard. Import car dealers usually have a higher hourly labor rate than domestic car dealers. And you’ll get charge more hours to do repairs, because the car’s fairly complicated to work on.
So, I would say you’ll probably pay AT LEAST twice as much to maintain it versus the Plymouth.

Congradulations for getting that many miles out of a Plymouth Voyager. I agree with others that keeping a Subaru in good running condition will cost a lot more than the Voyager.

If you still want the versatility of a minivan, you could look at a Mazda CX-5, a sturdy vehicle that will last a long time. Another durable hatchback is the Toyota Matrix, based on the Corolla platform.

Getting over 400,000 miles out of Subaru without extensive repairs is nigh impossible.

Subaras are very nice but not cheap to maintain. The boxer layout makes even simple jobs like changing plugs a nightmare. Count on at least twice the maintenance costs especially considering the sort of mileage you rack up.


thanks to all of you… I just looked at the Mazada and Toyota… very nice… i will test drive them! Robin

I like subarus and don’t think they are difficult to maintain. Not sure where you guys are coming from there…
You will not get the greatest of mileage with a subie, though. The backseat area is okay but not ‘roomy’ by anyone’s definition.

"I like subarus and don’t think they are difficult to maintain. Not sure where you guys are coming from there…
I agree @RemcoW
It’s like anything with awd is all of a sudden much more expensive to maintain…hardly. The Subaru is a classic RWD set up with an added simple center differential case inline directing power to the front wheels. That’s it ! That’s what all the fear is about. I had a bought new, 96 Subaru for 8 years and 120K miles. It ran like new when I sold it and I had one non maintenance repair job. A seal that was changed with the timing belt. Original, battery, brakes and second set of tires.

Another possibility is a Chevy Equinox with AWD. It is reliable and parts/labor are not expensive. I doubt that a Matrix will have nearly enough room for you (look to make sure). You should look at the Rav4 or Highlander if you want to consider a Toyota.

Add me to the list of those who think they’re not that hard or expensive to maintain. We recently replaced a Passat wagon with a 2008 Outback, and the Outback is significantly easier to work on. Things are easy to get at (including spark plugs, though not as easy as my Camry) and most things seem to be easily accessible for DIY servicing.

If you do decide on a Forester I suggest you get one from '03 or later since they were built better than previous years. You can’t beat they way they feel and drive in the snow.

I don’t know about Subaru parts, but most car repairs I have dealt with, get more pricy due to the labor involved. I do most myself, so I never put too much thought in the repair expenses. Seem you have had good luck with the Mopar product. I have a 2000 Caravan and now at 150K miles and it has seen quite a few new parts. Why not another used Dodge Caravan? They do depreciate a lot and you should be more familiar with the ins and outs. Is the AWD a must or you can get by with snow tires?

If awd is a must, then a Forester’s a good choice. If you can live without the awd, then the new CX-5, Rav4, and CRV would be worth a look.

Buying new or used?
If you buy new, you shouldn’t have to worry about buying parts for it for a while. If used, it’s all about how well the previous owner took care of it

For those of you who do care, Consumer Reports say that Subaru has replaced Honda as their top rated overall car manufacturer. This is based upon their test results of all models and overall reliability.
IMHO, based on this alone, Subaru deserves a “try out” before you buy.

@dagosa Most reports by owners are recent, and indeed, Subarus are great for 5 years or so. If you want a car that will give good economical service for a very long time, I would not pick a Subaru. The inevitable repairs will be expensive.

Honda and Toyota have lived on their reputation for too long; they’ve become almost stagnant. Toyota got rid of the Celica and MR2, Honda got rid of the CRX and S2000 and both offer virtually no “fun” cars. The Civic Si and Toyotabaru BRZ(?) are about the only thing they have to offer, and those are beaten out by other makes now.