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Need to buy a new (for me) car .... thinking about a Subaru Impreza

Friday night at 3AM andrunk driver pretty much totaled (or it looks like it) my 2004 Mazda 3 with 92,000 miles on it. The good news is that I was sleeping and no one was injured.

I like the Mazda and other than a few nits (what car doesn’t have them) was planning on getting at least 150,000 miles out of good old Mia. Clearly not to be.

I’m aware that it to keep a car for more than 20,000 it requires regular maintenance and down the road brakes, tune ups etc. I have no problem with that.

I have previously owned two Subaru’s which I loved. The first was a 1978 two door which had one issue with tie rod ends and other than that I only had to replace by clutch wire at 75,000. I unfortunately grew up in Suburban Detroit and thought you couldn’t drive a car for more than 75 - 80,000 miles so I replaced the car with a 1984 Honda Accord which burned through clutches like there was no tomorrow (3 in 60,000 miles).

Several cars later I bought a 1998 Subaru Outback. I loved that car to death … and drove her to 150,000 miles. While I could have gotten more miles it was all good, the car owed me nothing and we saw a good part of the US together.

I share the car with my 19 year old when she’s home from school, she is short (4’10") so an or a “big” car is not an option. My daughter loved the Mazda and was some day hoping to have it be hers.

I drive a lot, especially up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin as I cross country ski and I do miss AWD. My budget is ~$15,000 and I would like a car <=30,000. I plan on driving it into the ground. If I don’t my daughter will get the honors.

I have done some arm chair shopping and have seen a few cars in my price range. I don’t mind a smaller car but am not interested in a tiny car that feels like I’m driving tin.

While I would love another Outback it is out of my price range (getting old sucks…you get so practical…so practical in fact, I demand automatic transmission).

I have found some 2008 Subaru Impreza’s in my price range. So the question is from a practical point of view, should I just get the car that I know I love and be done with it?

Many thanks,

PS I think I know the answer but it helps to ask.

With any AWD car, if the previous owner(s) failed to rotate the tires on a consistent basis, or if they replaced only 1, or 2, or 3 tires, instead of all 4, or if they drove for an extended period of time on the temporal spare tire, the next owner inevitably winds up with expensive repairs to the AWD mechanism.

So, even though I always stress that one should only buy a used car that comes with full maintenance records, and that a car be vetted by a mechanic of your own choosing prior to purchase, neither of these safeguards would reveal if the AWD mechanism was abused by neglect on the part of the previous owner(s).

Even though I have bought three (new) Subarus, and have had extraordinarily good experience with them, I would hesitate to buy a used Subie. I maintain my cars meticulously, and adhere very carefully to tire provisos, but I am not necessarily typical of most car owners. Subarus do not take well to lax maintence or failure to adhere to the mfr’s tire protocols, and you could wind up with a headache as a result.

The engines and drive trains in Subarus are all the same (except for the VDC), whether you buy a Legacy, an Outback, or an Impreza, so the reliability is the same, too.

Having said that, buying a used Subaru can be a gamble (I found out the hard way), depending on how the car was maintained by its original owner. VDCdriver listed some of the concerns, so I won’t repeat his advice, but it’s advice that should be headed.

The Impreza you’re looking at is larger than the former model, and might be close to the size of your 1998 Outback. Maybe.

If you need a good AWD system, there aren’t many better than Subaru’s. As long as you make sure you buy a good one you should have no problems.

Go for it!

Thank you both for your comments … I don’t need a headache and I know a new Subaru is probably out of the question.

What about a Mazda Tribute? What about a Mazda5 touring? Would it really matter if I’m planning on driving a car until it drives no longer if the car had say 50 - 55K miles?

Thank you again!

Don’t worry…if you shop for a car through a dealer and look for a well maintained model, you can get a reliable used awd car. We did with a RAV and other 4wds for years, you can with a Subaru. Don’t be afraid anymore than any other car; just ask the right questions and buy your Impreza

Tribute? That’s a whole different animal.

Mazda5? Sure, if that’s what you like, but it won’t have AWD, like the Impreza.

You need to decide what you want.

You’re all over that map.

McParadise, Yes I am all over that map., I wasn’t planning on buying a car this week however, because of the stupidity of one person driving and drinking I have to get a new car. So I’m trying to figure it out.

Dagosa thank you … you’re right, as long as I ask the right questions, I’ll be fine.

Have you considered a Ford Escape or Mercury Mariner? They are essentially identical to the Tribute. If you would be happy with a Tribute, you can at least triple the options in a used car by looking at all three brands.

I actually thought about the newer Subaru Impreza, but when I went to try it out, I changed my mind - it has the most uncomfortable seats I have ever tried - at least for me. They felt like economy class seats in an airplane. Maybe you will have a different experience.

I agree with the others about the used Subaru. If you do go for that, pick one that had a single owner and has all the maintenance records. (Like mine, but no, I think I’m keeping it.)