After spending a month or so looking around at used cars in my area, I’ve settled on a few that I’m interested in. One is a 1-owner 2008 Subaru Forester with 119k miles, new timing belt, new brakes, and a 1 year warrantee that covers all major repairs (including head gaskets). It’s just under $10G’s. It’s fun to drive, loaded with all the amenities, and is even a color that I like. All of this is of course good.
The only thing about this one is that I’ve become a bit nervous about Subaru’s in general after spending some time reading this forum, other Subaru specific forums, and owner reviews on sites like kbb and edmunds. The head gasket issues seem to be unpredictable and capricious. I see a lot of horror stories about these cars and it leaves me wondering whether or not it’s really a wise move when what I’m ultimately seeking is reliability.
Another ride I’m interested in is a 2010 Ford Ranger with 90k miles, base model with less moving parts to potentially break. I have no problems with keeping on top of the proper maintenance for either car, but it seems as though the Ranger may be a safer bet and less expensive to maintain. I don’t need a truck per se, but I do like the old school compact truck style. Either car will mainly be used for just getting around town in an area with little snow (Atlanta GA) and occasionally going up to the mountains of North GA/North Carolina where we will encounter some unpaved forest access roads in the mountains to get to trailheads for hiking.
What do you guys think?