R.I.P. My Subaru Forester '01?

Now what?! My dear mother got me this car. Though I had the car a very brief period of time I absolutely loved it! Despite pouring money into it?(other story!). So, I’m trying to find a comparable vehicle?and it’s difficult as our town doesn’t have a Subie dealership. So I’ve been cautioned not to repeat this mistake?no one can really tell me what to do with a Subaru when things go horribly wrong. Also, my fall backs are in trouble: Hondas and Toyotas are in dire straits right now. Would I be crazy to get a Honda or a Toyota? The mechanic I trust is a certified Honda/Toyota mechanic. And he has never gone farther than an oil change when it came to the Subaru. Although he did spot a critical problem with an anti-freeze leak issue early on?that no one else seemed to pay attention to:esp. the “Subaru” mechanic at the local dealership that used to carry Subarus! What to do, what to do! Need a vehicle desperately as I’m riding on a rental and a borrowed sibling’s car. I have never, bought a car by myself either?Help?

You haven’t said a thing about what you actually want out of a car. So its fairly impossible for anyone to say much. You only named some brands. There is no need to fall for the Toyota/Honda “mystique” (which may have been cleared up recently). Many people consider the reputation of Hondas & Toyotas as superior to other brands to be an exaggeration that borders on urban legend. For me, I think there may have been something to it during the '80s. But the mid-90s I think all that was left was urban legend.

It is also the case that the whole notion of the “brand” is nearly a myth. Many cars you’re familiar with were produced by joint ventures of various kinds between major companies. Many of the companies are just design and marketing firms that subcontract out a lot of the other functions. A lot of the companies, for example, get parts from the very same suppliers.

Anyway…you giving brand preference won’t tell anyone anything. What do you need and or want in a car?

as cigroller says, what size/needs do you have for your driving is the first question. generally i go by what consumers reports says about reliability, reliability,reliability. that points mostly to hondas and toyotas. forget about the accelerator thing with toyota, it doesn’t mean a thing for the unaffected models and it’s almost all with very recent ones. if you’re going to buy a car from an individual, always take it to be checked out by an independent mechanic, not the one the guy is friends with. there are diagnostic places who specifically check cars for potential buyers; since you’re paying them, they are checking it out for you, not the seller. i would check out a specific model on the internet if you’ve narrowed it down to something, because you may find a problem with it that the owner or dealer is unaware of or doesn’t care to be aware of. PS gasoline is only going to go up in price, as if we didn’t know that already.

I see your points. And you’re right?what would I like. Well for starters, don’t think that because I’ve come here with vague notions that I haven’t done a bit of homework. I’m all over edmunds at the moment researching spec of various models of autos MUCH LIKE the Forester. So, to put a finer point on it? any one out there have any views on the RAV4 they’d like to share? How about the CRV? Anyone go from a Forester to one of these models. When it comes to the “mystique”?surely you “cigroller” know something about Buyer-loyalty. I don’t go to those brands because it’s like the UNICORN?they do have a track record. And, I’ve a bit of experience with them. Family owned Hondas, and Toyotas have been very reliable. Go with what you know?and usually it won’t bite you in the keister.

Thank you for your Frankenstein analysis?yes I’m aware they’re manufactured with parts here, there and everywhere by hands all over the map. Fine by me. I’d like a car with room, something low-profile-suv-like. I’ve seen that current models of the Forester have gone higher-profile. IE they’re MORE suv, less car. I’ve a kid, two dogs and a 6’3" husband. Does this satisfy your request?

If the mechanic in your town is a Honda/Toyota specialist I think you should seriously consider a Honda or a Toyota. Subarus don’t do well when tended to by someone who doesn’t understand their idiosyncrasies.

“Hondas and Toyotas are in dire straits right now.” I’m aware of Toyota’s current problems, but I don’t know what you mean about Honda.

Both Honda and Toyota have built their reputation on reliability and safety. There’s a good reason so many people buy them. I’ve had both and never had problems with either (something I can’t say about my Subaru).

If you’re shopping for a used vehicle a lot of Toyota’s current problems shouldn’t be an issue. There are LOTS of reliable used vehicles on the market. Look around and keep your options open. If you’re only willing to consider one brand you’ll severely limit your choices.

Hondas got airbag issues? hear it this a.m. on my NPR affiliate? (09,10 models) can google it

Two dogs, 1 husband, 1 kid (plus maybe more in the future) and favorite mechanic is a Honda/Toyota specialist, cries out for a Sienna or Odyssey.

If we ran away from every car company that had problems with cars and had to do recalls we would have no cars to shop for. All you’re hearing is all of the air being let out of the urban legend that Honda & Toyota are superior to all else.

And I’m not saying they’re not good. The point isn’t that Honda and Toyota are just as bad as everything else - its that they’re just as good as many others.

If I were on the market for a new car right now, and had some thing for Hondas & Toyotas - I’d buy a Toyota. First, you hop off the public panic bandwagon. Then you capitalize on it. Given all of the recent ado Toyota is going to have to be offering some very sweet deals to entice people back.

As noted above, I think you want a Sienna. But if you really want the little SUV go get a steal on a RAV4.

On the contrary?I’m wondering how best to capitalize, really. I wonder if anyone has experienced oddly-wonderful deals on newly fixed 2010’s etc.? Sadly even the deals they’re offering won’t do my pocketbook justice?I’ve been looking into later model cars?still on a budget! 13K-16K. Sorry I’m not forthcoming with all info?I’m typing stealth-style at work?

All news reports I’ve read recently point to plummeting value of used Toyotas. Look on the private seller market especially and use your mechanic to help you check cars.

Considering your stated needs, and the desire for a “low profile”, I would take a hard look at the new Ford Flex. It has a ton or room inside and is built more like a station wagon of the past.

I personally do not like "high profile’ vehicles either, and would not buy a Sienna or a Honda Odessey, even though these are very good vehicles. Your husband will like the room inside the Flex.

Run out and get a used RAV4… plenty around, good value, similar in size and function.