Subaru Alternatives



My car was totalled and we’re now looking for a replacement.

The ideal car would be an AWD Subaru Outback. Our bank account is screams Ford Taurus.

Are there any reasonable alternatives to the AWD Subaru.

Budget: $3500 (willing to go to 4K, but would prefer not to)

Must have:

- AWD (we live around some challenging terrain)

- Wagon (yeah, we have a little one)

- No older than 1998

- Mileage not much above 120K

Does such a Vehicle exist?

Does such a car exist.


No such vehicle exists other than a Subaru that has meaningful AWD and which is reliable enough to make that 120k and 1998 limit mean anything.

In some markets a late-90s Subaru would be around your price with that mileage. But that is not the case in the markets for which they were really designed.


Thanks. I thought as much. It seems like the Audi has the same quality AWD system as the Subaru.

I live in an area where winter driving often means driving in hilly areas (I live in the Catskill region of NY); we also often end up in Vermont.

Looks like I’ll have to take on some extra work, to pay for the quality. Good Enough.

Thanks for the reply.


Unless you have lived with the car are comfortable with it’s maintenance, there is no car I can think of that I would recommend in AWD for that money other than a Subaru. You’re absolutely right…other than a Subaru of similar year, $4K screams Taurus for bang for the buck. The only other thing I would consider in 4wd for that money would be a used compact truck with simpler running gear, I hear you about terrain. Needing AWD/4wd is like real estate… it’s all about location,location,location and only you can decide when it’s needed for your safety.
I would not consider an AWD Audi for any reason used, especially for $4K.


They are about the only thing that is comparable across the whole range in all conditions (Suzuki, Volvo, and Saab have credible alternatives, too, but mostly not in your price range), but AWD audis in your price range are from about the same years as the Subarus you can afford, and those years (90s) were about the worst for Audi. Combine that with a tendency to over-engineer things and make repairs difficult and expensive, and you’ve got a car you really shouldn’t be buying used unless you know what you’re doing.

You could just try doing some of your own maintenance to make up the difference. Subarus aren’t all that bad, except when you need to get at the heads. (Then they’re about the worst)

Oh, another thing about AWD, that might be a consideration if money is a concern. With most AWD systems, you need to replace tires 4 at a time. 2 at a time is non-optimal in any car, but in an AWD car it could cost you thousands if differing tire diameters wear out your center differential.


There shouldn’t be a problem finding an older Subie in that price range. I sold a 2000 Impreza wagon for $3500 last year. It was a manual, though, which keeps prices lower. One thing to consider, especially in a hilly terrain.


I would like a manual, but the Mrs. needs an automatic (sigh). Can you say second car? :slight_smile:


Unless the Mrs. doesn’t have full use of her hands or feet, she can damn well learn.

If she doesn’t, well, carry on.


Does your wife read your responses ? :slight_smile:


I doubt that any married man would respond that way, even in jest. The mommy patrol is everywhere, as you suggested, dagosa!


Dude, don’t buy a taurus. I know they’re appealing because you can get one for your price with low miles. If you look hard, you can find toyotas and hondas that fit your criteria.


And why shouldn’t he consider a Taurus?

My 13 year old one runs great. The 2008-2009 ones are even better, and the current ones are excellent cars - but they’ll be as expensive as an Outback.

Ford’s quality and reliability is every bit as good as Honda or Toyota in my experience (and based on the judgement of just about every major survey)… so why pay more?