CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Toyota Camry or Subaru Forester

I have a 2000 Forester with 126K miles and some issues. My dad is offering to trade me his 2004 Camry with 140K that seems fine. I really like the all wheel drive and space of the Forester, but I must admit I feel like the Camry will last longer with less cost to keep up. My ulimate goal is to go as long as possible without a car payment and with as little maintenance cost as possible.

What issues do you have with the Forrester? It’s difficult to answer the question without more information.

It burns oil, the check engine light is always on (used to come on periodically, now its constant, computer scans say something about the oxygen sensor). I have been told it will need a new steering column, and when turning sharply I’m getting that stripping sound and jolt. It seems like I can’t go a year without spending over $1K on it…

And you can’t decide what to take?

Apples and oranges. The Camry is a FWD sedan, the Forester is an AWD wagon.

Subarus almost always cost more to maintain than standard FWD cars. If your goal is low cost, take the Camry, but don’t expect to never have to fix it. At 140K, something is bound to need work before long.

Both cars as stated are near the end of useful service w/o much maintenance life. The Camry being an 04 and 2wd I feel has the best long term service potential. That’s where I’d lean. You’ll have to give up some advantages to that end.

OK. The issues aren’t maintenance, but repairs. I’d take the Camry.

I have 2001 Forester. I do have low mileage…50K. Only time I had trouble was when check engine light came on like yours and finally figured out it was the oxygen sensor which was faulty and I had to have it replaced. No other problems…touch wood!