I’m not ready to let our 2002 Subaru Outback go at 118,000, but my husband says it’s time. What is the best bet to replace it? Must have all-wheel/4-wheel; don’t really like SUV’s so a hatchback would be good. Looking to spend less than $20,000. Want the best possible mpg. By the way, I can’t look this up online because it doesn’t fit any of the categories. Any suggestions for that?
Go to the Edmunds.com new car page and click on the hatchback. Then click on AWD. Here’s what you get:
Anything appealing? Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Matrix look interesting.
I think you are looking at another Subaru. AWD BMW’s and Audi’s for under $20K will be about 5 years old or more and at that point they start to become more expensive to maintain.
Yep, check out the Impreza, if it’s big enough.
Why is your husband intent on getting rid of it? That’s not a whole lot of miles for a modern car. If it needs work and he’s tired of dealing with it, go for it. There really aren’t many awd cars that don’t cost a bunch, and the best bet is the Impreza, much improved in its last redesign.
Thanks to all for your comments. Very helpful. MarkM, darned if I know. The mechanic said it would need a new catalytic converter sometime soon. Let’s say $800+. There’s some molting on the body around the rear wheels. Expensive to fix and I wouldn’t bother. Otherwise it’s fine. Hasn’t needed much in repairs over the years. My husband loses faith in a car at a certain point. I think it’s premature in this case. The car is perfect for us as our other car is a Prius, which we use most of the time. Need the second car for bad weather and hauling bikes and other stuff.
As long as your Subaru was well maintained…then why get rid of it. Are you having problems with it??? 118k miles is actually pretty low for a 10-11yo vehicle.
I’m really curious how a mechanic knows it’ll neet a catalytic converter. Usually it’s something else causing problems. Do you have a check engine light on?
And I would definitely not buy a used awd/4x4, I’d keep using yours and save enough to buy a new replacement when the time comes.
My brother recently was told he had to have a new catalytic converter to “solve” a Check Engine Light issue. He was quoted something like $800 to replace it due to it being a “dealer only” part, and he was planning to get rid of the car.
Due to the wisdom I’ve gleaned from reading this website… I advised him to go to his nearest local muffler shop. Literally $200 later… he’s got a new converter, problem solved, and no new car payment.
You might get your husband to actually crunch some numbers before dumping this car, assuming it’s paid for and otherwise meet your needs. Good luck.
I agree. The Impreza is about as efficient as you are going to get in a practical vehical that’s reliable and offers anything approaching the Outback. Why people feel that anything more upright is an SUV is beyond me. These taller vehicles like the RAV and CRV are Some of the best selling awd vehicles because thy are more upright and roomy. Until the very latest Outback came out, it was a tight headroom wagon. Now it’s much more practical even though it looks like an SUV. It’s a better and more practical car. Get a new taller Outback and tell every one it’s not an SUV !
I have a 97 Honda with 182k, a 97 Nissan PU with 180k, an 02 Saturn with 254k and my daughter has an 03 Corolla with 160k, all bought new and none of them has needed a catalytic converter yet so I wonder how it is that your mechanic can predict that your car will need one soon.
BTW, the Corolla did get the CEL code that is commonly interpreted as needing a new cat, but it turned out to be the rear oxygen sensor.
I would ask them to change out the O2 sensors before they replace the cat. converter. This is usually the cause for that CEL code.
You might find a new Toyota Matrix for under $20k in AWD form
Thanks to all for your comments. I went to the mechanic today. He said the flange that attaches to the catalytic converter is rusted out and will break off in time. Cost to replace is $700. He agrees that it’s worth the investment and that the car will likely be good for at least a few more years. So I persuaded hubby to spend the money. If something else big happens, my a__ is grass, so pray for me.
That car will last to 200k miles with no issues if you invest another $3000 into it.
IMO, < $20k gives you a plethora of good choices. Depending on the model, a year or two or three Forester, CRV , Rav or Rogue make excellent awd “look fors” with the room of an older Outback.