Used Subaru Outback 2002-what is a fair price?

Dealership has a 2002 Subaru Outback and is asking $8500’ish. 84,000 miles. Very clean, new tires. A/C, automatic everything. What is a fair price?

Does “everything” include the six-cylinder engine?
That makes a difference, in more ways than one…

No, it’s a 4-cylinder engine. They gave us a report called “AutoCheck”. 3 owners, all local. No wrecks or floods.

Go to some web sites to research the price. KBB always seems to have high values and dealers like it, I find is more on target. On the Edmonds site you want the “true market value”.

$8,500 for an '02 seems way too high to me. The car is 14 model years old. That era Subaru 4 cylinder motor was prone to overheating due to head gasket problems.

I read online last night that the 6 cylinder requires premium gas. Is a 6-cylinder better? And is this AutoCheck a good report or should we get a different report?

Yes, the six requires premium gas, and it gets 1 mpg less than the 4-cylinder.
However, the extra cost of the six is offset by three factors:

It utilizes a timing chain, rather than a timing belt. That 84k mile/12 year old model should have had its timing belt replaced ~4 years ago. If it was not replaced, you are looking at immediate replacement of the belt.
The six is not subject to head gasket/overheating problems.
The improved acceleration of the six is actually a safety factor when merging onto expressways.

I would avoid a 12 year old Subaru, unless I knew the owner personally and could verify very dilligent care!

A fair price is what’s acceptable by both parties. My personal opinion is that 8500 is too high but that’s to be expected. Prices are usually inflated to allow for wiggle room.

As mentioned, there’s the potential for head gasket issues and the unknown timing belt replacement issue. If it’s claimed the belt job has been done then ask for the paperwork to prove it. Without paperwork any claims that it has are not to be believed.

I would not buy an older Subaru with the 2.5l engine, it’ll need very expensive head gaskets in all likelihood. Outbacks 2007 and older are “much worse than average” for “engine, major” on Consumer Reports because of the common head gasket failure.

I agree that you should not purchase this vehicle. The dealer is over-pricing this vehicle by about $2500 by my resources. I would also advise staying away from this dealer in the future when you plan on buying another used vehicle.

The problem with using pricing guides and mechanical condition and reputation of a car to determine what a fair sales price is that it does not always take into account the needs and wants of the purchaser.

From the time I was 7 years old I absolutely wanted a 1970 Coupe DeVille, light blue with a dark blue vinyl top, leather interior. When I finally found one I paid more for it than someone else would have who didn’t want that exact year and color.

Are you specifically interested in early 2000’s Outbacks, or are you just looking for cars of that era, style, and size? Objectively speaking, it’s overpriced, but for a Subaru lover who knows these cars it may be what she’s willing to pay.

If you are able to get repair history for this car see if it has had head gaskets replaced. If so, the value of the car goes up from not knowing or never been done. If you like it enough to consider it, have it inspected before you make an offer.

Thanks for all your good advise, you guys. We are not buying this vehicle. Subaru’s are the car of choice in the Pacific NW and tend to be overpriced, we’ve found. Looking at a Mazda CX7. I’ll let ya’ know…

Yes, Subarus are quite popular here in the NW, can’t drive a city block without seeing one. If you’re looking for a car like the Outback or CX-7, your choices may be limited as not everyone makes a wagon/crossover like that anymore. But if you’re looking for used, perhaps you’ll find what you need.

BTW, try finding and driving a Ford Escape. They’re quite practical sizewise and anyone can fix them.