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Subaru, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Sedan, Wagon
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#8394 of 10838 Why I just (improbably) bought my third Subaru
Dec 20, 2005 (8:02 am)
If you had told me in 1996 that in 2005 I’d be able to buy almost any vehicle I wanted, yet still chose an Outback, I’d have thought you were crazy. Here’s why.
I bought my first Subaru, a 1996 Legacy wagon, primarily for economy and utility. It was reliable, but after a few years I wanted something with more power, more refinement, a nicer interior, and overall greater performance and luxury. When I went shopping again in 2001, Subaru wasn’t on my short list. I happened to be at a Subaru dealer helping a friend look for a used car (I recommended a Subaru) when the salesman convinced me that the 2001 LL Bean was a completely different vehicle than the ’96 Legacy wagon. I test drive proved he was right. I compared it extensively to lots of competition (Toyota Highlander, primarily) and bought the LL Bean. Subaru had anticipated my needs and met them perfectly with the LL Bean.
Fast forward to 2005 and I was ready to move on (and up) from the ’01 LL Bean. Another Outback wasn’t a serious consideration. The LL Bean was nice, but not a car I could get passionate about. In the meantime, I’d bought a new 2004 Honda S2000 as my second car, and my standards for power and handling had been raised considerably. In replacing the ’01 LL Bean, I was going to buy the vehicle I really wanted, and could spend up to $45k. I considered the BMW 325xi Touring, Audi A4 Avant, Lexus RX330, and Acura MDX. I’d read that the Outback improved with the 05 model, but I wanted performance and luxury, and was willing to pay for it. Just as in 2001, I didn’t think the Outback would satisfy me.
While waiting for an oil change for my LL Bean, I looked inside the 05 Outback and was favorably impressed by the interior quality and new features. For fun, I test drove an XT Limited with a manual transmission. Wow! This was nothing like the ’01 LL Bean. The ride quality, interior refinement, features, handling, interior noise level, exterior styling, and, of course, acceleration, were in a different league. After extensive deliberation, I narrowed the field to the XT Limited and an 06 BMW 325xi wagon, which had a sticker of $41,800.
I was predisposed to spend in the $40k range (and to try something new), but the XT Limited was just too compelling. Even if the XT and BMW 325 were the same price, it would be a close call. The XT’s interior is fully the BMW’s equal, initial quality and long-term reliability are probably better, and the Outback has known superb performance in snow. Although the BMW had superior handling, somewhat better overall feel, a six-speed transmission, and a few nice features (driver seat memory, for example), its 185 pound-feet of torque and 215 horsepower just couldn’t match the XT’s 250hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. (The XT had a further advantage in that the reduction in power at altitude—I live at 6300 feet—was negated by the turbo.) The XT was just more fun to drive. It also seemed crazy to pay a huge price premium for a vehicle with a considerably weaker engine. (The “prestige” of owning a BMW means nothing to me.) I bought an ’06 XT Ltd 5M in Atlantic Blue.
The XT Limited with a manual transmission is an absolutely brilliant vehicle, and an incredible value. I’ve got 700 miles on my 06 and continue to find things to like about it. Subaru’s continuing strategy of moving the Outback upscale, and offering a sporty version in the XT, kept me as a customer.
#8395 of 10838 Re: Why I just (improbably) bought my third Subaru [avguy1]
Dec 20, 2005 (8:18 am)
Cool, so basically they have moved up in content and power along with your needs and wants.
#8396 of 10838 Re: Why I just (improbably) bought my third Subaru [avguy1]
Dec 20, 2005 (9:00 am)
Robert, I really enjoyed reading that post, as it sums up my feelings and experiences almost perfectly (including having an S2K as a second car -- maybe we should start an S2K+XT owners club). I can't count how many times/ways I have come back to the Outback as an ideal car. It's really hard to beat, and none of the competitors offers the specific combination of things that appeals so much to me.
#8397 of 10838 Re: '06 Outback 2.5i SE [c_hunter]
Dec 20, 2005 (9:50 am)
I was only half serious about the Accessport. I also did some searches on how much fuel is saved in economy mode and really didn't find much. Interestingly, many people have found that the performance maps often lead to better fuel economy however!
Although I haven't driven the newer 06 2.5i 4EAT, I did get a chance to drive a base 05 OB 4EAT and agree with your freeway merging observations.
I wonder if one could utilize the spare tire well for storage of spare tanks.
#8398 of 10838 Re: Scheduled Maintenance Cost? [beakerdude]
Dec 20, 2005 (9:56 am)
As others have mentioned, ask the dealer to send you the full "menu" of items covered in their 15K service. Chances are it contains extras that are not part of the minimum required by Subaru.
Also, shop around the Bay Area. I see you're going to Downtown Subaru. It's a bit further, but try Carlsen Subaru in Redwood City. I've used them before and they are open to customizing your 15K service. Even better is Santa Cruz Subaru, but that would probably be a day trip for you.
#8399 of 10838 Re: '06 Outback 2.5i SE [kens]
Dec 20, 2005 (10:49 am)
I recall a buddy with an RS got one of those S-AFCs and his was running 2% leaner than stock yet making more power in the process. He used a dyno to tune it, though, so you're not saving money overall.
#8400 of 10838 Re: Scheduled Maintenance Cost? [kens]
Dec 20, 2005 (10:50 am)
Even Redwood City is way too far.
As it turns out, the $289 is for their "extreme duty" service... which (of course) you have to ask to find out.
The service that covers just the Subaru recommendations is $129.
Kinda sucky to push "extreme" stuff without even asking, IMHO...
#8401 of 10838 Re: Scheduled Maintenance Cost? [beakerdude]
Dec 20, 2005 (10:53 am)
They need to...when you sell a new car for hundreds under invoice, you make no profit margin. Heck, they probably took a loss when you bough it.
Those dealership staff have to eat, and it's the service dept that pays those bills. $129 minus costs won't buy a lot of food!
#8403 of 10838 Re: Scheduled Maintenance Cost? [beakerdude]
Dec 20, 2005 (2:10 pm)
I agree... they should have given you the option of the two services and then tried to sell you on why the extras on the more expensive service was worth while. Then, when you said "no" and asked for the standard service, they respond with "Very good, sir. When would you like to come in?"