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Old 07-08-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
fastenova
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Default I want to "make" my girlfriend buy a Subaru...

So my girlfriend's Saturn needs a new transmission. I want to convince her to sell it and buy a Subaru. I'd like to find something that's fairly cheap, as she doesn't have a ton of money. Maybe between 2-4K. I love Subies and love to work on them, which would save her any maintenance costs, plus they're reliable. I wanted everyone's opinions on this.

I was thinking of trying to find a late 90's Impreza or Legacy (she likes smaller cars, that's the only reason why I'd go with an Impreza, probably a OBS or wagon) with a 2.2L. I want something that will have little to no maintenance costs. Obviously with the 2.5L there are always head gaskets to worry about, and I don't think she needs the excess power. I mean, going from her 85HP Saturn to a 135HP 2.2 will be a big step up for her, and she doesn't drive fast or haul anything or lots of people often.

She likes automatics but I may try to convince her to get a 5 speed for economy, ease of maintenance, and also because she doesn't know how to drive a manual, and this would force the issue. I also think that at higher mileages, a 5 speed will be more reliable and less likely to have issues than a 4eat. I mean, driven correctly, it's just a clutch kit every 50-80K, right? Vs valve bodies, torque converters, clutchpacks, etc. you get to deal with in a 4eat.

And she's got a dog. Dogs belong in Subaru wagons. That's just a matter of fact.

Thanks for any input you can give me!
Aaron
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Last edited by fastenova; 07-10-2008 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:49 PM   #2
MYfirst00
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So that you guys don't look like "that couple" both driving BD Legacies, I'd probably coax her into a 97-98 Impreza Sport wagon. Plenty of room, looks nice with the hood scoop, easy on the wallet, better retail value than the average impreza...
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:24 PM   #3
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I have a 4eat with 216k original miles. No worries. But a 5MT is lighter, and better on gas.

An Impreza L wagon is better for your price range. The 2.2L will be fine.
It's probably easier to find an auto as well.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:24 PM   #4
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my wife was in a mitsu mirage when I met her. She wasn't convinced that a subaru was for her, until she drove a forester. Now she owns a 2006 forester xt. You need to show her the subaru models without forcing it on her, so she can think it was her decision. Tell her you'd PREFER that she buy a subie, and ASK her to test drive some models. The subaru cars are nice enough that they will do all the convincing when she's behind the wheel...
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:48 PM   #5
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Clutch every 50-80k miles? Bah, mine lasted 189k miles.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiscon_Mark View Post
Clutch every 50-80k miles? Bah, mine lasted 189k miles.
Sweet. I haven't had a new manual trans vehicle, and I only have like 15K on my swap. I guess I read about WRX owners (who usually have more power than their stock clutches can take) replacing theirs often. They may also be idiots about driving a stick, launching all over town or something =]

Aaron
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:40 PM   #7
fastenova
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Thumbs up A new Subie is in like Flynn

Wahoo! She just told me she's going to go look at Subarus this weekend with me... She is definitely wanting a small car. So an Impreza wagon or OBS with the 2.2 and an automatic is what it's looking like. Anything I need to be conscious of when I'm checking these out besides normal car stuff? Any options that are good/bad...?

Things like, "You can't install an aftermaket stereo easily in this year of the OBS because the climate control and stereo are one unit" or "The clearcoat on the alloy wheels from this car have a bad habit of chipping" would be super helpful.

I realize that I'm asking about Imprezas in the Legacy forum, but you guys are my family! Seems like the bar is a little higher in here... if you know what I mean!
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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The Imprezas are pretty much identical to the Legacy, although the interiors for the Leggies appears to be better. Nothing a decent set of seats can't improve though. The center consoles are all the same basically, 2 DIN space for CD player...

The first things I would check for is the presence of a tow-hitch. If it's there then you can assume that the car has towed something, which means the body is a little more stressed than one that hasn't.

ALWAYS factor in fresh AT fluid when buying a used 4EAT. Throw in a bottle of Lubegard ATF protectant to help lower temps and improve shifting.

Keep an eye out for oil leaks - and just listen to the car. Check for any underhood corrosion, open the airbox and see how much dust and grime is on the filter side.

Paintwise most Subbies are good if they've been washed regularly - but a good claybar and polish is usually called for after a purchase.

Make sure the rear wiper works, and that the AC and all the windows go up/down like they should. Check the fusepanels for anything that looks weird.

And finally, have FUN when looking for a car. Take your time and let her "feel" it out. Girls have this habit of getting feelings about something. If she doesn't like it, walk.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huffer View Post
...The first things I would check for is the presence of a tow-hitch. If it's there then you can assume that the car has towed something, which means the body is a little more stressed than one that hasn't...

not always. we bought our brand new forester xt with the tow hitch already installed from the dealer or factory. we never used it and never plan to use it... maybe if the hitch looks "used" or "worn".
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
Huffer
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^^ then you should drop the tow-hitch off and save yourself some weight and improve your MPG!
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:20 AM   #11
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^^ then you should drop the tow-hitch off and save yourself some weight and improve your MPG!
but that requires effort!
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiscon_Mark View Post
Clutch every 50-80k miles? Bah, mine lasted 189k miles.
If you're learning to drive stick on a Subaru I would plan on 60k miles - I've seen this over and over again.


If you're looking at automatics, I would take the the car into a parking lot and do a few very sharp (all the way to lock) turns back and forth to detect any binding. If you don't mind getting a little dirty, crawl under and check the CV/steering boots - if there's something torn/ripped which you can almost expect on an older Subaru you know you've got that service item coming immediately.

The Outback Sport is great - it was the first Subaru I experienced, as my parents had one. Can't think of anything bad/weird about it at all.
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:58 PM   #13
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An L wagon is an excellent car. The 99-01 has the big power 139hp phase II motor. that's the one to look for. The OBS has the scoop, but the two-tone is not everyone's taste.
Add a rear sway bar and decent wheels and tires and it's all good, except the stock stereo sucks. Impreza's have far worse paint than Legacies.
A 2.2l Legacy is also a fine car and drives a little smoother.
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:12 PM   #14
fastenova
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We're going to go look at a 1998 OBS with 57K miles on it tonight. Cross your fingers for me!

Thanks for the input, I'll be sure to give the car a thorough inspection.

Aaron
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:05 PM   #15
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Just stating the obvious here:

The 93-01 Impreza was based on the 89-99 Legacy chassis, suspension and powertrain, but has a significantly shortened wheelbase. So if you go with an Impreza or an Outback Sport (OBS), you are basically getting a Legacy that weighs a good 400 Lbs less, but you are also getting far less rear seat legroom in an Impreza than a Legacy. Depending on the size of your girlfriend, her dog and any passengers who may one day wish to ride around in the back seat an Impreza may or may not be suitable for her needs.

Assuming she likes the OBS, you just might want to make a few subtle changes to the car (lowering it 2-3 inches, putting on Legacy/Subaru RS sized tyres and getting decent aftermarket/Impreza RS anti-sway bars and upgrading to four wheel disc brakes from a parted out Impreza RS or Legacy GT/Outback). While the larger sized tyres will indeed impact fuel economy slightly, these changes will significantly improve handling and safety, and should not make the car any less comfortable to drive. (cross fingers here).

Obviously the cost trade offs may or may not make these modifications worthwhile for her.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:00 AM   #16
Huffer
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OMG.

Did you even read the first post? The girl wants a small car. That's why Impreza > Legacy.

Talk about over-engineering a post.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:31 AM   #17
Jonathan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huffer View Post
Did you even read the first post? The girl wants a small car. That's why Impreza > Legacy.
While for sure she wants a small car. When I first wondered in to a Subaru dealership nine years ago I wanted one of those cute little WRB Impreza RS models. I quickly determined that I needed a little more room, I chose the Legacy instead of an Impreza.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:09 PM   #18
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OMG.

Did you even read the first post? The girl wants a small car. That's why Impreza > Legacy...
I still consider the 1990's legacy models to be on the small side. I don't think he was out of line. Besides, they are both based on the same platform, so it's not like he said, "You are looking at an impreza? How about an F-350 instead?"



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
Just stating the obvious here:
...Depending on the size of your girlfriend...
what are you trying to say? I get the feeling that Jonathan has a "no fat chicks" sticker on the back of his car...
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:07 PM   #19
fastenova
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We looked at an Escort ZX2 that she liked a lot last night, the Impreza was true mileage unknown, so it can't be financed. And they were asking a bit too much for it. It was clean though.

She liked the zx2 a lot but the mileage was a little high as was the price. I'd like her to look around some more at other cars... Maybe find a Subaru she can actually drive. She also liked a BE Legacy, which was surprising to me.

Anyway, thanks for the input, I'll let you all know what she ends up with!

Cheers,
Aaron
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:39 PM   #20
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We looked at an Escort ZX2 that she liked...
yikes!!! How many of those are still even on the road?!? I didn't think they could last that long. Didn't ford send out an official apology to all the zx2 owners, saying they were sorry for making such a terrible car?!?

The be is a very nice car and very easy to drive. no wonder she liked it!
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janikphoto View Post
yikes!!! How many of those are still even on the road?!? I didn't think they could last that long. Didn't ford send out an official apology to all the zx2 owners, saying they were sorry for making such a terrible car?!?
If that was the case, then I should have received a personal apology and a gift card for my purchase of a '94 Escort years ago. I simply don't possess the eloquence to truly express the searing hatred I had for that car.

As for the OP's girlfriend... I almost think the Impreza Wagon might be the best choice. Despite my own personal preference for BH's.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:26 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janikphoto View Post
yikes!!! How many of those are still even on the road?!? I didn't think they could last that long. Didn't ford send out an official apology to all the zx2 owners, saying they were sorry for making such a terrible car?!?

The be is a very nice car and very easy to drive. no wonder she liked it!
Whats wrong with the ZX2? My girlfriend has one, specifically the S/R version. It would run rings around most Subarus at an autox course and its been very good for her.

http://www.geocities.com/ford_zx2_sr/
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Old 07-12-2008, 03:41 AM   #23
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Talking

Just an update: She liked a Ford Focus a lot, and the price was more reasonable for her for something newer. She also wanted something that still had some warranty on it.

As it turns out, my brother-in-law is selling his 2004 ZX3 with 32K on it, well maintained, and in near perfect condition. It has the peppy 2.3L Ecotec engine and I think it could outrun my modified Legacy. Well, at least until a corner comes! It's around 150HP stock and only weighs in at 2500 lbs. It's a nice car, and she's getting it from somebody trustworthy, at a great price!

I'm crossing my fingers that someday I'll have his/hers Subies in the driveway

Thanks for everyone's input, and ideas! BTW, used Impreza wagons are near IMPOSSIBLE to find in the NW in good condition with reasonable miles on them. People here who buy Subies, keep them. Like me!

Aaron
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