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Old 04-28-2014, 04:10 AM   #1
Benjagan91
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Member#: 389220
Join Date: Apr 2014
Default Most fuel efficient 'old-school' Subaru?

Hi everyone,

I'm looking at getting a Subaru again, and I'm specifically looking at the following older models:

1st gen Forester (97-02)
1st gen Impreza (92-00)
2nd & 3rd gen Legacy + Outback (94-03)

I used to own a 2003 Outback Luxury H6 3.0 but it was a little thirstier than I would have liked. It also sat on ~2400rpm in 4th gear (auto) at 60mph (100kph).

What is the most fuel efficient of the vehicles above that I've listed? I'm looking at buying an auto again (for my partner to drive also) so I know I'll lose out on a little economy there.

It seems it's between the Impreza and the Legacy from my research so far. I was originally looking at a 1.8L impreza gx awd because of the smaller engine and light 1155kg kerb weight, but it didn't really seem like an improvement over the other, heavier Subies with bigger engines. I'm not interested in the FWD models.

Also, somehow it seems like Legacys might have the advantage over imprezas in fuel economy? Is it to do with aerodynamics? diff ratios? I would have assumed the lighter, smaller impreza would use less fuel.

1.8L vs 2.0L vs 2.5L? Sedan vs hatch?

I've tried looking at official figures but they seem to jump all over the place between variants and year models.

I drive sensibly, not in a rush and I'm not after big power. Any input much appreciated

Thanks for your time
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:33 AM   #2
Loyale93
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Member#: 91347
Join Date: Jul 2005
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Moscow, Russia
Vehicle:
'13 XV Crosstrek,
1050 Triumph Speed Triple

Default

You're looking at a 12-20 year old vehicle and wondering about fuel efficiency???

The one with the lighter weight and smaller engine is going to get better mileage. Unless the driver doesn't want it to. The driver is 100% responsible for fuel economy.
Buy whichever vehicle you wish. Just stay away from the 3.6.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:33 AM   #3
Yakattak
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Member#: 284332
Join Date: May 2011
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Vehicle:
2003 Impreza WRX
Platinum Silver Metallic

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loyale93 View Post
You're looking at a 12-20 year old vehicle and wondering about fuel efficiency??? The one with the lighter weight and smaller engine is going to get better mileage. Unless the driver doesn't want it to. The driver is 100% responsible for fuel economy. Buy whichever vehicle you wish. Just stay away from the 3.6.
Damn! You mean my EJ205 can get the same gas mileage as a Honda Fit? I must be a ****ty driver!
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:48 AM   #4
DannyMph
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Member#: 287277
Join Date: Jul 2011
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Westville, NJ
Vehicle:
2003 Impreza WRX
World Rally Blue

Default

The problem here is not which car gets better mileage. It really stands at which car is in better condition. You're going to buy a used car and if the Impreza gets better numbers through research, there could be numerous problems with that car that take it below the Forester. Many things can affect car mileage, even tire pressure! Or a dirty fuel filter among many more.

Find yourself two potential cars from each model, compare the quality and your focus should be 'which car is in better condition?'
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
Benjagan91
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Default

I want to compare models, all things being equal in regards to condition and servicing. Whichever model should theoretically provide best economy i'll hunt for a good condition example, and then change all the usual service items etc.

Just because I'm buying a second hand car doesn't mean I shouldn't do my research and can't achieve good MPG

So you think lighter kerb weight + smaller engine size is key? Assuming same relaxed driving style between all vehicle options.

Where I get confused by official numbers like this:

1996 impreza gx n sedan manual:
Ej18 1155kg
10.4L/100km urban
7.2L/100km extra urban
8.4L/100km combined

Then...

2002 liberty gx special ed 3gen my02 sedan manual
Ej20 1355kg
9.7L/100km urban
6.5L/100km extra urban
7.7L/100km combined

The 2001 and 2003 liberty models report 8.7/8.9L/100km so between years there's a lot of variation and sometimes the ej25 gets better MPG ratings than the ej20 and so on.

It's all very confusing.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:59 AM   #6
theaznboywunder
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Member#: 297310
Join Date: Oct 2011
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Boston, MA
Vehicle:
2014 WRX
ISM

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How about a Subaru Justy?
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:15 AM   #7
Benjagan91
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Member#: 389220
Join Date: Apr 2014
Default

We don't have the justy in Australia
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:51 AM   #8
Loyale93
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Member#: 91347
Join Date: Jul 2005
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Moscow, Russia
Vehicle:
'13 XV Crosstrek,
1050 Triumph Speed Triple

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjagan91 View Post
I want to compare models, all things being equal in regards to condition and servicing. Whichever model should theoretically provide best economy i'll hunt for a good condition example, and then change all the usual service items etc.

Just because I'm buying a second hand car doesn't mean I shouldn't do my research and can't achieve good MPG

So you think lighter kerb weight + smaller engine size is key? Assuming same relaxed driving style between all vehicle options.

Where I get confused by official numbers like this:

1996 impreza gx n sedan manual:
Ej18 1155kg
10.4L/100km urban
7.2L/100km extra urban
8.4L/100km combined

Then...

2002 liberty gx special ed 3gen my02 sedan manual
Ej20 1355kg
9.7L/100km urban
6.5L/100km extra urban
7.7L/100km combined

The 2001 and 2003 liberty models report 8.7/8.9L/100km so between years there's a lot of variation and sometimes the ej25 gets better MPG ratings than the ej20 and so on.

It's all very confusing.
1) If you fill out your profile, it would help us know that you were in Australia and could recommend models that exist, rather than those that don't.
2) With regards to the above section in bold: duh? There's a reason that the VW Beetle gets 50+mpg and the Ford F650 only gets about 10mpg

Yes, all other things equal, the lighter car with a smaller engine will get better mileage.
But you're also looking at a newer car that may be more efficient. Again, if you look at a 2.0L from 30 years ago, it might be able to do 20mpg. But in the modern world, it would be much higher.

If you're looking to buy a clunker, I would worry less about what it's original mpg was and more about overall condition. Get the newest vehicle you can for the money, provided it's in good condition. The amount of money you'll save on gas between them is a lot less than the amount you'll spend fixing the older vehicle in slightly worse condition that you bought just because it got better gas mileage at one point in it's life.
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