Author Topic: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?  (Read 2458 times)

Frugal Frieda

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Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« on: March 23, 2018, 11:37:33 PM »
I had asked a question before about getting some work on my 2000 Subaru Legacy with 100k vs. getting a good used Outback.  At that time, the work was looking to be around $1200 max and I had not realized the cost of used Outbacks was so high.

Now, it's looking like the work needed will be more near $2,500, and that's even before they've checked the head gaskets which seem to have issues in this specific car starting around 100k miles, which mine has.  Clutch plate is now having issues $$$, back brakes and rotors $420, probably also front brakes and rotors, timing belt replacement with tensioners and pulleys $850, general tune up/fluid changes $175.  I'm not even factoring in fixing the a/c, which isn't even on the table. 

What vehicles have any of you owned that are comparable to the Outback in cargo space, but get better gas mileage?  I have no garage or storage place, so cannot increase cargo capacity with anything that does not remain in or on the car.  I prefer the Outback over the Forester, because the added length is helpful for the lumber and other long stuff I carry, but I may have to give up Subaru at this point.  I need something safe for my child and I and something that will carry lots of stuff.  Good gas mileage would be a bonus since I am MMMing it all the way.  And I prefer to non-American cars, sorry.

dandypandys

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2018, 10:57:36 AM »
Honda CRV perhaps. I ended up with a used Outback for 12k. Very happy with it.

lbmustache

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2018, 11:18:26 AM »
Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4 are always solid choices although the older ones don't have great gas mileage (but probably similar to an older Outback?). A Prius is always the best "all-around" option IMO: affordable, safe, great MPG, good amount of space.

Mazda has some older wagons, or the Mazda3 hatch might work as well, space-wise.

Anything in the Honda Fit category, size-wise, might be a little smaller than what you are looking for, but it may be worth a look just to see. It seems that people have had success getting 8ft and 12ft pieces of lumber into it fairly successfully.

Frugal Frieda

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2018, 11:42:33 AM »
I'll take a look at the Honda CRV.  I'd already kind of looked at the RAV4 and I like it, but didn't think the back had enough room (without putting the seats down). 

I love the Prius, especially the gas milaege, and I have heard great things about the Fit as well, but too small.  I do want to put 12 ft lumber in, as well as 6 foot garden benches, bookcases, etc on the roof rack.  I've done both with my current car and it was hard, but doable, but the Prius and Fit are both much smaller.

I suspect that both the Honda CRV and RAV4 have similar mileage to the Outback.  Outback has improved their gas mileage on current models, but any car I'd be buying would be an older one.   I'm looking for something that I don't need collision and comprehensive insurance for, so that means older, but at the same time, I don't want so old that it needs imminent major maintenance, as mine does.  If I went with an Outback, I'd be looking for one that's already had the head gaskets and timing belt done.

Anyone else have other options for me to investigate?

SunnyDays

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 02:06:51 PM »
Toyota Matrix.  I've had one for 15 years now, and I love it.  Roomy back seats and all the seats fold down, so lots of cargo space.  Has tie downs and you can buy a tonneau cover for privacy/extra security.  The driver's seat has a great height adjuster and can be configured into a captains seat.  I hate seats that slant backwards.  This gives very good visibility.  You can also purchase a plexiglass-type cover for the hood front edge to minimize stone chips.  Gas mileage is't quite as good as the Corolla I had previous to this, but it's acceptable to me.  I can get 500-600 kms per 50 litre tank, a mix of city and highway driving, depending on the season.

Dave1442397

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 02:41:27 PM »
Yeah, the Toyota Matrix (also sold as the Pontiac Vibe) is worth a look.

If that's too small I'd also go with a CR-V or Toyota RAV4. We had a 2003 CR-V, and it was a workhorse.

Frugal Frieda

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2018, 05:27:27 PM »
Great, thanks, I'll take a look at all of those!!!
I don't know the Matrix and will investigate, but suspect it may be too small.  I will always have a carseat there, so cannot lower all rear seats, and length is an issue.  Still open to more ideas if anyone else chimes in.  Appreciate it!

MayDay

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2018, 07:09:54 PM »
There's honestly no perfect substitute IMO.

We have a Civic and minivan, and would live to replace the van with something bigger than a Civic bit not as big as a van.

The outback seems perfect- nice cargo room,can fit all the camping gear! Enough room in the back seat for teenagers! Etc. But they are so $$$$ and the reliability is honestly awful.

We have determined that we'll drive the van until it dies,then replace with a Camry or Accord, and just rent a bigger car as needed.

Maybe by the time the van dies Subaru will have fixed some issues. But considering my brother just bought a new outback ($35k+ OMG) and has had multiple electrical issues already,I'm not too hopeful.

Frugal Frieda

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 07:23:10 PM »
MayDay,
That's really soon for electrical issues.  Are there other reliability issues you are aware of?  My Subaru has been great and it's now 18 years old.  Had to replace the alternator, a/c went out last year and now seems as if clutch plate is going.  But it's 18 years old, and the only thing I think I did when it was younger was one boot.  There are certain model years that seem to have failing head gaskets between 100-150k miles.  Perhaps I better pop over to Consumer Reports.

Frugal Frieda

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2018, 07:25:03 PM »
What's the maximum mileage on a car that you all would consider for a used vehicle that you do not intend to get collision or coverage on?  Would definitely want a mechanic to take a look. 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:26:37 PM by Frugal Frieda »

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2018, 10:28:45 PM »
Mazda5? Longer enough than the fit to have 3 rows, otherwise fairly small as cars go.

Used ex-luxury wagon? I think I've seen both bmw and mercedies variants thereof?

Alternately, how often do you haul lumber? Rent the home depot truck? Smaller/more fuel efficient car will pay for a LOT of trips in that truck.

chickinyow

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 09:21:50 AM »
The cargo space isn't really comparable to an Outback, but I have a Subaru Crosstrek and I absolutely love that car. It is my first Subaru, and I'm sold. Love them.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2018, 12:08:28 PM »
Prius comes in a wagon as well

TrMama

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2018, 01:01:11 PM »
I bought a new Outback about 15 months ago. Love it. When we were shopping we also looked at Forrester, RAV4, PriusV, CRV and Mitsubishi Outlander.

The newer Outbacks aren't wagons anymore, they're SUVs. The only thing comparable to an old style Outback is are the VW, Volvo, Audi, BMW and Benz wagons. Otherwise, you're stuck with an SUV.

Do you really need AWD? If not, get a RAV4, CRV, minivan or pickup.

Don't get a Mazda5. That's actually what I got rid of when I bought the Outback. It's a great concept, but the car is a poorly made, poorly designed piece of crap. The sliding doors are designed in such a way that moisture collects in the rear latch and then freezes in cold weather. Then you can open the door, but not close it again. This leaves you stuck with an undrivable car that you can't even abandon to get home some other way. There's no fix. Mazda's solution was to tell me not to drive it in cold weather. I live in Canada FFS.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2018, 04:18:15 PM »
I pull a 4X8 trailer behind my Corolla with no trouble at all. A hitch and wiring kit was under $200 from uhaul.com. The used trailer was $250. If your base plan is to pay too much for a Subaru or other SUV with poor mpg, consider the option that both saves money and allows you to haul plywood, drywall, couches, beds, stinky/greasy equipment, etc.

Bonus: The hitch allows me to use a 4-bicycle carrier with my car.

startingsmall

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2018, 01:39:48 PM »
Another vote for Mazda5.

I have a 2014 with 66k miles on it and haven't yet done a single repair other than scheduled maintenance and one recall (had the rear liftgate hinges replaced today because there have apparently been a few issues with the seals not sealing properly --> water incursion --> rust --> failure --> liftgate dropping suddenly). We very rarely use the third row, so it stays folded down 99% of the time leaving us plenty of cargo room.

I've never had any issues with the sliding doors, but I live in NC, not Canada (brr!).
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 02:07:18 PM by startingsmall »

Panfish

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2018, 02:56:19 PM »
VW has the golf Alltrack now but i think they are brand new so good luck getting one on the used market.  They even sell them in a 6 speed manual for about $27K which seems like a good deal if you would buy it new and drive it for 15 years.

Just Joe

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Re: Car Advice Con't. - what's a good alternative to an Outback?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2018, 06:49:36 PM »
Honda HRV. Same size as the original CRV.