AWD wagon, oldish - Subaru? Audi? Other?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by j, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron Senior member

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    I'd second a Pathfinder, Xterra or if you can find one the four door Frontier Pick-up (it had a small bed). My parents have owned 3 Pathfinders each of which has lasted over 200k+. They're really well put together, great to drive and a good size for an SUV. If you're looking at a Pathfinder try to get an 01 or above with the 3.3L V6.

    I've also heard really good things about the Honda CRV. However, I don't know how emasculated you want to feel while driving.
     


  2. otc

    otc Senior member

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    What about a passat wagon from near the end of your time range?

    Same chassis as the A4 (and depending on the A4's engine option, same engine) but you could probably pick it up cheaper and squeeze a few more dollars out of your service bills
     


  3. Rye GB

    Rye GB Angry Englishman

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  4. chas

    chas Senior member

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  5. tiecollector

    tiecollector Senior member

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    I have had many Subarus, and they've held up ok. An Audi would probably last more miles. I had one Subaru's engine die around 125,000 miles. I'm around 140,000 on an Outback currently that's holding up ok, but I was a little sad that the other Outback didn't last much more than 100,000. I also have a WRX wagon that has about 80,000 miles that is running just fine.

    Wow, I thought all Japanese cars were guaranteed to go 200k+. My Altima had everything break on it but the engine was fine when I sold it at 200k miles. My new impreza better last longer than 125k.

    In any case, I'd go for an Outback, that is going to be my family car of choice when I have kids (turbo of course). Here in Norcal, pretty much the only Subarus I see are Outbacks. I had never realized there were so many until I bought my impreza a few weeks ago.
     


  6. billiebob

    billiebob Senior member

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    A few years ago friend asked for advice on buying an Audi A4 wagon with the 1.8T. It had 150K on it. I told him it would cost him thousands as the thing basically self destructed around him. He bought it anyway and now it has 215K and his only addition was a set of tires and regular maintenance. There goes my credibility. I didn't think the 1.8Ts lasted that long, but another friend has a Passat with 170K on it going strong. She even uses regular fuel in the thing, which I thought would destroy the high compression turbocharged engine.
     


  7. otc

    otc Senior member

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    A few years ago friend asked for advice on buying an Audi A4 wagon with the 1.8T. It had 150K on it. I told him it would cost him thousands as the thing basically self destructed around him. He bought it anyway and now it has 215K and his only addition was a set of tires and regular maintenance. There goes my credibility. I didn't think the 1.8Ts lasted that long, but another friend has a Passat with 170K on it going strong. She even uses regular fuel in the thing, which I thought would destroy the high compression turbocharged engine.

    Having worked in a VW dealership, I'll suggest that for both audi and VW, the key is preventative maintenance. If you keep up on scheduled service, oil changes, and looking at anything that doesnt feel/sound right you should be fine for a long run. If you don't treat the car nice ahead of time, it is going to get pissed at you and take a LOT of effort and money to get it back to the happy place. Those 1.8Ts have always seemed pretty reliable to me--we had one come in with an oilpan that exploded on the highway (hit a rock I believe). I don't think it ran too long after that but still slowing down from 75 and pulling off the highway is still a nasty amount of driving to put on an engine with a sudden loss of ALL oil. The thing needed a new oil pan and was ready to go back on the road good as new...

    Also, I'm pretty sure we put regular in every car (except the diesels of course). Modern engines will ALL run fine on regular, you just might lose out on a few HP when the ecu dials itself back for the lower octane.
     


  8. Southern-Nupe

    Southern-Nupe Senior member

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    Wow, I thought all Japanese cars were guaranteed to go 200k+. My Altima had everything break on it but the engine was fine when I sold it at 200k miles. My new impreza better last longer than 125k.

    In any case, I'd go for an Outback, that is going to be my family car of choice when I have kids (turbo of course). Here in Norcal, pretty much the only Subarus I see are Outbacks. I had never realized there were so many until I bought my impreza a few weeks ago.

    Nope, only Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus rank highest in reliablity, the majority of Japanese auto makers rank at or below average i.e. Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi. Nissan tends to rate only slightly above average....not necessarily spectacular, but not bad either.

    That's part of the misconception with Japanese automakers, the majority of their reputation for reliability is based primarily on the successes of Honda and Toyota. Regardless, I'm still convinced Mazda and Subaru as a whole, make far more exciting automobiles when compared to the offerings of the top 2.

    To the OP, I second the recommendation of the Volvo, if you can find one in your range.....otherwise the Subaru or Audi A4 make for a solid choice.
     


  9. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    We used to have a '98 A4 (quattro, 2.8V6, manual). We sold it last year for just under $4k. It had around 120,000 miles and was in very good shape. We had it for about 6 years and did not have any major issues. Some common issues for the B5 generation A4 (1996-2001) were control arm bushings, some minor exterior trim, sunroof motor, and coil packs on the 1.8T engine. The Quattro AWD system is pretty bulletproof though. Here is a link to an Audi Forum B5 FAQ if you want to learn more about these cars. We still have a '01 Allroad (quattro, 2.7TT V6, manual) which is basically an A6 Avant on steroids, for those not familiar with the model. The Allroad needed a lot more expensive repairs but most of those had to do with the air suspension system. Parts could be expensive but the hardest thing for me is to find a qualified independent shops to work on the car. These cars are very complicated and sometimes I have to go to a dealer and pay their $115/hour labor rate just to make sure something is done right. If you are interested in working on the car yourself consider getting the VAG-COM software and cable (around $300) so you can use any laptop to interface with the car's computer systems and Bentley Publishing factory repair manual ($100-ish).
     


  10. summej2

    summej2 Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    AMC Eagle [​IMG]


    Ah yes, we had the engine of one of these burst into flame, and then there was the phantom gas pedal.
     


  11. jkennett

    jkennett Senior member

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    I second Rye and SouthernNupe on the Volvo wagon. I had one for my first car and treated it like it was a monster truck/race car (trips up into the mountains for snowboarding, jumping curbs and driving down sidewalks in Georgetown (D.C.), exit ramps going 65mph, etc.)... Great car if you can get one in your price range. Plus I see more guys than girls driving certain wagons... BMW and Volvos come to mind. So, they're not as emasculating as say... the Lesbaru or a Rav4.
     


  12. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Thanks for all the input. I should mention that I'm hoping to get something that has decent MPG (around 24-27 avg) so that mostly rules out Volvos... even though I liked driving my mom's when she had one, they are generally gas hogs in my experience, esp. the AWD ones.

    I've also found a couple of Subaru Foresters that are within my range (esp. if I extend it upwards a little) - apparently what people are saying is that the 2004+ ones are basically a detuned WRX with a dorky looking Volvo-shaped body on it and with pretty minimal upgrades they can handle almost as well as a real WRX. I'm not sure about the earlier ones but there are quite a few suspension upgrades available fr those as well. They have an extra couple inches of ground clearance, a lot more interior room, and get about the same MPG as the smaller Imprezas.

    I think any of the options presented so far would not be too embarrassing esp. after I rip the lower front bumper cover off and replace it with a welded tube bumper/brush guard/light bar and a skid plate setup under the front, and add some massive yellow Hella rally lights to the front, etc. Also on the Impreza/Forester I might consider adding wheel spacers and flares/mudflaps (relatively tasteful, though) and then upgrading suspension points to deal with the added stress, so the thing was really set up for reasonably serious off-pavement use. That's part of why I want to start with an older/cheaper car, because whatever I get I want to make it a little less suburban.

    I'm still leaning in general toward the Subarus because although the interior is boring and a little cheap (compared to Volvo or Audi) the parts and accessories are muuuuch cheaper for them, the engine and body are simpler (and thus I will be more comfortable working on it) and so I think I will end up with a more reliable and customizable package overall. I did test drive a used Impreza wagon yesterday in the snow and it was okay, felt a little mushier than my friend's Legacy sedan does, but it could have been something as simple as the tires needing air or something.

    Anyway, I'll update if I make progress. Thanks.
     


  13. DMcG

    DMcG Senior member

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    The 2004+ Forester XT is turbocharged like the WRX but it actually uses a 2.5 liter engine like the STi (but with a smaller turbo and intercooler). The non-turbo charged foresters use the same 2.5L normally aspirated engine that Imprezas and Legacies useThe platform from that time is basically just an impreza so most engine, suspension, and brake modifications that work on the Impreza will work on the forester. But you probably wouldn't want the suspension stuff as it is going to lower the Forester. Unfortunately in the US they never came with the dual range gearboxes that other countries had available. There are some Legacies and Bajas in the Washington and Oregon area that have done the whole tube front bumper thing.
     


  14. Matt

    Matt [email protected]

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    I think any of the options presented so far would not be too embarrassing esp. after I rip the lower front bumper cover off and replace it with a welded tube bumper/brush guard/light bar and a skid plate setup under the front, and add some massive yellow Hella rally lights to the front, etc.
    Roo bars, J, Roo bars.

    I wanna see you rippin' through kangaroos everywhere you drive in that thing.
     


  15. NorCal

    NorCal Senior member

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    I have a Forrester and love it. Its a 2002 and has done everything I've asked it to. But it sounds like you are going for more of a off road rally car so why not try the Tacoma? The engine is legendary, my dad got well over three hundred thousand miles out of his, and you can add any number of after market modifications. A Toyota 4W4 with a Baja kit is pretty much the backwoods special and you ought to be able to pick up a used late 90's Tacoma with a lot of life left for under 5k.
     


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