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Advice for a potential new Owner


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51 replies to this topic

#26 andyhaussler

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:32 AM

Well I have to admit you guys are worrying me a bit. i have had a terrible experience with a GM car, just not designed to last. Is a subaru going to be reliable on par with a honda or toyota?

#27 Nickshu

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 12:07 PM

....OK this is going to spawn a huge automotive philosophical soapbox from me....so here it goes....

Cookie, you are exactly right. I read in a Scientific American study that even the average Chevy, Ford or BMW only has 45% of its parts manufactured in the car's country of origin. But the reality is that WHERE something is made does not determine the quality, but rather the manufacturing practices and adherence to quality control procedures at the factories. Sounds like SOA may have some issues.

Its so funny that I am going to buy a Subaru because I think Saab (of which I have owned 5 over the last 11 years) has been ruined by GM. I always liked Saabs because of their form/function design and the all around utility of the car (haul to the dump in the AM and drive to the opera in the PM). But that died when the last hatchback rolled off the assembly line. Why is it that Americans hate hatchbacks so much? Crazy. The sheer utility is incredible.

I think that Subaru is the LAST large-scale niche-market automaker left selling cars in America. A great all-around car for people who want good performance and handling and comfort that only a car can provide, but don't want to sacrifice the usefulness of the vehicle and don't want to have to buy an SUV to get utility. Everyone else is either shifting towards the luxury market (Saab, VW) or staying cheap.
Thats the sheer reason Subaru appeals to me. I love my cars and I love to feel like I am not driving what everyone else is (mid-sized pseudoluxury sedan...ie A4 Audi, Maxima, 3series BMW, Lexus IS, etc)...even if that means my repair costs are a little higher.

Over here in Europe (been living in Italy for nearly 2 years now) there are lots of great car designs that are very elegant yet very useful as an all around vehicle. Its sad we will never see most of them in the States.

Ok Im done.

Nick.

Originally posted by cookie
Parts come from all over and are merely assembled in the American plants.
Some GM engines come from Brazil. with large multinationals it is cheaper to build one plant to specialize in a componant and ship parts to assembly plants world wide.
This has been going on for nealy 100 years in the auto industry and before that with industrial equipment.



#28 cookie

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 01:01 PM

defer to consumer reports for the first few years.
Thier surveys indicated Subaru was better than average for the few years they go back.
The problem here is that on this board many owners have end of warranty cars that CU really isn't looking at.
I think they may be a pretty good if you have a new car and have the dealer immediately fix any problems.
I purposely bought one of the older cars with several problem possibilities and now I figure I made an error as I developed every classic 2.5 problem. If I was doing it again I would have bought one about a year old with a warranty.

#29 benebob

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 01:09 PM

Originally posted by andyhaussler
Well I have to admit you guys are worrying me a bit. i have had a terrible experience with a GM car, just not designed to last. Is a subaru going to be reliable on par with a honda or toyota?



I think subarus age better than most cars including honda and toys. They do seem to have some initial issues (esp the ones made in Indiana). I just don't think the initial quality of the Legacy is as good as you would expect for a 20-30k car or to me at least not up to old subaru standards. The Forester Turbo I had as a loaner for the 3 weeks ours was in the shop seemed built much better. Granted I hated it but that's me.

#30 andyhaussler

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 01:26 PM

So if the AWD is not a big deal would you suggest getting another make?

#31 benebob

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 05:03 PM

Originally posted by andyhaussler
So if the AWD is not a big deal would you suggest getting another make?



Actually AWD is a huge deal. It enables the car to break faster, drive safer and handle better in nearly all conditions. I would never talk anyone out of a Subaru. In fact as JD Powers shows they age better then most other cars. Just expect to deal with a few flaws from the get go on a Legacy. Of course it is all under warranty. Other option is a slightly used 2002 or 2003 that has this stuff done. Granted you may get one that is perfect but just want you to be prepared. Any thoughts on a Forester Turbo?

#32 andyhaussler

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 05:25 PM

I understand the benfits of AWD and would love to have it. However I do not live in snow country, although yosemite is about 40 min drive up the road. Well it is decision time, we are trying to find a manual tranny and are having a tough time. Thanks for the heads up on issues that can arrise. As far as the Forester Turbo goes my wife isn't a huge fan of how the forester looks and we like the cargo area in the legacy better.

We will probably get the extended warranty unless it is outrageous, it will give me some peace of mind. Thanks for all of you radvice and effort!

#33 1ABAJA

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 05:46 PM

Cookie, you are exactly right. I read in a Scientific American study that even the average Chevy, Ford or BMW only has 45% of its parts manufactured in the car's country of origin. But the reality is that WHERE something is made does not determine the quality, but rather the manufacturing practices and adherence to quality control procedures at the factories. Sounds like SOA may have some issues.....

Yes, absolutely right...adherence to quality control procedures at the factories! Regardless where the parts / components come from, they have to be assembled....Where they get assembled matters!! I would be willing to bet that the same product produced in both Japan and America would have a more quality issues in America hands down.

I lived there for a short while, but it was long enough to learn that a majority of the Japanese (obviously not all) have an amazing work ethic. They are structured and very serious...which didn't bode to well with my American sense of humor.

Sorry Andy, didn't mean to tread your thread!

Josh!

#34 cookie

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 08:55 PM

in airfreight in the past I agree with you. They have an incredible work ethic.
Did you know we taught them quality? After WW@ Deming could not get American companies to listen to his ideas but the Japanese did! Then they nearly put America out of the auto business.
I don't know how old you are but I am in my early 50s and I remember just how bad American cars were in the 70s.
We had to get back on the ball, and now American products are far better.
It really depends on the factory though, management proceses and I think how much of it is automated.
My BMW is American made and is top notch. The only problem items have been German made and designed.
With my Japanese made Forester fit and finish were great, if they had spent a bit more time on the engineering it would have been super.
I do suspect the 2.5 was designed and built just before GM bought Subaru when the company had no money for new machine tools.
It just seems like they stretched the engine and found the breaking point. A whole new design would have been more appropriate, not a bandaid.

#35 Takami826

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 11:05 PM

about the german shepherd dog hair...

it may have been mentioned and I simply missed it... a $3 lint roller (good one not a cheapo dollar tree one) may do the trick. It has for me. (Siberian Husky and now a Pomeranian)

#36 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 11:53 PM

I admit its been a while since I read about the quality issue but Consumer reports could find no difference in the quality of Hondas built in Japan versus the US (don't know if you have a choice anymore but some time ago they were sold in parallel).

Also, at one time Toyota's most efficient engine plant was in the US.

I really think engineering is as big and maybe bigger issue in the differences between 'American' and 'Japanese' cars than the ethnicity of the assemblers. Unions (or lack of) may be a factor too.


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#37 Setright

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 11:45 AM

The first "batch" of the present BMW 3-series had MT issues. Some cars had their transmissions replaced TWICE. The previous generation had a quality glitch in the door inner lining, some owners pulled the whole thing off when shutting the door!

VW/Audi electrics are still not to be trusted.

Mercedes interior trim is never quite lined up anymore. Their original TDi's ate head gaskets as fast the infamous EJ25.


Sadly, there is just no way to be sure. Leonard Setright did put it nicely in CAR Magazine April 1990: "It is not always true that you get what you pay for, but unless you pay for it, you certainly do not get it."


At least Alfa Romeo's don't rust anymore :D

#38 cookie

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 12:49 PM

That had some dismal issues.
turn on the AC and it could twist off the vibration damper at an unwarranteed $600 for the part.
It did not happen till it got off warrantee of course.
You can have issues with any car, the Mercedes was just my last issue car so I remember the several pains very clearly.
I bought the thing becuase I wanted the best quality small car in the world. Wrong. I had much less trouble with the stripper Chevy I had before the Merc..
I admit one of the resons I bough the subie was another shot at a real realible quality small car.
Sounds like I should have bought the subie in 85 instead of the Merc because they were relly making the quality car I was looking for then and not mercedes.

#39 WagonsOnly

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 10:55 PM

Well, you could always buy a Hyundai. Their reputation's improving very quickly. But:
-No AWD except on the Santa Fe
-No wagon models
-MTs are hard to find

but it's hard to beat a 10-year warranty.

#40 cookie

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 11:33 PM

but the only one I drove when I was looking for this Subaru felt tinny and loud.
I got the feeling I would have been using the warranty, but for the amount I have in the Forester with engine and clutch repairs I think I could have had the Hyundi equivelend brand new.

#41 WagonsOnly

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 11:52 PM

Oh, you would've been using the warranty--no doubt about it--but practicality aside, the 4-banger Sonatas are a blast to drive (with a stick). Visibility and cargo area (again, no wagon) steered me away. And since I'm in the snowbelt I like the AWD. The first snow of the season was today.....

#42 cookie

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 12:48 AM

But it was T shirt weather here. We did Home Depot for long shower curtain rods, and then to Berkely for giant plant pots.
We loaded several pots of about 20-25 lbs which just fit in the Forester. Not to mention cans of paint and other stuff I might as well not even ask my wife what it was.
The wagon body with the high roof is exactly what we bought it for as well as replacing the Jeep to get to my friend's farm during mud season.
I like the way it drives, although I may do a bit more work on the stuts and sway bars later, and we can haul passengers for an evening out. ( The BMW is two seats).
Right now I also like the four cylinder's peppy performance as I am currently having no trouble with it.
No question that when the car is running well it is an enjoyable car that does just what we need it for.
No wagons means no sale to me.

#43 sprintman

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:21 AM

I've had clutch/slave cylinder done free in my 2000 OB (real Japanese one) and vehicle is now perfect. Subaru in Australia win the quality survey every year now. Can't beat these guys for service and value for money

#44 cookie

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:21 AM

Do you guys use the 2.5? My brother in law in kiwi has several 2.2s he has good luck with.
Sometimes your models are a bit different and usually better and tougher.

#45 andyhaussler

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:39 AM

Well on Saturday we becam official subi owners. We got a 2004 Legacy Special Edition H-4. It is a very nice car. Thankyou for all of your input. I bouht the 100,000 warranty...haggled with them to get the cost down. The costco program was best price we could find. We are hoping to take a trip up to yosemite soon. thanks againg for the info!

Andy Haussler

#46 1ABAJA

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:01 PM

Excellent choice!:D

Color? Mine is Silver, and it looks pimp!

Josh!

#47 andyhaussler

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:02 PM

We liked the silver too, but not a good color in fog county, we got the seamist green, looks great

#48 1ABAJA

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:11 PM

..you remind people where your Japanese car is made when they ask you why you bought a foreign car....I am sure it is not the only reason, but still, it is a good one!

All SE's come with a spoiler right?

Josh!

#49 andyhaussler

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:42 PM

Nope, only the GT does, you can haveit added on though

#50 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 06:50 PM

If California requires a front plate, see if they'll let you find/make some arms or something to mount it on instead of just screwing into the plasic bumper like they did my OBW here in Texas! Still p*sses me off when I see other cars with nice plastic bosses or brackets for the front.

If you're getting a wagon go ahead and get the deflector on the back - it will get dusty.


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