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Ernie's Subaru Stuff

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Hi Fellow Paddlers.

It's been awhile, so I thought I'd post my current rather flush menagerie, as well provide a few linked reviews.

Given Toyota's newly-acquired steering of Subaru's development, it's pretty clear that the last best great-handling, efficient 5 door kayak-haulers will be the 2006-2009 Outbacks. In my waning years as TSG I hope to get many of my old clients one of the good ones, as they'll perhaps be the last they'll own.

Now that the new 2010 Outback's grotesquerie becomes more apparent, and North American use of Subie's brilliant diesel H4 has been shelved indefinitely, one would hope that a new "right-sized" wagon will appear to fill the gap above the somewhat-lengthened but still small (and loud) 2008-13? Impreza Wagon.

But instead near-term plans include only introducing a silly 2 door Toyota-designed coupe (aka "new" Celica), and introducing stripped 2WD versions for increasing market share in the South, possibly allowing a +$2k surcharge for AWD as an "option". Hooboy.

In a few years '06-'09 OBs will become too old to purchase for long-term value; I wonder if the newest Imp will become the "go-to" Subie? Its lower roofline is attractive, but the 30" (vs 38" OB) bar-spread means bow and stern tie-downs become mandatory. Rear storage volume is meager by comparison, but a climb to $5/g fuel will help flush the market of the plethora of crossovers introduced recently, as a sea change to fuel cells, unobtanium batteries, and a bevy of 40mpg tiny euro-tots takes hold. In that light the Imp may its place as the 5 person bigger wagon?

Happy winter paddling!

Herewith my current Craig's posting, with links to a few reviews I thought pretty well written:


Greetings...and welcome to a glorious autumn!

I'm a semi-retired mech engineer who's been buying, perfecting, and reselling highway-driven, young Subarus for 28 years, and have been given the moniker TheSubaruGuru.

My current menagerie (Oct 15):

..........NEWER BODY STYLE 2005-2009 LEGACY OUTBACKS are very quiet, especially at high speed, have aluminum hood ('05-'07) and non-rusting hatch with rust-resistant fender wells, beautiful interiors, quicker motors, bigger wheels and tires ('06+), but slightly smaller cargo volume than older models...and far better handling than the new too-tall sloppy "crossover":

'06 OUTBACK LIMITED, Auto/Tip, Champagne Pearl w/ Taupe Heated Leather, Twin Moonroofs, 6CD, Dual Auto-Climate, etc. (NADA $17.8k) Only $14.9k!

'08 OUTBACK, Auto/Tip, Granite Pearl w/ Gray Cloth. CWP, 17" Alloys, Telescoping Wheel, Remote Auto-Start too. (NADA $19.7k) Only $16.2k!

'07 OUTBACK, Auto/Tip, Willow&Moss Greens w/ Taupe Cloth. CWP, 17" Alloys. (NADA $17.7k) Only $15.4, $15,650 w/8 tires.

'08 OUTBACK LIMITED, Auto/Tip, BlackPearl w/ Charcoal Heated Leather, Twin Roofs, CWP, 6CD, Dual Auto-Climate, Tow Bar, as well telescoping wheel and iPod adapter and auto-dimming compassed mirror. Obviously all highway-driven.

(NADA $22k!) Stunning value at only $16.9k!

'08 OUTBACK, Auto/Tip, White Pearl w/ Taupe Cloth, 17" Alloys, Telescoping Wheel. (NADA $19.7k). Only $15.9k!

New! '06 OUTBACK LIMITED, Willow Pearl (Green) Monochrome w/ Taupe Heated Leather, Twin Roofs, CWP, 6CD, Dual Auto-Climate, Tow Bar. (NADA $17.9k) Will only be c. $14.4k!

........... LEGACY L/2.5i, SE, 35th Anniv & Limited WAGONS and SEDANS; non-OB=lower chassis, thus even crisper handling than otherwise same body OUTBACK; some have power driver's seat:

'08 Legacy SPECIAL EDITION SEDAN, Auto/Tip, Silver/Charcoal. Power Moonroof, 17" Alloys w/ "Z" all-season tires, Power Seat (NADA $16.5k) This is arguably the best-handling, efficient, all-purpose Subaru, and thus MY favorite. Only $13.9k! ($14k w/ 6 matching tires)

.........CLASSIC 2003-2004 LEGACY and OUTBACK WAGONS (OB=raised suspension, tall tires for pothole comfort/clearance and power seat for superb visibility for even very short drivers, with maximum boxy cargo capacity):

'04 Legacy OUTBACK LIMITED, Auto, Champagne/Tan LEATHER, Twin MOONROOFS, CWP, 6CD...also with working REMOTE AUTO-START, TOW BAR and Auto-Dimming Mirror w/ Compass. Orig $29k! (NADA $12k) Only $10.4k! (NSPN note: this is my current paddling buddy seen by many of you this season)

.........IMPREZAS Earlier ('04-'07) have shorter wheelbases so although are absolutely superb handling they suffer from skimpy rear seat legroom and child-seat access, and are noisier at speed than their longer newer '08+ versions.

'08 Impreza 2.5i Special Edition Premium Wagon (aka Outback Sport), RARE MANUAL FIVE SPEED, PlatinumPearl w/ Gray. 6CD w/ iPod, 16" Alloys, Fancy THULE rack. (NADA $14.7k) Only $12.7k with extra front & rear brakes. (This is my first new-style ('08+) Imp Wag, and I'm impressed with its much more commodious rear seat, as well quieter demeanor at speed.

It will be nteresting to see if they'll become more popular now that they're the only reasonable 5 door "new" option.)

New! '06 Impreza 2.5i 4 Dr Sedan, Auto, Sapphire (Navy) Pearl w/ Charcoal Cloth. (NADA $11.4k) Will be only c. $8600! (Will probably become my daughter's by next week.)


Note that ALL my perfected Subies have new or very recent: FULL front and rear BRAKE ROTORS and pads ($900), all-season high performance TIRES ($450-600) and a full 60k/90k SERVICE ($600+) including all new fluids/filters/ps-belt/platinum-plugs/re-rustproofing/wipers/mats/etc. No programmed maintenance required for 2-4 winters! Thus my Subies are in FAR better mechanical condition than those typically sold by dealers.

Once prepped, my Subarus are test-driven and normally used by me for hundreds of miles to assure flawless long-term performance.

For those requiring an OLDER (pre-2004) Subaru please write or call for a copy of my earlier (2006) craig's 5 page Subie-buying "tutorial" which unfortunately is now too large to post here.

(Most NSPNers have already read this)

Please note that I HAVE not, WILL not, and DO NOT recommend purchasing wonky-handling, truck-like Foresters nor premium-guzzling WRX and GT Turbos, nor any thirsty H6 cylinder (LLBean/VDC/3.0).

My focus is only on the ultra-durable, '04 Legacy/OB/GT/SE/35th, '05-'09 Legacy/OB 2.5i, and '04+ Impreza 2.5i 4 cyl non-turbo motors that operate on regular fuel, and get quite decent 21-23c/27-30h mpg.

Those of you interested only in the best ('05-09) Legacy OB body style for its youth, glitz, surprising quietness, as well some non-rusting aluminum parts, should note that this iteration (like the '08 Imps & '09 Forester) has a slightly softer suspension for a smoother ride to please a broader spectrum of American tastes, as well slightly less rear legroom and smaller rear hatch storage volume due to the sloping roof-line. The same ultra-durable 2.5i is retained, but more aerobic plumbing, sophisticated ECU programming, and variable valve tech ('06+) result in punchier response and passing ability, yet still retaining the excellent 21c/27h efficiency in the taller OB and 22c/28h in the lower Legacy and Impreza.

Those of you budgeted under $11k won't mind the wind noise from the slightly boxier geometry and crisp feel of the classic 2004 body style. Either of these choices is better than the oversized, very soft and sloppy new 2010 OB "crossover" SUV. Those who MUST buy a new 2010 are best served by getting the lower-chassis Legacy Sedan with its experimental CVT, and then spend $400 on JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) thicker antisway bars to replace the sloppy domestic (Indiana factory) ones that allow excessive roll (yaw) when cornering. More details later as these become available as used Subies....

Call or write anytime for a careful focusing consult to help determine which Subie best fits your specific needs.


Ernie Meunier


781 483-3922

PS Truly colorful assessment of the new 2010 OBs that echoes much of my thinking: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-2010-subaru-outback/

A less critical view portraying the mainstream SUV vs the sport-wagon driver perspective: http://www.leftlanenews.com/subaru-outback...ive-review.html

A recent review of the "decent" Sedan only: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...ru+soul+testing

I too fear that Subaru, now partially owned and controlled by Toyota, is losing its way with the too-tall 2010 SUV-like new "crossover" OB, and that the '01-'09 Leg Wags and OBs will go down in history as the best-handling, right-sized Subie wagons produced...and prettier than this newest "Camuru," too (or "Subamry," if you prefer; too bad "Outlander" is already taken, eh?).

PPS: Most recent review noting Subiephiles misgivings: http://www.windingroad.com/articles/review...?src=Nextscreen

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