tjthom
tjthom New Reader
11/28/10 9:01 a.m.

Okay, this has been talked about before in different threads and I've read all I can find here. Would like to get more specific and ask for your thoughts.

Practical Daily Driver/Winter vehicle while the Miata is tucked away and used for fun.

Been comparing 2003-2005 ish BMW X drive wagons to 2006-2008 ish Subaru Outback wagons. They are close to the same price point out there $14k - 17k with around 40-50k in miles.

I see the BMW as more comfortable, the Subie as more rugged. Thoughts around upkeep, having around up to say 100k+ miles, etc.

WWGRMD?

And Why?

I appreciate your input!

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
11/28/10 9:06 a.m.

My limited experience with a BMW 330xi 2002, has shown considerable upkeep with expensive parts, this might be just my car but it has had a lot of small issues in just 5000 miles.

Cooling system had several parts replaced, window winder replaced, starter motor replaced (big job BTW), tail light replaced and ground re-routed to stop it recurring and I might be forgetting more

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 HalfDork
11/28/10 9:13 a.m.

Those cars are worlds apart. The Subaru would be the more practical/economical choice, but I wouldn't wish Subaru's third-world ergonomics on anyone. The BMW will be far superior in terms of driving enjoyment....when it's not in need of expensive repairs.

RoosterSauce
RoosterSauce Reader
11/28/10 9:27 a.m.

I think you need that symmetrical awd, or else.

The_Jed
The_Jed Reader
11/28/10 9:31 a.m.

I am a Subaru fanatic so my gut reaction would be to buy the Scoob, but I've always wanted a Bimmer...

If I were in your situation I would go with whichever suits your needs/wants better than the other. If you want to appear more mature and successful I'd buy the BMW. I'm not saying that Subaru owners are unsuccessful or immature, it's just the image I see being projected by BMW. If you want a vehicle that can be taken down the occasional fire road with a clear conscience I'd buy the Outback.

I believe Primitive just came out with a set of skid plates for the CVT equipped Outback.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
11/28/10 9:36 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: ...but I wouldn't wish Subaru's third-world ergonomics on anyone.

Huh?

Anyway, I've got a 'baru, and really like. We've got 96k and haven't had to do really any work except a couple torn cv boots (rebuilt axles for $60 no core from autozone). Maybe I'm a little third-worldy, but the ergonomics are fine to me. I found the 95 M3 to have worse ergos than the '02 WRX, but that's not really a fair comparison.

sachilles
sachilles Dork
11/28/10 9:57 a.m.

Subie ergonomics are functional, they just aren't in the luxury segment. I have two subarus, and previously had audi a4's. I love my subarus, but the interior comfort is not the match for the euro cars of the same time frame. Given their price points when new, it's not really a surprise. While I loved the interior of the Audi's, it did not overcome the needs for more parts on average, with higher prices for those parts, in comparison to a subaru.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Reader
11/28/10 10:59 a.m.

Legacy GT wagon. Problem solved.

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
11/28/10 12:03 p.m.

Compare the BMW to the 05+ Legacy GT wagons. Seats in the LGT are good, not quite BMW comfy, but definitely good. If you want a manual transmission the LGT only offered it in wagons in 2005. The autos are supposed to be pretty good tho.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog Dork
11/28/10 12:19 p.m.

Volvo V70R with 6 speed. Splits the fun/cost difference between the two and about the same price point.

If its only those two, Subaru hands down. I'd prefer a Legacy GT or Forester XT/STi over an Outback however.

irish44j
irish44j HalfDork
11/28/10 12:25 p.m.
aussiesmg wrote: My limited experience with a BMW 330xi 2002, has shown considerable upkeep with expensive parts, this might be just my car but it has had a lot of small issues in just 5000 miles. Cooling system had several parts replaced, window winder replaced, starter motor replaced (big job BTW), tail light replaced and ground re-routed to stop it recurring and I might be forgetting more

My co-worker has a 325xi (an 04 or 05, I think) and has had constant problems with it, and it's under 80k miles. He's trying to trade it in for something else now. I drove it a couple times (trying to help him troubleshoot noises) and though comfortable and with a great interior, it was ZERO fun to drive. Not fast, not very nimble, and pretty numb-feeling, IMO.

irish44j
irish44j HalfDork
11/28/10 12:28 p.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: I wouldn't wish Subaru's third-world ergonomics on anyone.

what is third-world about them? They're not a BMW or Lexus inside, but apart from some interior rattles on most subies, the seats/dash/gauges/console/etc are pretty much like a Ford, Honda, Toyota, etc. I think my WRX seats are considerably MORE comfortable than the ones in our 08 4Runner.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
11/28/10 12:41 p.m.

I had a Legacy Outback wagon that was a hoot in the snow and built like a tank. Not much fun in dry weather at all. It blew a head gasket at 98k. Lots of silly things went wrong from seat heaters to washer motors. It needed a new ABS hub because it rusted to the point where the sensor couldn't read it. The sunroof jammed closed. The rear pass window stopped working.

My wife drives an '05 325 XiT. No problems other than regular maintenance at 72k except an axle because it had a torn boot when I got it. The "regular" part gets a little expensive but at 80k I'll have spent about $650 to do cooling stuff, all fluids, pads, etc... by 100k I'll need some bushings and probably dampers, tie rods... and then good for another 100k miles. I'll expect a window motor, O2 sensor or two... but mostly just nuisance stuff like bulbs.

I have owned 1 E28, 3 E30s, two E36s and one E46. They have all been easy to work on, reliable, and occasionally a little quirky. Always a blast to drive.

So, based on many a BMW in my past - as long as I keep the maintenance current it will keep going except for little annoying things that the Subaru also suffered. So... buy an '05 or earlier BMW ;)

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 HalfDork
11/28/10 3:21 p.m.
irish44j wrote:
1988RedT2 wrote: I wouldn't wish Subaru's third-world ergonomics on anyone.
what is third-world about them? They're not a BMW or Lexus inside, but apart from some interior rattles on most subies, the seats/dash/gauges/console/etc are pretty much like a Ford, Honda, Toyota, etc. I think my WRX seats are considerably MORE comfortable than the ones in our 08 4Runner.

Granted, my experience with them is limited, but I briefly owned an '01 Outback wagon in '03 and it was hands down the worst car I've ever owned. Most cars, you get into, get situated, move the seat, adjust the mirrors, and off you go. From the first time I sat in the Subaru, it was like WTF is this? Nothing feels right. The seats? Blech! And what the heck is up with that clutch pedal? The whole car felt like it was engineered in the Congo. I hope they've improved since then, but frankly, there are dozens of makes out there that I'd consider before looking at another Subaru.

irish44j
irish44j Dork
11/28/10 3:46 p.m.
1988RedT2 wrote:
irish44j wrote:
1988RedT2 wrote: I wouldn't wish Subaru's third-world ergonomics on anyone.
what is third-world about them? They're not a BMW or Lexus inside, but apart from some interior rattles on most subies, the seats/dash/gauges/console/etc are pretty much like a Ford, Honda, Toyota, etc. I think my WRX seats are considerably MORE comfortable than the ones in our 08 4Runner.
Granted, my experience with them is limited, but I briefly owned an '01 Outback wagon in '03 and it was hands down the worst car I've ever owned. Most cars, you get into, get situated, move the seat, adjust the mirrors, and off you go. From the first time I sat in the Subaru, it was like WTF is this? Nothing feels right. The seats? Blech! And what the heck is up with that clutch pedal? The whole car felt like it was engineered in the Congo. I hope they've improved since then, but frankly, there are dozens of makes out there that I'd consider before looking at another Subaru.

odd....I have no experience with the earlier outbacks, so who knows. I think the fact that Subaru sales have skyrocketed in the last few years probably speaks to the fact that they've improved alot since 01. The WRX community knows well how well subaru listens to consumer demands (and acts quickly) - see the 08 WRX vs 09 WRX as the prime example. Major changes after the first year of a new body style says alot. IDK, everything in the WRX feels right to me....seats, pedal placement, steering column/wheel size (all adjustable, btw), dash control location, etc. My previous cars were a Maxima, Accord, and Integra - all known to be ergonomically good cars and popular, and the WRX kills them all in most of those categories, except maybe the preponderance of hard plastic in the subie, which is more for weight savings than anything else and therefore worth it in my book, but does result in a "cheap" look and some rattles (which I've fixed all of in mine).

I'm still not a huge fan of the boxer engine (prefer a V or I), but the rest of the car is well-built IMO. I've been in the new Legacy GT and it is VERY nice inside (though hideous outside).

So just saying to you, you might want to swing by a dealer and drive a new subaru, just for the hell of it...maybe more has changed than you think.

btw, I also used to drive a 1989 (IIRC) DL wagon. And yeah, its ergonomics sucked, as did pretty much everything else about it. Slow, ill-handling, uncomfortable, lousy brakes, lousy interior, lousy gauges, and ugly. But bulletproof. ALOT has changed.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x SuperDork
11/28/10 5:07 p.m.

The wife just bought a 2010 Forester. She got her's loaded, no turbo motor, auto for right around $26k out the door.

I like the car/truck. It rides well. Has plenty of room. It doesn't feel like a huge pig on the road. I'm also learning the virtue of heated seats since it's getting colder here in VA. If it snows here like it did last year...I'll let you guys know how it handles the wet/cold stuff.

The interior is nice but definitely not opulent. The carpet is typical jap car thickness. Not thick and plush like in a Lexus or Acura. The leather seats are nice but not as nice as a BMW or again, Lexus. The controls fall to hand easily and it doesn't look cheap. There is so hard plastic like in most jap cars in this price range. If you want a cushy interior you'll have to go up market.

She's not a car girl so doesn't track mileage obsessively like we would. ;) But from her informal records we're talking 24mpg with a 60/40 hwy to city mix of driving.

It has extremely low miles right now so I can't comment on reliability.

Driving it is....bland. I mean it's an SUV ya know? It won't burn up the road. It has body roll. All that typical Mom-mobile stuff. It wasn't bought for it's track manners so I'm not going to rag on it because it's not a porsche.

She loves it to death and feels great in it. Her last car was a Scion TC. She doesn't regret switching cars at all.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
11/28/10 6:54 p.m.

The new Foresters are pretty slow with the non-turbo 4cyl. I rode in one last week and was shocked at how gutless it was. Adding two additional people (both are small) only made the situation worse. I couldn't imagine driving one fully loaded.

Dav
Dav New Reader
11/28/10 6:56 p.m.

I have found the AWD BMW's to be as fun to drive as a truck/suv--meaning that they are boring.

Full disclosure: I am an original bugeye WRX owner.

njansenv
njansenv HalfDork
11/28/10 7:11 p.m.
Xceler8x wrote: The carpet is typical jap car thickness. Not thick and plush like in a Lexus or Acura.

I giggled. Anyone else catch the humour here?

More on topic. In the interest of full disclosure: I'm a BMW fan-boi, and it's taken me some time to accept that.

I'd get the BMW. There is something "right" in how the E30/E36/E46 (and some 5 series) drive. Steering, sound etc, they just balance fun, comfort and practicality PERFECTLY...for me.

We do have an '98 Impreza with STI (JDM) swap. I've voted it "car most likely to cost me my license". It's quick, raw, and fun...but I've since fixed that somewhat by replacing the aftermarket pipe. That said, it's basically an economy car with power...and needs to viewed as such. I do know they've come a long way since....

used to have an 81gtv6
used to have an 81gtv6 Dork
11/29/10 8:57 a.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote: Volvo V70R with 6 speed. Splits the fun/cost difference between the two and about the same price point. If its only those two, Subaru hands down. I'd prefer a Legacy GT or Forester XT/STi over an Outback however.
  • 1 on the V70R. Go forth and find one and give it a drive.
tjthom
tjthom New Reader
11/29/10 1:13 p.m.

I'm not opposed to a Volvo.

My only real exposure to one was a friends convertible. She had a lot of issues with it that were just quality of the interior and body panels stuff. Window issues, etc. I fixed what would have been a $1,000+ dealer repair for dinner and a few beers in about 30 minutes.

jungle
jungle New Reader
11/30/10 2:42 p.m.

what about Audi?

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