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05 Subar Outback VDC vs 05 Allroad 2.7t

About 6 months ago my wife and I purchased a used 2000 Subaru outback base 2.5. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted something adventurous, yet still quite conservative. I had only ever owned Manual cars, and she Automatic. We went with an automatic, as her being comfortable behind the wheel would trump the added control of a manual transmission. Unfortunately I wasn't comfortable! We were coming down from the hills when I came up on a corner a little faster than I should have. My instinct was to downshift and power through the corner. Instead I hit the brakes, lost grip, bounced the rear off the bank, spun backwards and slammed into a power pole. I have since learned a lot more about what AWD can and cannot do for you, and how Traction and Stability control systems can aid in hairy situations. With that background, I present our priorities in a car:

We will still be getting an automatic car, for my wife's sake. As such my first priority in a car is it's ability to avoid a crash. Traction and Stability control are a must, and they must be good to boot. Whatever car we get, we will be spending some time in a field, learning how the car handles, and how the car behaves in hairy situations.

As good as a car is at avoiding accidents, there are others on the road, so my second priority is the cars ability to withstand a crash. We plan on having kids soon, and our car needs to ba able to protect my family in a worst case scenario. We plan on having this car for several years to come, so everything from adult friends, to babies and teens will be in the back.

Next on the list is size, it should be about the size of a Subaru outback. We take trips often, and need a decent amount of storage capacity. The true SUV's, however, are to big for our tastes, and the wibbly-wobbly feel is not very confidence inspiring. It should drive like a car, somewhat hiked up, with added storage capacity.

With the car fully loaded, power is the next issue, being able to accelerate form 50mph to 70mph quickly under load is a must, for passing peace-of-mind.

Reliability would be the next concern, as we don't really want to be pouring money into our car, regular maintenance should be average in price, and the vehicle shouldn't have common major repair problems.

We would like it to be decently equipped, with at least a moonroof, heated seats, keyless entry, power windows, doors, locks, good stereo, ipod/iphone integration, and power seats w/ lumbar support.

My wife will be the main driver, around town, but we also take trips, and it snows often where we live. We need something that we can be confident using all year round, and that will get us to our backwoods camp sites safely.

We are considering the 2005 Outback VDC, and the Audi Allroad, although the laters reliability concerns seem to put it in second place. opinions and other suggestions would be appreciated.

~Thomas
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