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Finding low mileage used Suburu Foresters

bzribeebzribee Posts: 27
edited March 14 in Subaru
Is it really true that it's almost impossible to find a low mileage (6,000-20,000??) newer used model? I have finally settled on a Forester as my first choice, but am having trouble finding a 2005 or 2006 model. Any thoughts? I would've considered a 2004 but according to Edmunds the more recent models are the better ones.

I understand the dealers buy used ones at auction, do 122 point check-ups and minor repairs, and that's it. HOw trustworthy are these computer checks?

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Comments

  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,547
    My sister found an 05 Forester X with ~25,000 miles on it in Northern Virginia a couple of weeks ago. I don't put a lot of faith in the 122 point checks - 4 of those checks are making sure there's air in the tires. :shades:

    One trick is to find a cherry looking Forester in a parking lot and wait for the owner to come out and chat them up. I dropped a hint to a friend that had a cream puff Outback and she decided to buy a new one even though she hadn't been thinking of trading and was perfectly happy with her car. But knowing she had a buyer pushed her into going to the showroom, and I wound up with a low mileage ride.

    Steve, Host
    SUVs and Speed Shop

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Generally speaking, yes, it is hard, because Subaru owners tend to keep their cars longer than most. The Forester is also affordable so the % of leased vehicles is relatively low.

    Use cars.com or AutoTrader.com and do a search.

    For me to find many used Tribecas I had to really expand my search beyond just the Mid Atlantic.

    -juice
  • keep an eye on www.carmax.com, they are a high volume high end used car retailer with inventory across the US. No haggle price.

    John
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've found their prices are a bit high, FWIW. Higher than many dealerships for used 06 Tribecas.

    -juice
  • it looked that way to me too, many of the 05 and 06's were in the upper teens.

    The way new car prices are these days, there is less of an advantage going with 1 and 2 year old vehicles.

    If it fits, it looks like leasing is quite attractive these days.

    John
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How very, very true.

    Just talked to a guy who is a dealer, and has access to Manheim auction cars. He searched for Tribecas they've sold recently - all were 24.5 to 26k.

    Now wait a sec, because new ones start at 27k, and a dealer has to add his markup to make a profit. So we're talking very near full price for a one year old model.

    May as well buy new.

    -juice
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    That's what I'm finding with the GTO. Used are around 23k with 5-10k miles. New I can get one for $25k and the 7k I'm gonna finance get a rate of 4.9%

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That too, because on the Tribeca you get low rate financing.

    -juice
  • johnvjohnv Posts: 40
    I'm looking at a 2004 forester XS (moonroof) with 45k, full service records, couple of dings at around $15.5k (which is close to TMV). Opinions?

    Also what do you like more about the 2005 model? Isn't that just electronic throttle and the smaller spare?
  • This is at a dealers--Kelly puts excellent condition (which includes maintainence records) at 17,795 and good condition at 16,520. Carfax says there are 4 reports, seems to say 4 reports for every car, so maybe that's the normal buy, return, auction, sell??? Anyone know?
    I have the car overnight and know they will pressure me to buy. I haven't bought the Carfax report yet--want to decide if I really want this or not. 2008's are coming out soon.
    According to dealer the car was registered at a marine base. That's all I was told when she looked at carfax. hmmm.
    I'd sure appreciate comments.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a lot of miles, but an XS limited was probably $23-24k new, so it seems worth it. Aim for $15k.

    2005s were good, they actually got better mileage, 23/30, and yeah they had that full-size spare. Ground clearance is about half inch less, but that probably won't ever matter. If you like the look, go for it.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've seen new X models under $19k, and automatics under $20k.

    I just think that's too close to new car pricing. It should depreciate 10% the minute you drive off the lot, plus another 10% every year after that. So it should be 15-20% or so less than a new one.

    I guess the cheaper one falls in that range, but barely.

    Remember you lose warranty coverage. So even if you have to get a 5 year loan instead of a 4 year loan to buy new, you're covered that extra year for the powertrain.

    -juice
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    My girlfriend got her 06 X new in May with AT for 19K after rebates. I saw my dealer list for 19K yesterday but don't know if that was an MT or not.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    You might want to look at dealerships that posts their inventory online such as VanBortel (largest US dealer). They have some low mileage 05s right now.

    On the other side of the coin, does anyone have an idea for selling an older high mileage model ('98S 130,000, no rust, a few dings, everything works). Has anyone ever tried those direct-to-the-public auctions?
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    I found an '05 Forester XT with 10K miles on it for about $20K on a dealer website, and a Baja XT with 13K miles for just a little more. The CarFax check on both of these show them to be former fleet vehicles. They are the same price as non-fleet vehicles with 2 to 3 times the miles.

    Are late model former fleet vehicles with low miles worth considering or is there a good reason for the discount? :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd consider it unless they were rental cars, sure.
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    Thanks much for the advice, Juice.

    But how would I know if a car had been in a rental fleet? The CarFax report doesn't specify what kind of fleet. The dealer bought the car at a regional auction - Would the dealer know the origin? Could I perhaps learn that by examining the vehicle?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'd stay away from any fleet vehicles unless it was real cheap like $1000-2000

    Any fleet vehicles are driven by non-owners. Most non-owners treat them like garbage and they take extra abuse. Just my opinion.

    -mike
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    I understand your point of view, Mike. That is what I was worried about.

    If the vehicle has not been deliberately abused, how much harm would likely have been done to the car in just 10 or 13 thousand miles? It might be a good deal. On the other hand, maybe they flogged it and trouble is waiting down the road. :sick:

    I've never understood why an adult would want to abuse a car just because they didn't own it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well the way I look at things is this way. Most people abuse their cars pretty well, even when they own them. When they don't own them there is little to no incentive to really go out of your way to keep em better maintained.

    Chances are that it won't be a "bad" car but on the off chance it was abused, why open yourself up for the risk?

    -mike
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    I know that next owner of my leased '04 F-XT will find that it was well maintained and kept. Same with my previous '00 Outback wagon. Leased or not, I take good care of my vehicles. True, it's not the norm, but it's my way.

    There are gems out there, you just may have to look a bit for 'em. Take an extended test drive, get it inspected, etc.

    -Brian
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Take an extended test drive, get it inspected, etc.

    Sounds like good advice to me.

    I guess the one good thing about shopping for a used Subaru is that a flaw will tend to make itself more obvious. If there are any drivetrain issues you will likely hear it or even feel it.

    A used Subaru with 10k miles that looks clean and drives perfectly smooth will very likely prove to be a good buy.
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    Are there any telltale things to look for with the turbo charger that would be a red flag for future trouble?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You want to make sure the turbo boost is working nicely (just hit the gas pedal) and listen for the BOV go "psst" right when you shift.

    Again, a flaw should make itself obvious (loss of boost mostly).
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    Sounds easy to check. A WRX went past my house the other day with the BOV hissing when he shifted. Cool! :D

    Do turbos with automatic transmissions also have BOVs? It may be sacrilege, but I would not rule out getting one with an AT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, the engine's still the same.

    The auto takes longer to build boost, consider a newer 2.5T engine if you can afford that if you go with auto. They have less lag due to 25% more displacement plus AVCS valve control.

    Autos do get a more sophisticated AWD system, too.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    The turbo spooling on my stock '04 F-XT produces a very subtle "whisper" (as I refer to it). It's a soft whistle I guess, but is really only faintly noticeable as it begins to spool just under 2k rpm. Above that and the boxer grumble is what you hear.

    FWIW, my '04 w/MT has less than 26k miles on it. When I turn it next May, the engine will be just broken it for the next owner.

    -Brian
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    Thank you, Gentlemen. I'll keep your advice in mind as I test drive some XTs. :D
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually if you hear the pssst, it is likely not a stock car and I'd run from it. Stockers BOVs recirculate back into the intake tube, hence the silent BOV activation.

    Signs I would check are the reserve coolant tank cap, if it isn't full or caked up then coolant may not be flowing through the turbo.

    -mike
  • discopetediscopete Posts: 21
    Signs I would check are the reserve coolant tank cap, if it isn't full or caked up then coolant may not be flowing through the turbo.

    Mike, I want to be sure I understand this - Are you saying that the coolant overflow tank from the radiator should be close to full and there should be crud on the underside of the cap? And this indicates good turbo cooling. :confuse: Could you please elaborate on this?

    Thank you. :)
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