2013 and earlier-Subaru Outback Prices Paid and Buying Experience

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
edited January 2014 in Subaru
Share your purchase experience here!


  • dlduttondldutton Member Posts: 1
    My husband and I are thinking of getting a 2003 Outback Wagon (5 sp manual). It's on the dealer's lot with many other Subaru Outbacks and Foresters.

    In other discussions I've seen folks mention getting their Subaru's for below invoice. Is that common at this time of year? If so, how much below invoice can we hope to pay? We are in Central NJ, if that is a useful piece of information.

    We appreciate any info you can give us.
  • taomantaoman Member Posts: 14

    The 2003 Subaru Outback has a rebate of $1250 cash back to customer right now, which is in effect through 07/31/2003. You should be able to purchase the Outback for less than invoice, exactly how much below invoice I am not sure. Subaru is also offering 2.9% financing for 60 months. If you purchase the Outback, you won't be disappointed. I bought a 2003 Subaru Outback wagon (AWP) 2 months ago and like the car more and more each time I drive it, especially with the all of the rain we get here in Louisiana.

  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    You should be able to get very close to invoice minus the rebate (i.e. $1250 below invoice) on an '03 as the '04 Outbacks are now arriving on dealer's lots.

    In case you're wondering, the only difference that you will actually notice between an '03 base and '04 base is that the '04 now has chrome Outback badging whereas the '03 has gold. On the not going to notice side, the '04 has a slightly lighter shade of fake wood on the dash and doors plus the rear mudflaps have black lettering instead of white.

  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    This Honda loyalist has jumped ship (this time around at least) and bought a 2003 Outback Wagon earlier today. I managed to "snag" a leftover in the trim level and color that I wanted. I bought a 5spd Seamist Green base wagon with the special premium audio package. During the late 90s heydays I probably would have opted for the Limited trim package but I'm no longer in the mood for something with a $27K+ sticker.

    Had an interesting negiotating experience to say the least. The wagon I bought has a $24,143 MSRP and I was trading in a 2001 Honda Accord EX coupe with 5spd and 24K. Their initial offer was $21,500 for the Outback and $10,000 for my Accord. I told them I was very, very disappointed that they weren't trying to gain my business by giving me such a crappy trade-in value. The weird part was that in the end they gave up a lot on price and I have no idea why they started out so outrageously high. I bought the Outback for $20,700 and got $12,500 for my Accord, which means I managed to bring the cost down by $3,300. I got the $1,250 customer cash and the 2.9% financing for 60 months.

    Do the math and I paid $125 over invoice (before rebate). I would have preferred to get it under invoice but this was the last 5spd leftover in the region that wasn't in White Frost (greatly dislike white cars) so I guess I had to give up something.

    I don't know if I should have bought the Honda CR-V EX because that would have been a "safe" purchase bet and I love Hondas. But in the end, I wasn't impressed with Honda's reactive AWD system. One of the reasons why I wanted to get rid of my Accord is that I now have a longer commute and I was unhappy with the way it drove in the snow: like a shopping cart on ice. If the CR-V is going to offer only a marginal improvement, I really don't want to bother. Subaru's AWD system is regarded as one of the best in the snow/slush. I live outside Philadelphia, not the snow belt, but we still can get crazy winters.

    The Outback is a nice vehicle: solid, pretty tight feel, quiet interior, more Euro than Japanese, reasonable ride/handling trade-off, smooth engine with some interesting mid-range punch, suprisingly nice-feeling stick shift and an overall quirky personality that appeals to my left-leaning intellectual sensibilites. Here's hoping the Subie will be as reliable as my Hondas.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    CarsDirect is charging $500 over invoice for 2003 Outback base wagons so maybe the $125 over invoice I paid wasn't too bad.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats, my dad has a Limited and loves it. We currently have 4 Subies in the family and every one is enjoyed.

  • gklgkl Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2003 Outback base model w/ security, cargo nets, and auto-dim mirror. Purchased the car for invoice minus $1250 and another $466 which was part of the dealer's holdback (I think the dealer's holdback was $700 so basically, he gave me 66% of it). I took advantage of the 2.9% financing deal - you need to finance at least $10,000 to get this offer (monthly payment = $179). This is even better deal than when I bought by 1998 Outback. If anyone is going to buy an 2003 Outback, do it ASAP. There will not be anymore left by the end of the month.

    Also, I understand that another difference between the 2004 and 2003 Outbacks is the transmissions which use to be built in Japan, are now being built in the US.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Cool to be able to get the incentive plus the financing. Congrats.

  • happymisterhappymister Member Posts: 16

    i just got a quote for $22k for a 2004 legacy outback. from edmunds site, that looks like $700 below invoice. sounds too good to be true. anything i should look out for ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Well, if you are bargain hunting, I'd consider a 2003 model. Those carry a $1250 incentive, so you can get them at invoice-1250. That might save you some cash.

    The 2004s have a few changes, like silver badges instead of gold, and the two-tone wheels are history. If you prefer that look, I think the price you're being offered is fair for a brand-spanking new model year.

  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    There's something wrong if a dealer is willing to sell you a new 2004 for $700 under invoice already. They are basically losing money even after considering the holdback.

    Is this invoice-$700 with or without a trade? Often they lowball you on the trade to make you think you got a good price on the new car. And what trim level are you looking at? I guess you are looking at a base model with automatic transmission.
  • happymisterhappymister Member Posts: 16

    i haven't told the guys that I have a tradein.
    this is their Internet sales guys.
    I have a quote for $22k for 2004 outback base model
    and a quote of $21150 for the 2003 outback base model with premium audio. with rebates included.

    for 2003, base model and base model with premium audio are same price.. one has weather package and other has premium audio package.

    for 2004, i believe they make only base model with weather package.

    so considering that i pay $850 more for 2004 model..
    whats a good deal. from resale point of view.. it looks like 2004 might be better to get.
    apart from 2 tone wheels...is there ANY significant difference between the models ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You'll recover that $850 if you sell it in less than 7 years or so. I'd lean towards the 2004.

  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    The 2003 has slighty better financing: 2.9% vs 3.9% for 5 years. Doesn't seem like much but if you finance most of the purchase price, you basically save over $500 in interest over 5 years.

    The dealer needs to come down on the 2003. Think about it: the 2004 has $300 higher MRSP and doesn't have the $1250 rebate...yet they only want $850 more for it. What you should negotiate is $1550 ($1250 rebate + $300 MSRP difference) off the 2004 offer price, which means a target price of $20,450 for the 2003. If you can get it for this price (or better), go with the leftover.

    New changes for 2004: redesigned splash guards, "red burl" patterned door trim and interior wood trim (2003 used different wood look), new color (Champagne), no more Timberline Green, Titanium Pearl cladding replaced with Warm Gray Opal, badges are chromed instead of golden. Basically all cosmetic changes only.
  • expy02expy02 Member Posts: 23
    Purchased a '04 OB Ltd wagon this morning. 2.5 with auto, paid $367 over invoice. Dealer said they needed one more sale to hit their month end quota. The car was delivered to the dealership last week. Total was $26,600 with air filtration system, auto dim mirror, cargo bin, cargo net, rear bumper cover & rear gate bar. New champagne color is fantastic!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats. That's the monotone one, right? My fave color.

  • wymanjwymanj Member Posts: 1
    I am not sure I understand all the pricing info and am willing. The dealer here in Napa CA says that he will sell me the 03 LTD (4 banger with a manual transmission) for 3500 off the MSRP. After reading the posts above this sounds like a great deal. Am I missing something? Is this reasonable?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The '03 has a $1250 dealer incentive, you should calculate invoice and maybe aim for $1250 under invoice. Don't start at MSRP, start at the invoice price.

  • psalm11824psalm11824 Member Posts: 1
    The invoice is $24,555 When trying to get the price for around invoice, does that include the destination charge or is it seperate. With destination charge of $550. Should I ask for $24,555 or $25,105. Also has rebate of $500
  • ssmomssmom Member Posts: 3
    Hi, Has anyone here purchased an extended warranty from Subaru on your Outback? If so, how much did you pay? Do you think extended warranties are needed on Outbacks (cuz Consumer Reports says no on cars with good reliability records)? Thanks, Karen
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    Usually means before destination charges. So if the invoice is $24,555, the total price is $25,105. Subtract the rebates/incentives from $25,105.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    I read a story in the WSJ about National Warranty going into bankrupcy proceedings and not paying claims to the million plus policy holders who file them. This is why you have to worry about the financial stability of the warranty underwriter. I would only buy extended warranties from the manufacturer, even if they do cost more, because the risk of default is much lower. That said, I have yet to buy an automotive extended warranty because I don't keep cars long enough. I'm not certain they are good deals...like all insurance products they are priced so that most people will pay more on premium than receive in claims. Depends on your tolerance for risk and ability to pay for repairs out of pocket.
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    My invoice shows $23,029 plus $15 for gas for a 2004 automatic 4-cylinder Outback.

    As to extended warranties, there are not many better than Subaru's own, that's for sure. Some dealers have pricing on their websites under "Added Security".
  • 96201979620197 Member Posts: 9
    Can't remember exactly what I paid, bought a 2003 Auto Outback with Auto Dimming Mirror no other extra options. I got it for under $21k, had I gone with a 5 Speed the dealer had ones on the lot when I bought that they would sell me for $17k. If your going with the base model you should definitely get it for under invoice. When I bought their was no manufacturer's rebate and still paid under invoice.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    That's a steal! I had to pay over 20K for my 2003 5spd. The only difference was that mine was the last one on the lot. Other dealers only had 5spd LTD wagons, no base models.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Best price I've seen reported was $700 for a 7/70 on an Outback IIRC, shop around because list is $1300 or so, margins are big.

    Keep in mind the fringe benefits - peice of mind, guaranteed service loaner, roadside assistance for the full term, etc.

    Cancelling AAA saved us $497 on the spot, and we've had a Windstar loaner and a Mercedes Benz C class 4Matic (yes, really), not econoboxes.

    If you like red carpet treatment, consider the warranty.

  • snowbeltersnowbelter Member Posts: 288
    Juice: My wife and I each have the Gold Extended Warranty, and while it looks pretty comprehensive and is backed by SOA, nowhere do I see a reference to a "guaranteed service loaner". My agreement provides a payment of up to $30 a day for a maximum of five days for a rental vehicle whenever one of our cars is being repaired for an item covered under the extended warranty (not routine maintenance) and must stay at the dealer's overnight. Am I missing something? I'm pleased to hear that your dealer provides loaners for service under the recall campaign. Some of us live like peons with no loaners, not even "beaters" even though we purchased two cars from their dealer as well as two Extended Warranties. What am I doing wrong?
  • subkidsubkid Member Posts: 94
    snowbelter wrote:
    >>Some of us live like peons with no loaners, not even "beaters" even though we purchased two cars from their dealer as well as two Extended Warranties. What am I doing wrong?

    That is exactly what you are doing wrong, you said it yourself. Stop buying from them and by PRODUCT that overall suits your needs/wants best. And then be happy with your purchase and yourself. If that means driving Ford from the dealership that always gives you Cadillac as a loaner, so be it - at least you'll be driving Cadillac more than Ford :))

    Sorry guys, couldn't resist, I'm on vacation.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Martin: Hmm, I dunno, I didn't even have to ask for a loaner, they just offered. Ask them next time, show your warranty card.

  • 96201979620197 Member Posts: 9
    I have two Subaru dealers in my area. They both offer loaner cars to anyone who purchased a car through them. Problem is they book out over a month in advance for any appointments where you get a loaner car. Such is life, at least I get a loaner and didn't need to buy an extended warranty.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It's a cool service, if you can get it.

  • netnut1netnut1 Member Posts: 2
    My optional equipment is everything except the hood protectors or roof racks.I asked about a rebate.He said he had not heard of one but would check.$500.00 is what I saw.The dealer quote on the road is $31,841.55 I have not brought up a trade in yet.Which is a 2002 Chevy Z28 Camaro 35th edition with 10,000 miles in excellent condition.On Edmunds or Kelly blue book trade in with excellent condition is around $21,500.What say ye?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    $32k is high, IMO. End of the model year had VDCs at fitzmall.com around $29k. I'd wait for a rebate.

  • netnut1netnut1 Member Posts: 2
    Anyone heard of or done it?
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    It's done all the time.
  • nead_a_carnead_a_car Member Posts: 2
    interested in some comparison info.

    bought base model '04 4/cyl, automatic trans w/updated security pkg $22,250 (price includes $1,000 rebate)

    also any other options fit nice with the car?

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    You can get them to do a little better, unless that's including a doc fee or other options.

    Some people like the Omega remote starter or the Gentex mirror.
  • taomantaoman Member Posts: 14
    I've had my 2003 Outback base model, AWP with automatic for about 6 months now. The options I've got are upgraded security system, automatic dimming mirror with compass, tweeter kit, upgraded door speakers, trail or hitch, differential protector, and leather shift knob. The automatic dimming mirror makes a big difference for night driving. The tweeter kit makes a big difference in the stereo sound. In fact the only reason that I had the dealer upgrade the door speakers was that I bought the car for $1000 under invoice, and then had the dealer install a few additional options. The stock stereo with just the tweeter kit upgrade sounds great. The differential protector is inexpensive and gives me piece of mind. Enjoy your Outback. I won't go to a regular car again after owning the Outback.

  • dchobodchobo Member Posts: 2
    got a '04 subaru outback auto transmission, base model (2.5L engine) with security update option. Invoice is $22,828. Dealer gave me $100 below invoice. So after customer rebate of $1000, it's $21,728. This includes $550 destination charge. Additional charges are DMV fees (~$200), doc fee ($45), tire ($5) and of course CA sales tax (8.25% ouch! - about $1900).

    I also bought $800 maintenance plan for 3 yr / 30,000 mi thinking that maintenance costs in CA is quite high.

    How did I do? thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats. Sounds good.

    Around here, the 30k service alone is almost $600. Add up the oil changes and tire rotations and the pre-paid maintenance is worth it (in regions where service is expensive).

  • lmj213lmj213 Member Posts: 1
    We recently bought a 35th Anniversary Outback wagon from a dealership in Northern California. We negotiated the price down to $100 below invoice including options (Security system, auto dimming mirror, and tweeter kit). We also got the $500 Subaru rebate, so it came out to way below invoice price. We settled with the 3.9% 60 month term because there are no early payment penalties.

    Overall, we had a good buying experience, but we had problems with the Finance Office hard selling all the "extras"-- as would be expected. We ended up going for the Prestige coating, which-- had I done it again-- I would NOT have gotten. It didn't seem to make that much of a difference. (Watch out for where they put the cost for the coating-- they put the $400 in the "accessories" category and shave a bit off their profits from the financing so that you're only paying $50 for it, but it left me very leary of their fuzzy math.) Definitely skip the "Gap" Insurance and the Extended Warranty as it will be likely covered by your insurance. Carefully read your contract and if anything doesn't look right, it probably isn't. Ask them to give you a few minutes alone to give you time to review all paperwork carefully before signing anything. If they're going to waste your time, waste theirs. If they're being pushy, you have more reason to be more careful. Even if they lower the price for some of the extras, it may be to your benefit to skip it because many features are covered in the warranty or with basic insurance.

    Despite our ample warnings, we're extremely happy with our new car. All the extras that Subaru offers STANDARD on their vehicles gave us more of a reason to buy Subaru. The Subarus that we've seen have stood the test of time, even longer than some Hondas and Toyotas!

    During the holidays we were able to fit 5 adults comfortably. We look forward to going up to the mountains this winter and taking advantage of all the cool features! Happy shopping!
  • dchobodchobo Member Posts: 2
    Re: post #41 - more info on my purchase:

    I bought the '04 subaru outback at dealer in Redwood City, CA. Deal was quick due to new year's eve. Dealer just handed me a copy of his invoice including options and said price is $100 below invoice, plus you get $1000 rebate. We double checked data with our printout from Edmunds and invoice number is correct to the dollar. We didn't bargain, just negotiate to have $2000 put on credit card (their "policy" was $500 max). The dealer was also nice in that when we told him we may not get insurance in time, he said we can leave the car in the lot and take delivery later. He didn't try to sell 1 or 2-day car insurance like other dealers. (Anyways, we managed to get insurance the same day by calling them right away.)

    Then, the finance lady tried to sell us extended warranty, maintenance plans and extras. But I guess she, too, was waiting to go to a new year's eve party, so not much pressure from her. We took so long to think about the warranty that she said OK, call me within 30 days if you want extended warranty (gold plus). She didn't even go to the coating / extras part - just asked us to think about it the next few days. We did buy the maintenance plan, however. Thinking back, I think that is also negotiable.

    overall experience at redwood city seems better than at sunnyvale / san jose where we also test drove the subaru. Dealers there asked a lot of questions, i.e. getting to know you, asking your budget, your employment, saying things like "we can get you a good deal if you work with us..." etc.

    This is my 2nd time buying a new car. Much better prepared this time round. 1st time round, I got cheated into buying a car alarm for my honda civic. Like #43, my advice is to watch out for the finance dept. Finding out invoice price and negotiating with dealer is only HALF the game. If I were to buy a new car a 3rd time, I would NOT add or buy anything at the finance stage (except the financing part, of course. But you should also make sure things like rebate is applied towards the down payment). If you aren't sure (their argument is always soooooo convincing), just say no no no. And if you really want additional plans, you can usually add them on later.

     good luck, y'all!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats! Join our chat Thursday nights!

  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    A reporter wants to interview Subaru Legacy and Outback owners. Please respond to [email protected] by Thursday noon Eastern Standard Time.
  • somethingelsesomethingelse Member Posts: 3
    We are considering buying a 2004 Subaru Outback VDC 3.0L Sd Auto sedan. The lowest price we have been able to get is $28,331.00 after rebate.
    I have seen posted on this site, go for under
    invoice...I have talked to 3 dealerships and have
    yet to get under the invoice. What am I doing wrong. Does this $28,331 price seem way to high?
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    The invoice is $28,928 including destination on a 2004.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Price seems fair to me. Most of the ones I see cost around $29k after discounts.

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    I'm showing $1000 rebate and $500 dealer cash if you don't take the low rate financing. If you take the rate you lose the $1000, but that price is too high in the current market.
  • somethingelsesomethingelse Member Posts: 3
    OKay, raybear I will keep working on getting
    the price lower. We are paying cash and have
    only been offerered the $1000.00 rebate at 2 of
    the dealers and 2 others only mention the $500.
    I really hate this game. Wish me luck!
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    You may want to consider the financing in lieu of rebate, it's 1.9% on 60 months now.

    The easiest way to get pricing is right here on Edmunds; just submit a request to those dealers in your area and let them come back with a reply. Perhaps the market in your area is higher than it is here; maybe the dealers have low doc fees, I don't know.
Sign In or Register to comment.