So over the last several months I've been doing a pretty thorough job of trolling classifieds, eBay, and Craigslist for a replacement for my Forester. Its at 131k and although it runs like a champ there were a bunch of little things that need to be done and its not exactly comfortable or luxurious. I've had it almost exactly 5 years and wanted something that I could easily and reliably roadtrip in, and I also was focusing on more performance-oriented cars for the replacement. I'd been kicking around for a 9-3 Aero Sportcombi, V50, Forester or Outback XT, Mazdaspeed3, and a few wildcards like an FX35 or an Xterra. My targets were about $8k and under 100k, and those are the reasons why I've been looking for months, its pretty dry out there. I also really tried to find a manual where I could, but it was tough with what I wanted and the misses wouldn't want the long-hauler to need special skills (although she can drive stick )
Saabs offer a lot of car for the money but you have to be patient with finding a specific one, I only saw 5 really solid cars which were around my goals, but 3 were automatics and the other 2 disappeared with a few days of listing. I tried to want a 9-5 but really wanted the smaller car, but if you're not picky there are a bunch of 9-5 SportCombis out there. Saabs seem to have the lowest mileages are far as mile per dollar, and most look to be kept up as well. It was hard to find a V50 and they're a bit bland on the interior, and every Mazdaspeed had really high miles or were 800 miles away. I liked the idea of getting an FX or Xterra but in reality I would hate the crap mileage, though I suppose the FX35 MPGs are close to the XT. I found the XT Friday night, it had been listed that day and only traded on Thursday. Jesus fish on the back, wind deflector on the front, new all-weather mats, 1-owner with full service records, 77k for $9500, and I jumped on this thing like my pants were on fire. I called first thing in the morning and had the keys by 2, sure it was a bit more than expected but every other Subaru out there was at 120k+ so I figured I'd pay a bit more for 50k less. Its clean on the exterior and underside aside from a rusted hitch I plan to recondition, and is almost perfect on the inside, everything works and I got nifty shift buttons on the steering wheel (not fun to learn on highway when trying to change the radio station). My only complaint is a small scar on the dashboard; its as if something got scraped off, and what's worse is that its directly in my line of sight, so my car ADD might be flaring up soon
I have a good idea about Subarus but wanted to ask a few recommendations, its a 2005 and I know those are some of the most problematic EJ25Ts, the plan is reliability and a bit more fun. Since I already have a moneypit I want to do 3-4 things to the car to and then ignore it aside from maintenance. So far my list includes a catch can setup, tune, downpipe/turboback, and maybe a new turbo intake pipe and diverter valve, but I have to look into the best ones; I know the big tuning recommendation is open-source but have no clue about it otherwise. Basically I want a safe tune for 93oct to not stress the engine, I might build a new shortblock eventually but want that to be out of want, not necessity (translation: I don't want to grenade the stocker). I'm happy with the suspension but want more steering feel and would love to figure out how to get the wind deflector off, and I also need to refinish the headlights. Today just involves checking the oil, trying to dental floss the Jesus fish off, and taking some more pics since its rainy. Any tips or suggestions are welcome!