If only they made a Fitrester
August 10, 2010 6:12 PM Subscribe
Looking for advice on a new-to-me car. Anyone with experience of late-model Subaru Foresters, Honda Fits, and the AWD vs. FWD question? I'll be in central NJ. Loooong-winded "more inside" with a summary.
posted by dondiego87 to shopping (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As a birthday present, my dad has offered to help me buy a new car. I am lucky to have $20,000 cash to work with (which includes my contribution, his contribution, and the trade-in value of my current vehicle). Unfortunately, I seem to be stuck between two options. (Skip to the second-to-last paragraph if you want the condensed version.)
The Subaru Forester seems like a great vehicle. One of my friends has one and loves it. The size is great and the driving position seems reminiscent of my 2002 Toyota Tacoma, which I love. The only problem is that I'd have to buy used (2008 or 2009) in order to get something under $20k, and usually this excludes "certified pre-owned." As such, it is my understanding that the warranty would not carry over to me. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) There is one available for under $20k that has heated seats, which is attractive. I am concerned about driving up there in winter, as I have only ever lived in Atlanta and then central Florida. As such, anything heated seems important, and I love the idea of all-wheel drive. AWD, though, means that fuel economy is sacrificed somewhat.
This brings me to my next choice. Everything I have read about the Honda Fit indicates that it is a nice little car. The fuel economy is, as expected, much better than the Forester. It's much more practical for everyday use. My girlfriend has a Nissan Pathfinder that I could use if I ever needed to do some hauling, but most of the time it would just be me moving myself around town, with only groceries and a backpack as the typical cargo. I could trick out a new one all to my liking and still keep it well under $20k. And of course, buying new would mean a warranty.
I guess my questions boil down to these:
- Is AWD worth the extra $400/year in gas the Forester would cost me over the Fit? In the winter with the Fit, would I wish I had AWD and better ground clearance?
- Could I expect my insurance to be significantly cheaper with an AWD SUV as opposed to a FWD hatchback? Consider that I am a 23-year-old white male, divorced, entering graduate school.
- Am I reasonable in feeling uncomfortable without a warranty? The Subaru Forester is considered a used "Good Bet" by Consumer Reports.
Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate advice on any aspect of this question, even just anecdotes about your experience with either vehicle. I've "Consumer Reports"-ed the crap out of these cars, and now I need some perspective from people in the know. Thanks again!