Buying a Subaru Legacy this weekend
June 1, 2013 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Buying a Subaru Legacy this weekend, need some advice!

So, my current car is falling apart. I hate driving it and am going to purchase a new car. After test driving a lot of vehicles, the Subaru Legacy is my pick.

Comfortable, nice looking, good MPG for the size, consumer reports/edmunds/car&driver recommended ect. I'm sold.

Now, some questions:

1) I'm pre-approved for $23,000 (could go higher if I wanted), from a local credit union. Seems the "premium" model is $24,500 at pretty much all the dealerships in my area (Seattle, WA). Think it would be possible to get $23,000 TAX INCLUDED for a new one? If no, there are a plethora of 2012s with less than 10k on them for $19,000. I believe there were practically no changes in model years, is it worth the extra for new? I never understood buying a new car, but I'm open if somebody has a reason.

2) I have a shitty 2006 Chevy Malibu with 100,000 miles on it. I have $640 left on the loan and can pay off today via Chase website. It's in "fair"-ish condition. Needs about $1500 in work done on the suspension (struts, hubs, tie-rods). What is the best way to maximize the value for this? I know trade-in is generally frowned upon, but getting it fixed and trying to sell locally sounds like a lot of hassle. Any tips here appreciated.

3) The ONLY thing I'm not wild about in the Subaru is the noise. It's a bit loud, but I've read a lot of people saying Dynamat installation in key areas of the car makes a world of difference. Anybody have experience with this? Price estimate?

Thanks a lot guys
posted by lattiboy to Shopping (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should've added that any advice to get the "optimal" price I should pay for a car would be helpful. Basically $1000 above invoice is my understanding of what you should pay with a little effort. Am I incorrect?
posted by lattiboy at 12:55 PM on June 1, 2013

Response by poster: Should also mention I'm a Costco member. Auto program buyingworth it?
posted by lattiboy at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2013

1. Get a 2012. At under 10k miles, a Subaru is barely getting warmed up. And you'll have let someone else take the big depreciation hit.

2. Don't put another cent into that Chevy. As an experiment, list it on Craigslist as-is (don't mention that you don't own it outright), and see what kind of offers you get. Compare that to what the dealer offers you on trade-in; weigh the value of your time/angst dealing with flaky CL purchasers; and make an informed decision based on real market factors (i.e., the market in your area for that specific car at this point in time).

3. Are you referring to the distinctive Subaru engine chortle? Or wind noise? Or...?

Main thing: don't be in a rush to buy any one particular vehicle. Do a bit more research on how to optimize disposing of the Chevy.

Your big cost savings will be in whatever way you can get your loan rate down a few ticks. If that means taking out a lesser amount (20k for the used Subaru), that will add up to nice savings over the life of the note.
posted by nacho fries at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

1) All the Subaru dealerships around me are "you pay what you see". Don't like it, tough. It's no biggie to me though, the prices are fair. And buy the '12, never buy new. You literally lose thousands of dollars just driving it off the lot.

2) I had pretty much the exact same trade in, but mine was a Ford taurus, I got $1750 for it and thought it was way more than fair.

3) My '09 Legacy is a little louder than most cars inside. I notice it. The dealership sells a spray on sound deadener that actually does work very well on the cars I have test driven with it on. I'm unsure of the price.
posted by sanka at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2013

Curious why the Legacy and not less-expensive Impreza? I tried both and found no notable difference.

For pricing - if you're a Costco member, try their car buy service. It will let you pick all the features you want, show you where in Seattle has your car, and send them the info.

USAA also has one, which is what I used when I bought my Subaru. Same thing as Costco, and I was in and out in less than 2 hours, no haggling.
posted by dotgirl at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2013

Buy the used versions from a dealer, and get all the warranties and whatnot. Modern cars are much more reliable than even 10 years ago, so used cars are better options than they once were.

But, if you're buying new, 1000 over invoice is way too much. You can get down much, much lower. Try calling dealers and asking for a fleet manager, not a retail sales guy on the floor. Much more flexibility there.

Wait until the end of the month, as the dealer is trying to make a monthly number. They'll be more willing to deal.

Are you a Costco member? Ask the dealer for the Costco price. You can haggle lower if you want to work at it, but that's a no-fuss option.

Pay off the Chevy loan and sell it from Craigslist as-is. It's only a hassle if you allow it to be a hassle, and it sounds like you don't need that money right away, so take your time.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:06 PM on June 1, 2013

I bought a Subaru Impreza through the Costco Auto Buying program, and my price ended up being a few hundred dollars lower than the Edmunds True Market Value price at the time (last year in April), so it worked for me...

It is loud in the car, but I got used to it, even without Dynamat.
posted by hellogoodbye at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2013

lattiboy: "1) Think it would be possible to get $23,000 TAX INCLUDED for a new one? If no, there are a plethora of 2012s with less than 10k on them for $19,000. I believe there were practically no changes in model years, is it worth the extra for new? I never understood buying a new car, but I'm open if somebody has a reason.

If you can get a used car you trust, I recommend taking it over a new model. You've got a year's worth of road testing of that model's fleet under the belt, and 4k is a substantial hit to take for 10k miles.
posted by pwnguin at 1:26 PM on June 1, 2013

The USAA car buying service can get a Seattle Subaru Impreza Premium with: All-Weather Pkg + Moonroof + Harman Kardon Audio System, and Popular Package 2 for $24,409, down from MSRP of $27,020.

Get rid of the moonroof and the Harman Kardon, and it gets down to a price of $22,502 from an MSRP of $24,730.

This is likely similar to what you'll get from Costco.
posted by grudgebgon at 1:28 PM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

About selling or trading in your old car: Be aware that if you don't have own the title, there is some time/paperwork involved in getting that taken care of. I paid off my car on May 17 and just received the title today. I purchased the car when I lived in Louisiana so it went through their DMV, but it would have taken 21 days if I had done it in California.
posted by radioamy at 1:55 PM on June 1, 2013

Best answer: I suggest going down to Mike Scarff in Auburn. Or at least give them a call and see what they can do. I bought a 2010 Legacy from them and had prepared a "cheat sheet" with the dealer costs for the cars I was looking for. They were within a couple hundred bucks of what I'd hoped to pay and there were absolutely no hassles. Last year we went back and upgraded to the Outback. Very satisfied with both experiences and you won't find a better price.

Legacy's a great pick, by the way, especially with the CVT. Gets better fuel economy than many compacts despite being bigger, heavier, and having AWD. Very sure-footed and handles nicely too.
posted by kindall at 1:58 PM on June 1, 2013

Also, with regard to Costco, when we bought the Outback Subaru had a special going where Costco members would get a $500 Costco gift card for buying a Subaru and answering a few questions about the buying experience. The intent was that you'd use their car-buying service but this wasn't actually a requirement. The dealer was fully appraised of this and made sure we knew about it. Didn't use Costco car-buying service, still got $500 gift card. I'd ask them about it.
posted by kindall at 2:01 PM on June 1, 2013

USAA also has one, which is what I used when I bought my Subaru. Same thing as Costco, and I was in and out in less than 2 hours, no haggling.
posted by dotgirl at 1:04 PM on June 1 [+] [!]

I also used the USAA service when I bought my Impreza in 2010. My husband was deployed and I really wasn't interested in the usual haggling and dealing with car buying nonsense. The USAA thing was a marvelous experience. I actually got the lowest price back from a dealer about 80 miles away from me (it wasn't a huge difference, maybe $300), emailed the closest dealer to me with that price, and they met that price. It was dead simple and super easy when I got to the dealership.
posted by lyra4 at 5:03 PM on June 1, 2013

Buy the 2012. Take a look online at Kelley Blue Book at the values of used 2013's - the base model is below $19,000. That's a big chunk to lose right off the lot. You'll pay a lot of money on a new car in taxes, fees, etc. Let someone else take that hit for you.
posted by azpenguin at 11:30 PM on June 1, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all.

I got an offer of 22,250 for a 2013 premium legacy.

True car thinks that's the target price.

Looking at a 2012 with 3000 miles on it for 19500 too.
posted by lattiboy at 2:19 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go visit the Subaru forums and google "2013" and "Subaru Legacy" and "problems."

I recall reading that Subaru quality has gone down after 2004.
posted by discopolo at 9:28 AM on June 2, 2013

The Subaru Legacy is made in an Indiana factory that also makes Camrys for Toyota, who owns a substantial stake in Subaru. Quality is as good as anyone else really.
posted by kindall at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2013

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