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Blackwater

Which Forester to buy?

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Hi,

I'm hoping for a bit of help with a purchasing decision.

I'm looking to have a 12 month driving holiday in north America during 2020 / 2021, which will entail buying a car in Canada and touring round Canada and the US. The idea is to visit as many of the US national parks as possible - especially the ones over in Utah, Colorado and Arizona before returning across the Rockies. I envisage that the great majority of miles will be on surfaced roads but I also want the option of following unmade trails - nothing massively off-road though.

The Forester strikes me as an ideal choice and I was wondering if anyone had any advice / experience / recommendations between either a late model 2003 - 2008 series or an early 2009 onward one? Is there any great difference between the 2 with regard to reliability and off-road ability? The vehicle will be bought in Canada so it'll have to be a petrol one. 

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Hi,

Just my choice - I went for the SH 09 to 13 year model, 2.0 Petrol. It has plenty of space for my stuff and not too bad on fuel consumption considering its 150bhp and 1500KG kerb weight it has plenty of power for my needs. 

I cant comment about previous models as I've never owned a Subaru before but I did a lot of research before buying mine,  I reckon the symmetrical awd  makes them all as good as each other.

Lots of videos on you tube, these helped my decision anyway - "4x4 overland subaru"  and "softroadingthewest". 

Again just my choice - good luck your adventure sounds great 🙂 

 

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Much as a like Foresters i'd be more inclined to buy an Outback with the 3.0 litre H6 engine.

Either the model finishing in 2003 or the 2003 to 2009, both are very good cars indeed, quieter and more comfortable than a Forester for those long drives, that engine is very reliable benefiting from a timing chain instead of belt and suffers only rarely from head gasket issues, smooth auto box.

One tip, look down with a torch both sides of the engine, you can see the inner drive shaft couplings, the rubber boots can perish because they sit directly over the CATS, very easy repair though, the whole drive shaft comes apart quite easily.

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Hi Brack, Juddian, thanks for the advice. It's appreciated.

I'd already seen a few videos from "softroadingthewest", which were very helpful, especially the build walk round. Certainly worth considering.

I've also been looking into the Outback - theres a few videos up on youtube as well - and I reckon I might go in that direction - especially the H6 engined one, Juddian.

After many hours trying to make my way through the maze of getting insurance in Canada it seems it might be easier and cheaper to buy a vehicle here, ship it over drive round for a year and ship it back! The problem with the Canadian insurance is lack of any no claims on Canadian roads so quotes are likely to be in the region of £4k. RoRo shipping to Baltimore is in the region of £600 each way and I'm waiting on a response from a US insurance broker recommended on the Overland Association website. It also takes the pressure of finding a vehicle - I can take my time getting just what I want over here., rather than feeling railroaded into buying something there. 

Thanks again for the help

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The only trouble with shipping is that you'll more than likely be stuck with a RHD car, which would make the driving over there less enjoyable and arguably sightly less safe, though you could get a very well priced post 2006 H6 which are cheap now due to £500+ VED over here, if you could find a LHD H6 it might be saleable over there after though that's probably an even larger can of worms.

Would it be any easier/cheaper in vehicle costings to start your trip in the USA, buy and insure there? You could buy an older car in a dry state, oh and if fuel costs aren't too much of an issue, there's some supremely reliable Toyota 4x4's in the States, Sequoia, Landcruiser to name just two, many of which sit on at least rear air suspension and would prove roomy and easily saleable again after your mega trip, again especially dry state vehicles that won't have any chassis rot, a good LHD Toyota 4X4 might even be worth shipping it back for sale in europe (we won't be leaving the EU in yours or my lifetimes), but be aware large Toyota 4x4's get under your skin they are that good, i'm on my 4th and have no intention of not having one in my life.

Just chucking some thoughts at you.

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