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Hello - Newbie looking for buying advice please!


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Hi all, 

First, thank you for letting me join the forum. 

I'm looking at buying an estate and I need something rugged and reliable for the roads up over the Long Mynd in Shropshire (where I live). I currently have an Alfa Giulietta (which is beautiful), but I'm slowly killing it by driving it along the cambered, rough lanes with it's belly scraping over every little hump and bump. I have decided that the Alfa has to go..! 

I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, so need an estate for the boot space and a 4WD for the slightly higher ride height and more capability (especially during Autumn & Winter when the roads around here can get quite bad). I will also be making regular (once or twice a week) trips over to Worcester, which is about 45 miles each way on twisty A roads and is prone to flooding. 

I've narrowed my choices down to a Subaru and would be happy with an Impreza, Legacy, Outback or Forester (although the Forester might be slightly more than I need).

Sadly, I am not made of money so have a budget of £4k as an absolute maximum. 

I am not fussed between petrol or diesel (I probably do about 10-12k miles a year). I just want to get something which is relatively bombproof, and which I don't need to be precious about (as I do with my Alfa currently). 

I've mainly looked at Legacy's so far (2.0 R) and there seem to be a few out there with fairly decent mileage which are within budget. 

I'd really appreciate a few pointers as to what I should be looking out for in terms of common issues and what I should be checking for in terms of service history. 

Any advice or guidance which you could provide would be much appreciated. Incidentally, if anyone is selling anything which might be suitable please feel free to let me know! 


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avoid subaru diesel at all cost and modern diesels in general .
If you want bombproof then old is gold and your 4K more than needed .
Outback or Forester would be my recommendation, very late 90's to early 2005 being better made and packing benefits of less troublesome expensive and wasteful emission equipment and some benefits on road tax .
Outback hard to find manual transmission and the bombproof engine on those is the ez 6 cylinders (the are a marvel)
The Forester 2.0 is an amazingly versatile vehicle but boot not massive but still might be enough for you and they great on visibility and manoeuvring better than many tiny hatchbacks, they a brilliant all rounder and can be incredibly low cost run for what can do with one .
SG forester up to 2005 can be good buy and you got enough budget buy proper nice one and have money left for any niggles like new set of tyres and some servicing work if needed .
Don't be bothered about age, newer isn't more reliable, far from it actually . Main thing is proper good look under rear for rust, subframes and rear suspension can suffer on these .
Engines should be a smooth pur and rumble when revved, check all electrics, front window motors can fail but they cheap fix (read the forum)
Forester rear self levelling suspension can sag buy again can be fixed fairly easy .
Try an view a few local even if not exact model you want as you only get good idea on good vs bad once gained knowledge looking at a lot .
If buy carefully could be cheapest most reliable most usable vehicle you owned .


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