I don't own a Subaru (yet?), but am very attracted to the Forester, and doing a lot of research on it right now. Since I'll be switching from a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, I want to make sure I won't be disappointed by going to a Subie. Main reasons for switching are that the Jeep still runs great, but has started to accumulate repair bills and annoying little things like a non-working AC with no apparent leak; worn door hinges and sticky door knobs that have my father-in-law worried about his daughter being stuck in a wreck (God forbid); a short somewhere in the speaker cable tree; a hatch lock that magically unlocks itself once we drive for more than a mile; and other little things.
Our main priority in considering a new vehicle is impact safety due to distracted drivers around us. That's how we ended up looking at a Subaru. If we decide on this brand, we are pretty set on a Forester, as my wife is tall and hated the seating position in the Outback, and I as well, coming from the Jeep, really like the more upright and raised position in the Fozzie.
My main concerns at this point are the off-road worthiness compared to the Jeep. I have no interest in wheeling for the sake of the sport, but we do like to explore the backcountry of Arizona and the desert southwest, especially Baja California. I have driven some backroads in Baja that were no issue for the Cherokee, but I'm not sure a Subaru would be able to make it. On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far in several photos on this forum and in YouTube videos, in terms of what Subarus can pull off, apparently.
In my head, I'm already planning mods like skid plates, a lift kit and little things like a tow-ring, mudflaps, etc.
Cargo volume, too, is a priority for us. We frequently go to bluegrass festivals, and that means we need a vehicle that can fit camping equipment, a guitar case and an upright bass.
Any tips on what to look for, or advice on what model (year etc.) to get would be greatly appreciated. We are thinking of buying used (2014 or later), unless people here think that's a bad idea for whatever reason.
Based on what I've researched so far, I'm under the impression we definitely want the X mode feature, which only the 2014 models or newer have, correct?
What about other things to look for in a used vehicle? Stuff to be aware of, check for, etc.
How much mileage do you consider the max of what we should accept? .My Jeep has a quarter million, so I'm spoiled in that regard...
What about the turbo? Both my wife and I drive like little old ladies, due to the fact that my Jeep has had an issue from the very beginning that restricts the driver to accelerating very gently, so that won't be an issue. But if the turbo is beneficial or indispensable off road, that would be good to know.
Thank you all!