Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
2007 Forester LL Bean Automatic
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new member, and have been a lurker here for a little while. This forum has already served as an excellent resource that helped me decide to pursue a Forester over a RAV4 or CRV. I'm looking forward to joining you soon in Forester ownership!

I have been primarily looking at 2006-2009 automatic Foresters for the last 3 months, ideally with some premium interior features/bells and whistles. These seem to be the newest Foresters that fit within my price range ($15K maximum). I have two candidates from model year 2007 that I am debating, described below. I have never purchased a used vehicle, and it is an intimidating experience. Any advice or opinions from the knowledgeable members here would be fantastic. Specially, I reckon I'm wondering in a vacuum which vehicle below people may prefer, whether the premium price for the low-mileage vehicle would ultimately be worth it in terms of additional years I may get out of it, and if there are any factors people feel I may be overlooking in making this decision.

Forester A and B should be easy to compare to each other as they are the same year and model, but I still find myself on the fence between them. They are both metallic green 2007 LL Bean Foresters with clean, paid titles. Both have only been owned by single families who kept good service records. I have had good interactions with both owners and have no reason to believe that they are being dishonest. I have test driven both along the same route (including city, highway, uphill, downhill, parking, some winding and hairpin turns, and some rough cobblestone) and had favorable impressions. I am no expert, but I did not notice any great difference between them during the drives - both handled smoothly, didn't make any peculiar noises, and maneuvered and broke well. I intend to have both vehicles inspected by a mechanic.

Forester A:

Odometer: 104,500
Asking price: $10,100 (negotiable)
KBB price: $11,408 for "Good," $10,308 for "Fair"

Driving history:

Has averaged nearly 15k miles per year since new; driven the first three years of the car's life on a good amount of highway miles (the owner would commute 2.5 hours twice weekly). For the last few years, it has been driven fewer miles, in a normal city/highway combination. The car has been driven cross-country and used in various parts of the country - Massachusetts, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest.

Maintenance history:

Has received its regularly scheduled maintenance. Oil changes at approximate 7500 intervals per the manual. Alternator replaced 1.5 years ago. Catalytic converter welded to exhaust pipe 6 months ago.

*Will require standard 105K timing belt/water pump/idlers/tensioners replacement;* the owner set the asking price slightly below "Fair Condition" KBB price to compensate for this fact. Based on the rough research I have done so far, this service could cost anywhere from $850-$1250.

Flaws:

Several minor scratches on the sides of the car and top of the bumper consistent with age/people being idiots in parking lots; with the light paint these are a little more noticeable than I would admittedly like, but these are nowhere near deal-breakers.

One golf ball-sized dent on the rear hatch next to the license plate caused by the corner of a rolling shopping cart. One dime-sized dent underneath the passenger mirror likely from a car door. I doubt that I would spend to get either repaired.

The sliver of leather and suede on the driver's side seat closest to the door (where one's butt would slide in and out) shows signs of wear - mostly creasing, possibly minor cracking. The rest of that seat and the interior as a whole is in good condition.

Possible Red Flags/Considerations:

The Forester has had mismatched tires for 2.5-3 months. The owner got a flat this summer and financially opted to only replace the front two tires at that time, intending to do the rear later on. Instead, they opted to sell the car in order to purchase a van (they just had a baby). The tires on it currently are summer tires, and I would look to replace them all immediately with quality all-weather. I know having matching tires with the same tread is important for all-wheel drive vehicles - could up to 3 months and a few thousand miles have had a dramatic impact on the condition of the car? This is admittedly something I don't really know and a worry of mine.

15K miles averaged per year does not seem excessive, but it is well used. Too high of miles for the investment?

Misc. Pros:

No accidents whatsoever. Significantly less expensive. Has the vinyl mat in the cargo area + cargo cover (Forester B only has the four LL Bean floor carpets and no cargo cover). The owner of this vehicle strikes me as an exceedingly upstanding individual who I would feel very comfortable dealing with (I do like Forester B's owner as well, but this is above and beyond). Despite the mileage and cost, it might be a nice feeling to have the "fresh" 105K service, so it should be good to run for many years (knock on wood for the head gaskets...).

----------------------------------------------------------

Forester B

Odometer: 47,500
Asking price: $15,000 (firm)
KBB price: $16,268 for "Good"

Driving history:

Averaged nearly 7K miles per year since new. The car is being sold by a son who purchased it new for his mother to use; she drove it primarily on suburban streets on errands. Occasional highway. Two extended road trips roundtrip from Washington to Arizona. The owner says that the car has not sat for any extended periods of time.

Maintenance history:

Has received its regularly scheduled maintenance through 30K service from the Subaru dealer where it was purchased. Oil changes at approximately 5K-7.5K intervals. Matching all-weather tires with decent tread remaining.

Replaced hood and front bumper 2 years ago from hail storm damage.

Replaced driver's door, side panel, airbag 6 years ago - see "Possible Red Flag" below.

Flaws:

A few minor scratches consistent with age, but better overall than Forester A.

Cracked portion of the *case* of the passenger side mirror. The mirror itself and the turn signal are fully functional/unblemished. Caused by another vehicle in a parking lot. I would likely want to get this repaired despite it being only aesthetic in nature, it would drive me nuts always being in my view.

Possible Red Flags/Considerations:

The car has been involved in an accident, approximately 6 years ago. The owners were upfront about this, and the information they provided matched the CarFax report. The mother was driving on the highway when an unsecured garbage can fell off a truck in front of her and hit the car. This caused the driver's side airbag to deploy, and she swerved against the rail on the shoulder, leaving some scratches/gouges on the side. The front door, side panel, and airbag were all replaced by the dealer, confirmed in the service record. There doesn't appear to have been mechanical damage, but any accident history with a deployed airbag can be a red flag.

7K miles a year in the suburbs sounds nice, but since it probably has been used mostly on stop and go roads with light highway use, is this less than preferable? Are there components that I should worry about with age, not mileage, as the car is already about 7 years old? I would likely get extra years out of this car, but will I want to still be driving a 2007 that far in the future?

Misc. Pros:

Better deal on the asking price vs. KBB value than Forester A. While the driving experience between the two cars felt very similar, most aspects of the exterior and interior of Forester B were slightly superior to Forester A. May hold its value better due to the lower mileage, should I want to sell it years down the road.

---------------------------------------------------

My lifestyle:

I live in Seattle in the city and estimate that I would drive around 11,000-12,000 miles each year. I prefer automatic transmission. I would be purchasing either vehicle outright. In addition to my daily work commute, I lead an active lifestyle and would be using the Forester to travel to the mountains to ski, hike, camp, visit fire lookouts (dirt roads), etc. I'm not planning on extended road trips beyond Washington-British Columbia-Oregon, I usually fly longer distances. I would likely prefer to keep and drive whatever Forester I purchase for 7 or more years, and don't envision myself flipping it anytime soon.

Ultimately, unless the mechanic indicates something surprising on either car, the decision comes down to a trade-off of cost vs. mileage. Is it better to gamble on the higher mileage but cheaper Forester A (I am confident the seller will compromise on a sub-$10K price), or should I pay the premium for the low mileage of Forester B (though a good deal compared to KBB, $15K does seem like a lot to put into a 2007)?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, and I look forward to reading any opinions on A vs. B vs. neither.
 
G

·
Welcome to the forum, but holy word fort, Batman!

Possible Red Flags/Considerations:

The Forester has had mismatched tires for 2.5-3 months.
Definitely a big red flag. Say goodbye to your center diff if they didn't put the FWD fuse in. Even so, the FWD fuse is only supposed to be used for less than 50 miles when you get a flat and have to use the undersized donut spare.
 

·
Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
Joined
·
41,249 Posts
Welcome to the forum from Oregon! :biggrin:

If I had to pick one, I'd go with Forester "B", but only if it passes a prepurchase inspection. :confused:

It's been in a wreck with airbag deployment, so this will be a problem if you decide to sell this vehicle later on. The seller says the price is firm, but perhaps a cash offer would work for the seller & the buyer. :wink:

Sorry, but Forester "A" has more wear + it's due for the expensive 105K miles or 105 months maintenance! :icon_eek:

Good luck with your Forester purchase! :cool:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top