I spent part of the afternoon at car dealerships. I really hate shopping for cars, but I thought I should educate myself a bit on my options since my four-year lease on the Subaru Impreza Outback Sport is up in April, and I’m getting close to the 80,000km limit already. I just wanted to see what my options were for getting out of the lease early to avoid paying for the extra kilometres.

The first place I visited was the Subaru dealership. I test drove a couple of cars, including the 2006 Impreza wagon and the 2006 Legacy wagon. I wanted to try a Legacy sedan but they didn’t have any in manual transmission. I also wanted to try another Outback Sport, but they didn’t have one on the lot. The Impreza wagon is just a stripped-down version of the Outback Sport anyway.

2006 subaru legacy sedan

The Legacy was sweet. It has the same engine as the Impreza, but is quieter and more refined. The fit and finish of the interior is better too. It’s more expensive, but it adds quite a few things, including better brakes, better suspension, and heated seats, which are a must, in my opinion 😛

The Impreza was fun, and drove very similarly to my own car. The ride was a bit rougher, but that’s to be expected because the Outback Sport has heavy-duty raised suspension. The interior looked a bit cheaper than the Outback Sport I’m driving now. I’m wondering if Subaru is starting to cut corners on the Imprezas.

The base model Legacy is $28,500 or so. That would make the lease payments more than what I’m paying now, since the interest rates a have gone up. The Outback Sport isn’t much less than that… maybe $1000 cheaper. In my opinion it’s well worth the extra money over a four year lease to gain the extras included in the Legacy.

I visited a second dealership today too. I bought my Outback Sport there in 2002, and since then he’s lost his Subaru franchise. The guys at the Subaru dealership were bad mouthing him like crazy while I was there, complaining that he’s finding ways to get the cars cheaper, and selling them cheaper too. I think it’s mainly sour grapes. He’s able to buy and sell cars at lower prices, which doesn’t make the competition happy. I don’t particularly trust carsalesmen in general, and I bought two cars from this place with no trouble at all. Of course they’re going to try to rip you off. That’s the nature of the game. It’s just important to be educated when buying a car, and that’s what I’m working on right now.

Anyway, what I learned today is that Subaru isn’t going to cut me any deals or give me any incentives to stay. I love driving Subarus. They’re really designed for people who love to drive. Not only that, but I feel safe driving in any kind of weather and on any kind of road surface in my Subaru. My Subarus have saved my life more than once in the past. I have to balance that against value for money. I started looking around, and there are some pretty cool cars in that price range, including a loaded Volkswagen Golf TDi that runs 1000km on a tank of diesel fuel and costs less to fill too. If I want to buy something cheaper, there are loads of cars that offer much more than the Impreza for less money. Do I get something else that’s cheaper, and just stay at home when it snows?

I’m going to have to do some soul and wallet-searching in the next couple of months…