I was out test driving cars today. Currently I’m weighing the Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sedan against the Audi A3 2.0T.
Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sedan
- All Wheel Drive. Once you have it, it’s hard to let go, and I’ve had it for eight years now. Subaru is particularly good at making AWD cars, because every Subaru has it built-in. I will find it difficult to go back to front wheel drive if I choose something other than a Subaru. AWD has saved my butt from being stuck in the snow numerous times in the past. The Legacy has some great suspension tuning too. The handling is nothing short of spectacular. I accelerated into a 40km/h on-ramp and hit the apex at 80km/h and the car did not squeal or shift or slip at all. It was flat, with all four wheels firmly on the ground. I get the feeling I could have gone around that curve faster, but the sales dude was sitting beside me, and I didn’t want to push my luck. I actually said, “Wow!” out loud though.
- Great engine design. I really like the Subaru boxer design, which is very low and balanced. That means the centre of gravity in the car is low, and vibration is minimal. The Subaru engine is quiet and powerful, and its low mounting helps the car handle better too. The engine is 10 horsepower and 10 foot pounds of torque more powerful than the engine in my Outback Sport, and I can feel the difference.
- Uses regular unleaded fuel. A lot of sports sedans are tuned to use premium grade fuel, which is 10 cents/L more expensive than regular unleaded. Gas keeps getting more expensive, so the less I spend on gas, the better I feel.
- Price. Subaru is offering me a 1% reduction in the lease rate because my two previous cars were Subarus. That makes a pretty decent difference, considering the normal rate is 3.8%. Monthly payments on the Legacy would be about $470 including taxes with a $3000 deposit that includes my first month’s payment. That’s within my budget.
- Somewhat mundane styling. Subaru has always been a bit oddball in styling. The Legacy looks nice, but it’s not a standout.
- Inability to upgrade to an aftermarket stereo. The instrument panel is one smooth piece, with the buttons highly integrated into it. You can’t change the stereo at all. That means I can’t install my Pioneer MP3 deck. Booo!
- Fuel economy isn’t the greatest. AWD is many things, but fuel-efficient isn’t one of them.
- Insurance is somewhat high. It’s more than I’m paying now, and more than for the A3. Apparently claims are high on this car after a collision.
- Warranty is only three years/60,000km.
Audi A3 2.0T
- Styling. I really love the look of this car. It’s got a very refined finish, and the design is functional and aggressive yet elegant and very classy. The interior is comfortable and well laid-out. I am very impressed.
- 6-speed manual transmission. Rowr!
- Very functional interior with high-quality materials.
- Really cool 2.0L turbo engine with direct fuel injection. This gives better milage and more power. It’s hard to beat that.
- Scheduled maintenance is included for four years. The warranty is four years too.
- Expensive lease rates. The lease rate is 7.8%. So even with a high residual value, and buying a bare bones base demonstrator model that lacks things that I have come to love (heated seats and mirrors, AWD) the car is still $100 more per month than the Subaru.
- Value for money is questionable. The base model is missing the heated seats and mirrors, as I mentioned. I wouldn’t even consider upgrading to the AWD (Quattro) model that comes with the 3.2L engine because the fuel costs would be ridiculous, not to mention an additional $12,000 😐 The options are overpriced. Heated seats and mirrors cost $900. The sunroof is reasonable at $1500, but you can’t find a car with one without also getting the $3000 sport or premium packages.
- Uses premium fuel only.
I’ve got some thinking to do, but just typing out this list makes me lean heavily towards the Subaru.