Best Subaru dealerships in the DC/VA/MD area.
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bawalker
March 14, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Hey all, I'm still in the process of looking for a good Subaru Outback wagon to replace my ever so slowly dying explorer. So far in the last two months I've came across some nice cars, but either the dealerships or used car lots are wanting to try to rape me for the vehicles. One even had a 2001 Outback Wagon for $19,200!!!

I really want to expand my search out of the Winchester/Harrisonburg area as nothing really is becoming available up here that is price worthy, or the ones that are price worthy are from former smokers, torn up interior, engine problems, etc.
wvrocks
March 15, 2005
Member since 11/9/2004
260 posts
Its kind of out of your specified region but I've had good luck with John Howard Subaru in Morgantown, WV. You can check their inventory here
kennedy
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
The Farish Subaru dealership in Fairfax is pretty much 2 minutes away from me. If you see something on their website and you want me to take a quick look let me know. I'm no mechanic but I could at least see if it looks decent.

I've had the dying car need to get something soon thing, not fun. Dealerships will really try to put you over a barrel. Don't let them. If you're are going to buy this month pick what you want then wait for the most miserable day in the middle of the week near the end of the month to go make your deal.

So help me, my next car will be a Impreza WRX or a Legacy GT sedan. If they manage to bring it out over hear I would prolly give a body part for the Legacy WRX they have been developing...... drooooollllll.
Reisen
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
Anyone heard anything about the new Ford Hybrid Escape? My girlfriend and I both drive sports cars, and she's really jonesing for an SUV, but I'm a bit of an environmentalist, and am not crazy about the gas mileage (or paying for the gas mileage either). It seems a hybrid SUV could be the best of both worlds. Plus, I believe it allows you to drive in the HOV lanes around the DC metro area, which could be nice.
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kwillg6
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005
2,020 posts
I went through the process of trying to find a replacement outback for my 98 last year. My requirements were that it had to have a 5 speed for mountain driving. Got one at Brown Suburau in Charlottesville. Good price too if no trade. They were more willing to dicker on a new one than a used one. Little price difference as well We bought an 04 in 11/03 for just under 22k. A used 02 was 18k with 65k miles. A 00 with 80k miles was 16k. The extra money for new rather than previously loved wasn't too much given the miles. My son is driving the 98 now and it has 165k still getting 27 mpg (5-speed). You'll see him tooling around the valley since he's taken up residence in my place there. He runs chains on the front and can climb/decend any road up there. Sorry about the tangents on the thread!
kennedy
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Reisen that HOV rule is going away real soon. The Hybrids became a vitim of their own usefullness. So many people bought them to drive in the HOV that the government decided not to extend that privelege beyond the initial trial period. So now it's really going to be the savings in gas that will be the attactive part of owning one.

as a side question. I know stick shift gets better gas mileage than auto. But does this same savings in gas apply if you have an auto with the tiptronic shifter option??

I would love to own a stick, especially a Subie, but the constant traffic would eventually making my clutching leg freakishly more muscular than my other leg. In addition I hate to think how often you need to do clutch maintenance and replacement. Tiptronic seems to be the best of both worlds. Auto when you need it, stick when you feel it.
JR
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
Sorry but Triptronic is basically an easier and more fun way to push the stick through your automatic gear selecter. Automatics are continually getting better with efficiency but they get worse mileage because they basically use fluid to move your car instead of metal on metal contact. You lose alot of your power through the fluid/transmission interaction.

You can really get better gains in mileage by your driving habits than your transmission selection. If you see a red light ahead throw it in Neutral and coast up to it instead of racing to it like your on meet the parents. The less you use the gas and break the better your mileage will get. You'd be surprised how much of a difference it makes. I've messed around with it a little with my Civic and being really conservative managed just over 41 mpg one tank. If I drive it like I want to I only get around 28 or so. Big difference.

Here in Ohio they have blinking lights about a quarter of a mile before all of the stop lights telling you its gonna change to red. You can actually make a run from the beltway through 20-25 stoplights without stopping once if you use those things to time your braking and accellerating. Its fun to watch cars zip past you and then you pass them while they're accelerating from a stop at the light that you just avoided through smart driving. Some people around here don't take kindly to people that don't drive as fast as possible from stoplight to stoplight.
snowcone
March 15, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
From what I understand about the new hybrid SUVs is that, yes they do get better mileage compared to regular SUVs, but not necessarily to a normal 4wd sedan. In addition you may save money on gas [not as much as you might think] but you -must- replace the battery at 70-90k miles [depending on the manufacturer/model] .. apparently the new batteries are grossly expensive and offset any savings you make on gas. A recent article I read brings the TCO of the hybrids in as more expensive than a comparable non-hybrid vehicle. The best bet, in my estimation, is to buy a mid range SUV with decent mileage and just suck it up.

We own a Nissan Xterra SE which serves us very well. We kayak, bike, offroad, and, of course, ski ... the 'X' gets us everywhere we want to go with efficiency and no fuss. At 4 years and counting we have 95K on it with absolutely no problems [knock wood] and when it dies we will replace it with another X. Actually I'm drooling over the new 'Offroad' X that Nissan is offering this year. What a machine! www.newx.com . Our other car is a Subaru Outback 4wd which is good enough for local trips on pavement ... and the mileage isn't all that much better than the X.

So, if what you want gas efficiency, an SUV is not the way to go. On the other hand, if you want a vehicle that is a too cool play toy and can get you practically anywhere off the beaten path, then I can unreservedly recommend the Nissan Xterra 4x4.

Oh and about the driving in the HOV lanes? .. seems Virginia is on track to terminate that privilege. From what I have read, it looks like this spring will be the end of the HOV line for hybrids. Maryland never did offer that perk for the hys.

If you only intend to use the SUV for play and not commuting then a manual transmission is a good deal otherwise if you commute in the beltway like I do, a stick is totally out of the question unless you have nerves of steel, and right quads/shins of iron.

Finally, if you buy an Xterra 4x4 let me know, there are a bunch of us that do offroading trips to Shenandoah, OBX etc. ... we'd luv to have ya!
JR
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
I had a professor that was head of the hybrid team at the university tell me the way to build a Hybrid vehicle once.

Something along the lines of: Install batteries. Connect a generator into the driveline for regenerative braking. Connect the generator to the batteries. Place a sack of money in the backseat. Drive it off a cliff.
kennedy
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
JR and snowcone, good stuff to know. My buddy I'm riing to & Springs with this weekend has an '04 Xterra that I am really looking forward to riding in. If I had the financial ass right now I'd go buy one of the new Pathfinders, sweet.
snowcone
March 15, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
kennedy ...NAWWWW! Not the Pathy!

Our neighbors wife convinced him to trade in his Xterra on a Pathy and he now hates himself and is trying to figure out how to get rid of the Pathy and get a new X, without his wife making his life miserable for a very long time ... poor guy!
Really, really go look at the 05 Xterra [link: www.newx.com] ... its a truly awesome vehicle for a not awesome price. Fully loaded [the works! Including Fosgate and satellite, Bilsteins, full skid plates, etc., etc] the total comes at 30k and small change. Without the special goodies but with 4x4, X prices out at 23.5k. Hmmm .. anyone want to buy my X? give ya a good deal!!! I'm just drooling [very unladylike] over the new X.

Please don't get me wrong, we do love Fred our Outback. He gets us back and forth for all our local stuff. But, the X is our travel machine. I wouldn't want to travel 80mph in a Subaru with two 17ft sea yaks on the roof ... our X does it without a whimper and barely perceptible decrease in fuel efficiency.
kennedy
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Aaaawwww, but the Pathy looks so nice. I'm not going to lie I am very weak for Subies and the Nissan SUV's (but not the Murano). .
Reisen
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
JR is correct about the tiptronics. Because they still use a torque converter (filled with fluid), they don't help gas mileage. I believe average HP/Fuel effiency loss to a torque converter is like 18%.

If you're really looking for the best of both worlds, you need to go with something like BMW's SMG (Sequential Manual Gearshift). It's a true "clutchless" manual, in that you can either drive it as an automatic or shift using the paddles. No torque converter equals much less drivetrain loss, and it can shift at speeds no human can match (fraction of a second). Note, SMG is different than BMW's regular steptronic, and only available on their M series cars (I think, or at least it used to be).

Both my girlfriend and I drive manuals as our daily drivers here in the metro area, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm used to driving a manual, having grown up and learned on them in Germany. One caveat, I did have to have my clutch and flywheel replaced at about 35,000 miles, but it was done under warranty, so didn't cost me a penny.

Assuming oil prices continue to rise, and we never again see the days of cheap gas (I remember it was as cheap as $.70 a gallon when I was in college in the late 90's), I wonder how TCO's will change in the favor of hybrids. Gas runs about $5 a gallon in Germany (actually, probably much more with the current exchange rate), and I'd bet at those prices, a hybrid gets much more attractive.

Gonna go look at that XTerra link now. I've always like them...
skier219
March 15, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
For the best prices on Subarus in that area, check Fitzgerald Auto Mall -- they have two Subaru locations (www.fitzmall.com). I bought an 05 Outback XT from the White Flint store last summer for invoice price with no haggling. They are a big dealer so selection is good (probably extends to used as well). I don't even live in the area, but it was worth the drive -- at the time, the car was brand new and most dealers were not bargaining at all.

Craig
bawalker
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Quote:

Its kind of out of your specified region but I've had good luck with John Howard Subaru in Morgantown, WV. You can check their inventory here




Actually that is NOT far out of my way at all. It's just a 3 hour drive west, rather than heading to Northern VA which is a 2.5 hour drive east. If there is a Subaru to be found, 5spd Outback I wanna see it.

Quote:

The Farish Subaru dealership in Fairfax is pretty much 2 minutes away from me. If you see something on their website and you want me to take a quick look let me know. I'm no mechanic but I could at least see if it looks decent.




Thanks!! If you happen to know of a 3rd party dealership down there and I find a used Subaru, I like to use my right to take a car in for a checkover by an independent mechanic who isn't involved in the sale or transaction to offer their opinion on it's quality.

I know many people here and in other forums I post on have suggested to pursue a new vehicle for the warranty and peace of mind... but honestly I can't really afford that. A few things about me... 1.) I abhor debt with a passion and non-simple interest loans. Running a business here I have more important priorities for finances than to dump all of this money into a big new car loan. I preferably don't want to break the $13k range for say a 2001-2002 model. 2.) I HATE the look of the new 05 Outbacks. 3.) I like making car salesmen cry ... or talking THEM into handing over the deed to their house.

In reality the car and loan is a nessecary evil, but I won't let it, or the people behind those things take advantage of me. I managed last Dec to get an overpriced 2001 navy blue 5spd Outback Ltd Ed wagon down from $19,200 to $12,900. It just so happened that the jerk salesman didn't hold it like he said he would so I could run home, get my financial papers ready and head back to get it.

I'm sorry while a new car is great, the depreciation is greater, the payments are higher, and my stress is even higher. All I need is a vehicle that if it lasts me 10 years, is paid off in 1-2 years via a simple interest loan and only costs me in addition basic maintenence, then thats all I need and will take with open arms.
kennedy
March 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
There is also a dealership in Cumberland MD. I know there of two other subaru dealerships in NOVA, Paul Brothers who I believe are in Reston and Stohlman in Tysons. I think Paul Brothers have reasonable pricing but I'm not sure.

I'm with you though I love crushing dealers. I have a loan calculator at work called Mathmate and it is usually accurate to within a few cents. Perfect for working out scenarios before you even set foot in the door.
twin58
March 15, 2005
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
Quote:

Automatics are continually getting better with efficiency but they get worse mileage because they basically use fluid to move your car instead of metal on metal contact. You lose alot of your power through the fluid/transmission interaction.




Dismantle an automatic transmission, and you will see that power is transmitted through several clutch packs, as well as a planetary gear train.

(This does not include CVT transmissions. I don't know how widespead they are. I think they were found in the Dutch DAF and the Subaru Justy.)

That leaves the torque converter. Locking torque converters were introduced in the late 1970s. I'm sure there are exceptions, and I can't provide, at this minute, a year-by-year history of the locking torque converter.

I rebuilt a TH350 automatic transmission five years ago. It is far and away the most fascinating mechanical device I have ever worked on.
JR
March 16, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
Thanks for the mini transmission class twin. I've been interested in how auto's work since I was a little kid. It blew my mind how it could be in gear and completely stopped with the engine still running. I just couldn't grasp it with only my 6 speed Huffy's tranny to go by

When I was in college we had a couple great classes on Manual Tranny's and CVT's but absolutely nothing, either on the board or in the text, about autos. We asked one of my profs and he basically said he wouldn't touch one of those things with a ten foot pole. We really couldn't get a single professor to explain how they work in any detail, kinda like how none of my Aerospace profs would tell us their opinion on the moon landing.

I wonder how much the locking torque converter helped efficiency and what exactly is the loss in a current auto compared to manual. I think one of the bigger differences was the fact that auto's were usually running 3 or 4 gears while manuals had 4, 5, and even 6. Now I've seen autos with 6 gears too so that has probably helped things.

I think CVT's are probably the thing of the future. Once the efficiency losses are minimized and people figure out how to drive them that is. I heard the Justy failed because people returned them thinking the tranny was slipping because the engine was running at such a fast constant speed when accelerating. Thats just the way it was supposed to work but it blew customers minds. I saw a year ago that they had one that actually had an option to adjust as though it was a 6 speed manual so that people that were weirded out by the sound and operation of the CVT could get that feeling of shifting through gears.

Anyway, I could go on about this stuff for days but I'll save you the boring, non-skiing ramblings. I can't wait for my job to start so I can talk to other nerds about nerdy stuff like this for money

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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