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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone,

December is finally here, and within the next week or two I'll be able to qualify for the VIP program again. I had accidentally let my auto-renewal to one of the partners turn off, and lost my status.

So, I am a little torn and I was hoping for some opinions from the community before I head in and sign on the line, and wanted to talk out loud, if nothing else to organize my thoughts. Feel free to chime in with your two cents, don't hold back. I'll be including several specific numbers about my trade in that have been discussed, but nothing specifically about the Ascent aside from the expected pricing.

First and foremost, my current vehicle will be traded in. I own a 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5 Limited. I am projecting to have about 95-97k miles on it by the time I would expect to take the Ascent in February-March-April "ish". Fortunately, my car qualifies for the GTP so they've told me that I can expect GTP -$100 because of a dent on the trunk lid that was the result of a bike rack (non-collision damage). This was actually more of a deduction but I was able to negotiate to reduce that because of the options on the car like the Remote Start.

So I'm projecting somewhere around $9000-9500 as GTP, which is useful because it will reduce the tax implications. Further, it appears that I would expect somewhere around $7500-$8000 if it was a non-GTP trade in, which seems to be consistent.

The biggest reason I am shopping for the Ascent is because with two boys in car seats, and probably another 5 years of car seats since my youngest is 4, the middle seat of my Outback is not usable by an adult. Also, I have some big maintenance heading my way for the Outback: I'm going to absolutely need tires in the next 12 months, and at 105,000 I'm due for a timing belt service. Couple that together and add the "GTP" inflated value, and we're probably looking at a difference of around $4000.

I've considered just hanging onto the Outback instead, since I've always kept the maintenance current and almost all of it has been done at the dealer (I do my own oil changes now, but I do bring it to the dealer every 6 months for a tire rotation and complimentary inspection - it's worth the $20). I also had the torque converter replaced per the extended warranty after it had some stuttering symptoms in April of 2018.

But, there's other reasons beyond the practical "middle seat" that I'm hoping for. EyeSight would make my commute a bunch easier and safer, even though I am a good driver (I'm of the opinion that EyeSight makes a good driver better)... My car presently doesn't have Bluetooth A2DP, which allows you to stream music to the stereo. I've got a workaround in place, but it requires the AUX connection. So, I can't use the steering wheel controls and have to either fiddle with the phone or use my Apple Watch to skip songs. I'd also like to have some other modern comforts like LED headlights, which I'll get into more detail down below in "Decision Time"... Another small but important to me detail is the remote start not turning off the engine when you open a door. I'm sure this is causing extra wear and tear on my starter because almost every day in the winter I'll RS my Outback for about 5 minutes...)

Truly and honestly, I don't need a third row car. I just would like a bigger second row car to make that middle seat viable. I'm in the car by myself to work, about 10 miles through some mixed urban/highway, or around 20 miles through almost all highway depending on my route/traffic. I'll have the kids either to drop off in the morning or pick up after school since I work shift work and I'm constantly rotating shifts. My wife drives a third-row SUV and that would be the trip we'd take for a family car down for a vacation in South Jersey or if we did anything together. It's also an 8-seater, so that's why I like the 7-seater option for the Ascent, regardless of trim. (We have family near by, so the 4 of us and 4 of them, we'll carpool to NYC or events together.)

Anyway, it looks like the invoice at the Touring is around $44k with the options I've picked. With the GTP at $9000, we're looking that the cost is about $35k. NJ sales tax of 6.625% would make it bump up to $37300, so I'll round up to $38k just to cover any doc fees and StarLink subscriptions I'm not factoring in yet. Interest at present 3.49% will push it up to $39,300, so we'll say $40k to make it easier math.

That's about $635/month for 63 months per the terms of their financing.... I know it's not completely accurate to the penny, but it's close enough to work with in terms of numbers. If they offered a 72 at the time of acquisition, I'd do that too. I understand I pay more in interest and have a longer car payment, but I still have about 18 months left on my wife's SUV payment. I want to minimize the immediate out-of-pocket expense from month to month, even if it means paying a few bucks more in the long run.

I don't necessarily "need" the Touring, but again I would be looking at this purchase to have for a long time - 15+ years.

I looked at the Premium 7p with the KAS/RAB package (not the navi one) and that invoice is around $36k. That would be around $475 a month for 63, or $420 at 72 if it was available.

So, for $150 per month I think I'd like to have the LED's and other goodies that the Touring offers. Invoice on the Limited 7p would be around $42000. That makes a difference of around $30/month comparing the Limited 7p with HK package compared to the Touring - and the Touring has the ventilated seats, smart rear camera, and front camera. That seems like a no-brainer.

So, decision time...

I know the 2019 Forester now offers LED (non-SRH) head lights in its Sport trim. I imagine these will trickle-down or at least be a package/option for the non SRH LED's in the future, so the question becomes what do I do in the meantime?

Simply put, I can order an Ascent (which then brings up the question: LED lights, Ventilated Seats, Smart Rear-View Camera, and Frontal Camera worth it? I won't use the Navigation - I would use CarPlay with my iPhone...) I could put a rider in the "pre-order" contract that I'd get a refund of my deposit and released from the contract if my car didn't qualify for the GTP (or given trade value equivalent) or was unable to get financing.

Or, should I wait for the 2021/22 redesign and then look at it again, and compare it to the Gen6 Outback which will also probably have the same 2.4T inside it, with a body style I'm already familiar and comfortable with?

If I wait and hold the Outback, again we're looking at probably close to $1000 for tires + road force balancing + alignment costs, and then we'd be looking at $1000 for a "proper" OEM timing belt change including the tensioners and pulleys, and then there's the expected drop of $2000 when the Outback is no longer GTP qualified. So, if I had to put that into a monthly expense, we'd be looking at around "$170" per month in all those things over the course of 24 months that I "wait" with the intent to get a new car anyway. I could also consider upgrading the OEM head unit to an aftermarket with CarPlay support for around $500. And there's also the fact that the car is going to be 10 years old, and well, things happen.

I'm not afraid of the FA24 nor the HTCVT in it. Subaru goes out of their way to overbuild components, especially in the first model year. I am confident that even if I experience issues, they will go out of their way to help me.

Thanks for hearing me out - I appreciate your opinions both publicly and privately messaged.
 

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The biggest reason I am shopping for the Ascent is because with two boys in car seats, and probably another 5 years of car seats since my youngest is 4, the middle seat of my Outback is not usable by an adult.


.....[out-of-sequence].....


Truly and honestly, I don't need a third row car. I just would like a bigger second row car to make that middle seat viable. I'm in the car by myself to work, about 10 miles through some mixed urban/highway, or around 20 miles through almost all highway depending on my route/traffic. I'll have the kids either to drop off in the morning or pick up after school since I work shift work and I'm constantly rotating shifts. My wife drives a third-row SUV and that would be the trip we'd take for a family car down for a vacation in South Jersey or if we did anything together. It's also an 8-seater, so that's why I like the 7-seater option for the Ascent, regardless of trim. (We have family near by, so the 4 of us and 4 of them, we'll carpool to NYC or events together.)

When my BIL's family was here, my in-laws equipped both of their vehicles - Toyota Camrys - with two (since my daughter and my older nephew were very close in age) infant-carriers and then car-seats in the rear seat. That really was very limiting.



With the current push for ERF seating (back when my daughter was that age, that data was still inconclusive), I can imagine the inconvenience.



Our family also doesn't really need a third-row vehicle, and to an extent, also not one this big.



As with you, I'm usually the one who drops-off and picks-up my daughter - our only child - from school and her extracurricular activities. Aside from that, as my daily-driver, I'm the lone commuter in the vehicle. Truthfully, that's the one area where I thought that my '16 Outback really excelled: it was extremely fuel-efficient and had plenty of room for our needs, and accomplished this - its main task - very smartly and effectively.



[ It was a 2.5i Limited w/nav - whose lack of highway-speeds power and off-the-line grunt were the only true complaints I had with it. My complaint was not just framed in the fact that I loved what my modified '05 LGT had been capable of, as I was even plenty satisfied with the H6 in my '13 Tribeca. My frustration was so frequently voiced that my daughter, whose first interaction with a car was my modified LGT and who has now had considerable experience as a passenger in her mother's WRXs ('05 and '16) and FXTs ('09 and '13), proceeded to name the OB Leo, short for "Leo the Lazy Lion," based on the sounds she made as she struggled to respond to my WOT demands when playing Frogger on our daily commute and during our highway road-trips. ]



With me and my wife up front, my daughter and our dog (medium sized Goldendoodle, about 40-55 lbs, depending on his haircut at the time of weigh-in :grin:) in the back, it still has plenty of space for all of our stuff without the need to saddle-up my roof-top box. For example, taking my daughter to a two-week residential summer-camp this year in NC (from Cleveland, Ohio), we were able to comfortably fit all of her stuff (two large duffel bags, along with two backpacks) into the trunk, along with overnight bags for both myself (I'm an over-packer by nature) and my wife (she's my opposite, squarely in the "just enough" category), plus my usual "backpack of technologies" and my insistence on extra roadside emergency gear. We could've even taken the dog with us, if we wanted/needed to.



So, I get it. Simply more interior room would have been great.



The new Forester doesn't provide enough of that, unfortunately (this was both objective based on the spec'ed numbers, as well as subjectively with me and my daughter looking at the cars in the showroom). Plus the lack of a turbo variant also meant that I'd again be disappointed in performance). And with my lease on the OB due last month, I simply could not wait the interim for the new, bigger OB.



For me, I could justify this move up to the Ascent based on the fact that the next few years are likely to involve quite a bit more travel for our family as my nephews, now near DC, will be having their bar mitzvahs during the period of this lease. The ability of being able to *_comfortably_* fit my in-laws in the vehicle with our 3-member family (as the third row provides more than enough room for my daughter) - not necessarily for the trips, but definitely for the in-town shuttling to and from events - it's a bit of a reach for a justification...but it somewhat works. :eek:



Also, I have some big maintenance heading my way for the Outback: I'm going to absolutely need tires in the next 12 months, and at 105,000 I'm due for a timing belt service. Couple that together and add the "GTP" inflated value, and we're probably looking at a difference of around $4000.

A similar decision point was the reason why I also moved to leasing. My then-aging BL-platform (manufacturing date 06/2004) 5MT Legacy 2.5GT had reached a rather significant service milestone, and my wife used that opportunity/timing to push me into also leasing. I *_loved_* that car, and it was pushed as far as I could go without replacing the turbo and building up the engine (which had been my plan all along, right up to the point where my wife pushed me to trade it in :smile_big:) when an enthusiast flew in from out-of-state to buy it off a local dealership, I met him in-person and sent him off with a box of goodies that I'd saved from my time with her.



I've considered just hanging onto the Outback instead, since I've always kept the maintenance current and almost all of it has been done at the dealer (I do my own oil changes now, but I do bring it to the dealer every 6 months for a tire rotation and complimentary inspection - it's worth the $20). I also had the torque converter replaced per the extended warranty after it had some stuttering symptoms in April of 2018.


.....[out-of-sequence].....


If I wait and hold the Outback, again we're looking at probably close to $1000 for tires + road force balancing + alignment costs, and then we'd be looking at $1000 for a "proper" OEM timing belt change including the tensioners and pulleys, and then there's the expected drop of $2000 when the Outback is no longer GTP qualified. So, if I had to put that into a monthly expense, we'd be looking at around "$170" per month in all those things over the course of 24 months that I "wait" with the intent to get a new car anyway. I could also consider upgrading the OEM head unit to an aftermarket with CarPlay support for around $500. And there's also the fact that the car is going to be 10 years old, and well, things happen.


.....[out-of-sequence].....


My car presently doesn't have Bluetooth A2DP, which allows you to stream music to the stereo. I've got a workaround in place, but it requires the AUX connection. So, I can't use the steering wheel controls and have to either fiddle with the phone or use my Apple Watch to skip songs.

We're lucky in that we've been able to financially support the two leases on our daily-drivers. We know that we're trading-off a not insignificant amount of money for convenience. Sure, it wouldn't exactly be convenient if either or both vehicles were to require recurrent servicing, but the idea of both cars always being within their bumper-to-bumper coverage period during the terms of their leases really takes a big burden off our minds: with an older vehicle, no matter how well maintained, just like you said, there's always that underlying worry of the "what if."



Those items you mentioned in terms of mechanical servicing and tire replacement cannot go unattended, and in your shoes, I would also spend the extra money for the aftermarket head unit to support CarPlay (as I see this as more of a true safety issue. I'm not a big music guy, so this is just me being purely speculative, but I've now been behind the wheel for close to 29 years, and if there's one thing I've come to truly believe, it's that distracted driving is tremendously dangerous...to the point that I don't even like having to mess with the HVAC/climate-system controls. So as you can imagine, I'm on-board with your views about EyeSight, too (and even moreso now that I've had the chance to be intimate with it for the last two weeks).



[ Out of curiosity, is there something like the old harmon/kardon Drive+Play available? I used one in my '05 LGT, and aside from having to plug in the phone, I found that it was pretty convenient and definitely helped me keep more of my attention on the road (at least towards the front). For that matter, both the D+P and D+P2 systems are still available as new-in-box old-stock or near-new via many secondary sources. Combining it with a dedicated older iPhone (I bought a friend's 4 when she stepped up to the 5: note that this was years ago...the 4 charges via the D+P) - which should also be able to be purchased on-the-cheap, or you can even recycle on of your own - may be an acceptable stopgap that's also considerably less expensive. ]



That $170 a month for the next 24 months is a huge gap from your anticipated monthly payment for a new Ascent, and even if there were unaccounted-for expenses during that time, it would take a BIG event for the savings to match expenditure.



Logically, my brain is pushing for you to hang on to the OB.



But that desire-driven side of my brain is saying that the juice is worth the squeeze, and is really trying hard to justify that reach with precisely what you see as the advanced safety features available with the Ascent.



But, there's other reasons beyond the practical "middle seat" that I'm hoping for. EyeSight would make my commute a bunch easier and safer, even though I am a good driver (I'm of the opinion that EyeSight makes a good driver better)... <snipped> I'd also like to have some other modern comforts like LED headlights, which I'll get into more detail down below in "Decision Time"... Another small but important to me detail is the remote start not turning off the engine when you open a door. I'm sure this is causing extra wear and tear on my starter because almost every day in the winter I'll RS my Outback for about 5 minutes...)


<snipped>


So, for $150 per month I think I'd like to have the LED's and other goodies that the Touring offers. Invoice on the Limited 7p would be around $42000. That makes a difference of around $30/month comparing the Limited 7p with HK package compared to the Touring - and the Touring has the ventilated seats, smart rear camera, and front camera. That seems like a no-brainer.

I'd originally looked at the Limited w/package 23, too, and as with you, I very quickly reached the decision that the small extra bump for the features available on the Touring versus the Limited H/K was worth that little bit more per month. I resolved to give up some unhealthy snacks to make up for that difference in my monthly, and so-far, it's working pretty well, as the vehicle serves as a daily tactile reminder. :smile_big:



So, decision time...

I know the 2019 Forester now offers LED (non-SRH) head lights in its Sport trim. I imagine these will trickle-down or at least be a package/option for the non SRH LED's in the future, so the question becomes what do I do in the meantime?

Simply put, I can order an Ascent (which then brings up the question: LED lights, Ventilated Seats, Smart Rear-View Camera, and Frontal Camera worth it? I won't use the Navigation - I would use CarPlay with my iPhone...) I could put a rider in the "pre-order" contract that I'd get a refund of my deposit and released from the contract if my car didn't qualify for the GTP (or given trade value equivalent) or was unable to get financing.

Or, should I wait for the 2021/22 redesign and then look at it again, and compare it to the Gen6 Outback which will also probably have the same 2.4T inside it, with a body style I'm already familiar and comfortable with?

As I noted above, the logical side of me is saying that it may be smarter for you to wait-out, as you not only still have good service-life left in your OB, but you are also looking pretty financially smart via the numbers you ran.



But the other side of my brain is really pushing for you to get the Touring, given the small price gap between it and the "loaded" Limited. The ventilated front seats is, I am predicting, going to be a welcome summer addition for our hot-blooded family. The Smart Rear-View Camera has already made a difference with the kiddos (teenagers love their personal space!) in the third row and the headrests deployed (for one of my hobbies and for my daughter's summer camps, it seems that I'm just carrying more and more stuff, and this feature will make me much happier in that I no longer have to be so up-tight about not blocking the interior rear-view's sightline). Similarly, this is a bigger vehicle with a comparatively long front overhang, and that front-view camera really makes a difference when parking/maneuvering in tight situations (to the point that a passer-by gave me the evil-eye at how close I had cut the space between my front bumper and the parking structures nearby). If you're going to just load up the limited, I really don't think it's much of an up-sell to get the Touring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Wow. Thanks for the really detailed and truthful response. It seems like many families have issues with the car seats. I asked around at work and most people basically said once you have the second car seat, all bets are off for that middle seat - across many manufacturers.

We used to take the Outback as our vacation car. It's been to South Jersey, OBX, PA... And it was great when there was only 3 of us. But when #4 came around, we quickly found that space was limited. We do have a soft-top carrier we used with my OB for the summer vacation trips, and it works, but it is more tedious to fit everything like you've pointed out. It's not something I would regularly want to use.

...As with you, I'm usually the one who drops-off and picks-up my daughter - our only child - from school and her extracurricular activities. Aside from that, as my daily-driver, I'm the lone commuter in the vehicle. Truthfully, that's the one area where I thought that my '16 Outback really excelled: it was extremely fuel-efficient and had plenty of room for our needs, and accomplished this - its main task - very smartly and effectively.

[ It was a 2.5i Limited w/nav - whose lack of highway-speeds power and off-the-line grunt ... OB Leo, short for "Leo the Lazy Lion," based on the sounds she made as she struggled to respond to my WOT demands when playing Frogger on our daily commute and during our highway road-trips. ]
Funny you mention this. My wife's former car was a 2009 Legacy 2.5i, and while it was no "speedster" it was a lot of fun to drive. I do miss that car quite a bit. It wasn't practical for us in any sense, and the three-row she's got now has made our travelling lives much easier (even though it's regretfully not a Subie, but you can't buy what's not for sale...)

I very seldom hit WOT. Maybe one or two times a YEAR, if that. I notice that I have to really push WOT when there are other adults in the car. Obviously, 800 pounds extra weight will dog the engine. But, since we don't use it as much as the family hauler, I guess I don't really see that much power needed - and I live outside NYC in the NJ suburbs. I'll admit, about a year or two ago before the Ascent launched, I was pretty set on looking into a 3.6R, that's kind of what got the whole ball moving to begin with. If I could go back in time to when I bought the 2.5, I would probably have just bought the 3.6 and been done with it, and that would be fine.


The new Forester doesn't provide enough of that, unfortunately (this was both objective based on the spec'ed numbers, as well as subjectively with me and my daughter looking at the cars in the showroom). Plus the lack of a turbo variant also meant that I'd again be disappointed in performance). And with my lease on the OB due last month, I simply could not wait the interim for the new, bigger OB.

For me, I could justify this move up to the Ascent based on the fact that the next few years are likely to involve quite a bit more travel for our family as my nephews, now near DC, will be having their bar mitzvahs during the period of this lease. The ability of being able to *_comfortably_* fit my in-laws in the vehicle with our 3-member family (as the third row provides more than enough room for my daughter) - not necessarily for the trips, but definitely for the in-town shuttling to and from events - it's a bit of a reach for a justification...but it somewhat works.
Yeah, I saw they discontinued the Foz XT. Apparently it accounted for around 1-2% of total Foz sales, so I could see why they axed it. For now. The 2019 remodel is actually a lot bigger feeling inside compared to the outgoing 2018 model, but you're right, it's still smaller than the OB and the Legacy interior. The cargo area being "taller" than the OB has its usefulness.


A similar decision point was the reason why I also moved to leasing. My then-aging BL-platform (manufacturing date 06/2004) 5MT Legacy 2.5GT had reached a rather significant service milestone, and my wife used that opportunity/timing to push me into also leasing. I *_loved_* that car, and it was pushed as far as I could go without replacing the turbo and building up the engine (which had been my plan all along, right up to the point where my wife pushed me to trade it in :smile_big:) when an enthusiast flew in from out-of-state to buy it off a local dealership, I met him in-person and sent him off with a box of goodies that I'd saved from my time with her.

We're lucky in that we've been able to financially support the two leases on our daily-drivers. We know that we're trading-off a not insignificant amount of money for convenience. Sure, it wouldn't exactly be convenient if either or both vehicles were to require recurrent servicing, but the idea of both cars always being within their bumper-to-bumper coverage period during the terms of their leases really takes a big burden off our minds: with an older vehicle, no matter how well maintained, just like you said, there's always that underlying worry of the "what if."
I'm not entirely into the idea of leasing because I would prefer to take the $9000 value in my OB and put it towards something else. Everything depreciates, sure, but it's really, truly just money out the window. I can't really compare it to rent for a house because homes almost always go up in value - and cars essentially depreciate unless they become historically significant.


Those items you mentioned in terms of mechanical servicing and tire replacement cannot go unattended, and in your shoes, I would also spend the extra money for the aftermarket head unit to support CarPlay (as I see this as more of a true safety issue. I'm not a big music guy, so this is just me being purely speculative, but I've now been behind the wheel for close to 29 years, and if there's one thing I've come to truly believe, it's that distracted driving is tremendously dangerous...to the point that I don't even like having to mess with the HVAC/climate-system controls. So as you can imagine, I'm on-board with your views about EyeSight, too (and even moreso now that I've had the chance to be intimate with it for the last two weeks).

[ Out of curiosity, is there something like the old harmon/kardon Drive+Play available? I used one in my '05 LGT, and aside from having to plug in the phone, I found that it was pretty convenient and definitely helped me keep more of my attention on the road (at least towards the front). For that matter, both the D+P and D+P2 systems are still available as new-in-box old-stock or near-new via many secondary sources. Combining it with a dedicated older iPhone (I bought a friend's 4 when she stepped up to the 5: note that this was years ago...the 4 charges via the D+P) - which should also be able to be purchased on-the-cheap, or you can even recycle on of your own - may be an acceptable stopgap that's also considerably less expensive. ]
Yup, that's the catch-22 I'm in. I can't really delay the timing belt because if it fails I'll have essentially zero value in the car. Then again, if the transmission fails that'll essentially zero out the car too. So I guess it becomes an idea of "getting" the value out of it while I can, and then ride the Ascent into the ground for the next couple decades under ideal circumstances. The absolute worst case scenario would be to have the must-do no-negotiations maintenance done, lose the amount on depreciation, and then have some type of major mechanical failure (engine, transmission) and literally be out the $2000 put into the car, and then lose all potential value of trade in. Then, I'd be financing the full amount instead of around 75% of it. That's a pretty big difference. I remember when I bought my Outback I did 36 month financing because it was 0% up to 36 months, and it was like $900+ per month.

Of course, it only takes one distracted or impaired driver to throw a wrench into those plans...

The good news is that my phone can do the whole "Hey Siri, skip this song" thing when it's plugged in, so I never have to take my eyes off the road. The problem becomes if there's a glitch or the app crashes (which fortunately doesn't happen often), there's a little extra human intervention required to getting back up and running.

Regarding the options, Subaru did make an official accessory called "Media Hub" but as far as I know it did NOT support streaming - it was available for NON-HK audio systems, but was not compatible with the HK system I had. They did have a regular wired USB hub I could have used, but it was very expensive (parts were $300+ at dealer with another $200+ install cost), and didn't let you play and charge at the same time - it would only let you PLAY the songs.

If I had a USB Hub, I could very easily just put a 16 GB flash drive on there with music to listen to, but if I'm spending that much on the OEM media hub, I'd think I would just want an aftermarket option that had CarPlay so I could also stream music from my phone/apps.


That $170 a month for the next 24 months is a huge gap from your anticipated monthly payment for a new Ascent, and even if there were unaccounted-for expenses during that time, it would take a BIG event for the savings to match expenditure.

Logically, my brain is pushing for you to hang on to the OB.

But that desire-driven side of my brain is saying that the juice is worth the squeeze, and is really trying hard to justify that reach with precisely what you see as the advanced safety features available with the Ascent.

I'd originally looked at the Limited w/package 23, too, and as with you, I very quickly reached the decision that the small extra bump for the features available on the Touring versus the Limited H/K was worth that little bit more per month. I resolved to give up some unhealthy snacks to make up for that difference in my monthly, and so-far, it's working pretty well, as the vehicle serves as a daily tactile reminder. :smile_big:

As I noted above, the logical side of me is saying that it may be smarter for you to wait-out, as you not only still have good service-life left in your OB, but you are also looking pretty financially smart via the numbers you ran.
In this situation, the difference between the perceived expenditure between the must-do maintenance items and what would be a new car payment is not an issue for us. It's not desirable because of the remaining 18 months of her car payment, but it's not a deal-breaker either. Should some type of major expense appear over the course of the 18 month overlap, we have things in place to deal with it if need be.


But the other side of my brain is really pushing for you to get the Touring, given the small price gap between it and the "loaded" Limited. The ventilated front seats is, I am predicting, going to be a welcome summer addition for our hot-blooded family. The Smart Rear-View Camera has already made a difference with the kiddos (teenagers love their personal space!) in the third row and the headrests deployed (for one of my hobbies and for my daughter's summer camps, it seems that I'm just carrying more and more stuff, and this feature will make me much happier in that I no longer have to be so up-tight about not blocking the interior rear-view's sightline). Similarly, this is a bigger vehicle with a comparatively long front overhang, and that front-view camera really makes a difference when parking/maneuvering in tight situations (to the point that a passer-by gave me the evil-eye at how close I had cut the space between my front bumper and the parking structures nearby). If you're going to just load up the limited, I really don't think it's much of an up-sell to get the Touring.
Okay, thanks. This was the main thing. I was originally held up on the brown leather, but it looks great in person. I was hoping for a Black/Black Limited before the details were announced, but I think I'm good to go on a Mag Gray & Brown Touring.

I'm going to crunch the numbers again, and I'll test drive it again before the order gets put in.
 

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Wow. Thanks for the really detailed and truthful response.

No thanks needed - just glad to help. :)



And yup, I'm pretty pragmatic about my purchases - there's always pros and cons. I try to be honest and up-front, when rendering my opinions/recommendations.



It seems like many families have issues with the car seats. I asked around at work and most people basically said once you have the second car seat, all bets are off for that middle seat - across many manufacturers.
Until they get to at least the high-back booster stage (and even then, a lot of the more protective and/or more comfortable ones also have a sizeable footprint), all bets are off, indeed.



Funny you mention this. My wife's former car was a 2009 Legacy 2.5i, and while it was no "speedster" it was a lot of fun to drive. I do miss that car quite a bit. It wasn't practical for us in any sense, and the three-row she's got now has made our travelling lives much easier (even though it's regretfully not a Subie, but you can't buy what's not for sale...)

I very seldom hit WOT. Maybe one or two times a YEAR, if that. I notice that I have to really push WOT when there are other adults in the car. Obviously, 800 pounds extra weight will dog the engine. But, since we don't use it as much as the family hauler, I guess I don't really see that much power needed - and I live outside NYC in the NJ suburbs. I'll admit, about a year or two ago before the Ascent launched, I was pretty set on looking into a 3.6R, that's kind of what got the whole ball moving to begin with. If I could go back in time to when I bought the 2.5, I would probably have just bought the 3.6 and been done with it, and that would be fine.
Funny indeed! I think Subaru has us growing/younger families pretty well pegged in terms of determining what we'll grow out of, and what we aspire to grow into...the 3.6R OB was also what I thought I'd have in my garage now, until I took the Ascent out for a drive. And same as you, had I had that lease on the '16 2.5i to do-over, I'd have gone with the 3.6R.


I'm no longer an aggressive driver, even in the LGT back in 2005 - I think I grew out of it quite a while ago. As of the last 7 or so years, I've become even more mellow, it seems. I've always had a lot of speed-detection countermeasures in my vehicles, but that's for fun more than anything else (and I've found that it further helps me maintain focus on my boring daily commute). My wife and friends actually makes fun of me for how sedately I drive, given the toys.


That said, old habits die hard, and I tend to dip into WOT more than a few times a month. :eek: In-reality, though, it's more the "Get me the heck out of here!" that I want the car to be able to have more than anything else, and Leo, while it was fun to try to crystal-ball just how much power I will need at any given moment, really got kinda more stressful during longer highway trips.



As for your love of something that didn't make sense, I think that's really the definition of love, right? :smile_big: I thought that I *_hated_* the Tribeca when I first got it. My wife at the time thought we needed the 3 rows, since my daughter and nephews were all little kids. Given my reaction to *_anything_* that the wife believes "necessary" :facepalm::rolleyes::dunno::rofl: - well, you can probably understand my reluctance at stepping to something which, at the time, was one of the biggest vehicles I'd driven, outside of a moving van. But you know what? I ended up loving that thing, and was on the cusp of buying it as it came to-term.



The 2019 remodel is actually a lot bigger feeling inside compared to the outgoing 2018 model, but you're right, it's still smaller than the OB and the Legacy interior. The cargo area being "taller" than the OB has its usefulness.
I agree, that "taller," refrigerator shape really does help out - but I've always freaked-out about having totally blocked my sightline from inside the vehicle. I really love the Ascent's work-around for this issue, and it really is among the reasons I decided to cut a few snacks for the monthly difference between the Limited w/HK and the Touring.



Similarly, I think also Subaru's interior designers have done a wonderful job in how airy the '19 Forester's cabin feels. As my daughter and I started looking more in-depth, though, we found that the airiness was a bit deceptive, that in-truth, things weren't much bigger versus her mother's. Is it bigger - yes, it definitely is - but it just wasn't enough.


I'm not entirely into the idea of leasing because I would prefer to take the $9000 value in my OB and put it towards something else. Everything depreciates, sure, but it's really, truly just money out the window. I can't really compare it to rent for a house because homes almost always go up in value - and cars essentially depreciate unless they become historically significant.
Understood. That's what I thought you would reply. :) Leasing rarely makes sense financially, but for us, the mindless convenience makes it a devil we were - and are still - willing to live with. I almost bought that Tribeca at the end of the lease, though. I still miss that car!


Yup, that's the catch-22 I'm in. I can't really delay the timing belt because if it fails I'll have essentially zero value in the car. Then again, if the transmission fails that'll essentially zero out the car too. So I guess it becomes an idea of "getting" the value out of it while I can, and then ride the Ascent into the ground for the next couple decades under ideal circumstances. The absolute worst case scenario would be to have the must-do no-negotiations maintenance done, lose the amount on depreciation, and then have some type of major mechanical failure (engine, transmission) and literally be out the $2000 put into the car, and then lose all potential value of trade in. Then, I'd be financing the full amount instead of around 75% of it. That's a pretty big difference. I remember when I bought my Outback I did 36 month financing because it was 0% up to 36 months, and it was like $900+ per month.

Of course, it only takes one distracted or impaired driver to throw a wrench into those plans...
Right. The nightmare scenarios.

It's of-course impossible to fully discount the latter....but what's the likelihood of the stars aligning and throwing that big of a wrench into things, in the first scenario?



The good news is that my phone can do the whole "Hey Siri, skip this song" thing when it's plugged in, so I never have to take my eyes off the road. The problem becomes if there's a glitch or the app crashes (which fortunately doesn't happen often), there's a little extra human intervention required to getting back up and running.
Ah! That's right, I hadn't thought of that!



Regarding the options, Subaru did make an official accessory called "Media Hub" but as far as I know it did NOT support streaming - it was available for NON-HK audio systems, but was not compatible with the HK system I had. They did have a regular wired USB hub I could have used, but it was very expensive (parts were $300+ at dealer with another $200+ install cost), and didn't let you play and charge at the same time - it would only let you PLAY the songs.

If I had a USB Hub, I could very easily just put a 16 GB flash drive on there with music to listen to, but if I'm spending that much on the OEM media hub, I'd think I would just want an aftermarket option that had CarPlay so I could also stream music from my phone/apps.
Agreed.



That $170 a month for the next 24 months is a huge gap from your anticipated monthly payment for a new Ascent, and even if there were unaccounted-for expenses during that time, it would take a BIG event for the savings to match expenditure. <snip>
In this situation, the difference between the perceived expenditure between the must-do maintenance items and what would be a new car payment is not an issue for us. It's not desirable because of the remaining 18 months of her car payment, but it's not a deal-breaker either. Should some type of major expense appear over the course of the 18 month overlap, we have things in place to deal with it if need be.
Ah! OK!


Now I understand better - your Catch-22 is what you'd described above. Roger that!



A man with a contingency, I like that!




I was originally held up on the brown leather, but it looks great in person. I was hoping for a Black/Black Limited before the details were announced, but I think I'm good to go on a Mag Gray & Brown Touring.

The Mag Gray is gorgeous. If I hadn't needed a car so fast, I think that's what I would have gone for.

The Ascent is my first black exterior car, so we'll see how I like cleaning it in the summer (in the winter, every car here is dirty, so I couldn't care less about carrying some salt haze from week-to-week, in between cleanings). I'm really looking forward to its first mud-splashes, though. I always thought that made for a happy Subaru.


The "Java" leather is something that I grew to like the more I saw the different trim levels. I still wish that it's just a tad darker, like the Forester Touring's. On a practical level, I wish they'd made the central band cohesive with the rest of the Java interior. I mean, I understand why they did it, stylistically, but man, that's where my wife loves to cross her leg(s) - I know, it kills me, too, safety-wise - and that's exactly where the tips of her shoes love to land.



I may succumb to the inner needs of my first-generation immigrant impulses and somehow plastic-wrap that area to protect it....



https://www.buzzfeed.com/daozers/27-signs-you-were-raised-by-asian-immigrant-parents
^ Sign #13
 

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So, for $150 per month I think I'd like to have the LED's and other goodies that the Touring offers. Invoice on the Limited 7p would be around $42000. That makes a difference of around $30/month comparing the Limited 7p with HK package compared to the Touring - and the Touring has the ventilated seats, smart rear camera, and front camera. That seems like a no-brainer.
First off, it is clear that money matters and you don't have an unlimited bank account. Taking that into consideration the Touring is NOT a no-brainer. You should only go in that direction if you really NEED the options it includes and those options matter more than your financial future. That may be a bit harsh perhaps but is a large dose of reality.

Stop looking at monthly payment. Look at the real numbers. It matters. I retired at 54 because I always focused on the real cost and not a monthly payment. $50 or $100 a month may not seem like a lot but it is. Put $100 in an investment and take a look at how much you have 30 years down the road. That is the real cost of that seemingly inconsequential addition to your monthly payment. As an example; I bought and sold a motorcycle in 90 days. It was a mistake and I knew it wouldn't work out right away. In the process I lost $3500. That one mistake cost me the $3500 then and $210 every year for the rest of my life (3500 @ 7%) and even more when compounding. By now it is closer to $250 per year.

The Limited has LED lights as well and they work quite well. My suggestion is to stay with the Premium if at all possible and at most the Limited.

From a purely financial perspective it is best to hold off on purchasing the Ascent as long as possible and until you really need it. But nothing ever comes down to just purely financial reasons.

Good Luck!
 

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I don't disagree that every penny counts, bmac - actually, I agree completely - but in order to get the ventilated front seats, front camera and the Smart Rear View Mirror, the Touring is really a no brainer....as that's currently the only way to get those features! ;)


I also feel obligated to mention the extra spend on the Java Brown interior, too - but that's more style than anything else, and like you said, it ain't always about the money, particularly for those who seek a certain look/feel.
 

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Thanks for your opinion @bmac.

My no brainer comment was more between the Limited with options against the Touring. The Premium is certainly attractive but I feel like if I got that I would always regret missing something.

This is a vehicle I would plan to have for a long time, maybe 20 years. I can justify a little bit more.

Without going into too much detail, I have considerable regular investment in my 401k and have a pension track job. $150 per month is really not much in the grand scheme. People buy Starbucks every day. That’s $5 * 30 days, there’s your 150. People buy lunch, I usually brown bag.

I think for a more budget minded individual the Premium is an outstanding value.
 

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Short version of reading everyone's comments. Agreed. Get the Touring, based on what you're considering. For a tiny bit more, you'll have everything from the Limited and stuff from the Touring that only comes on it. And, if you can stand the Java Brown, or (like me) it grows on you (I utterly love it now - hated it the first time I saw it online), you'll find that the interior leather is just a bit better on the Touring than on the Limited.

Also note that the margin on the Touring is a little bit more than on the Limited. I don't remember what invoice is for both, and, since I didn't memorize the Accessories and Packages invoice prices, it's even worse, but, with that slightly larger margin, it may also mean that once you fully configure out the cars as you'd want them, there may not be a difference at all, if you manage a good deal.

AND, if you do decide to buy, talk to Dan Meola at Liberty Subaru, tell him I sent you, and I guarantee you he will take care of you (PS: that applies to ALL of you reading this).
 
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