which Subaru is best for a young driver?

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ellink
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which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by ellink »

My son is close to driving age. We will likely wait several more years because I know he will benefit from developing maturity before he gets behind the wheel. I am ready to get a car now that will be his to drive in 3 or so years. I've looked at a few and have been impressed with the Subaru's safety features. I am tempted by the base model -- seems appropriate for a teenager. But the pricier trims have distraction mitigation and rear-cross traffic alert. I am willing to spend money on any safety features that will truly be useful. I don't want to pay up just to get nicer seats etc. Also, wondering if some of these can be added after-market or is that a bad idea?

Very interested in your thoughts. Thanks and happy new year!
bubbadog
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by bubbadog »

My vote would be for the Forester.

One often overlooked safety feature is excellent outward visibility. The Forester is one of the best in this regard. IMO it's about the right size, not too big or too small.

The premium trim level (mid grade) with the added option of blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert will get you nearly all of the safety features. You have to move up to the highest trim level (touring) and several thousand dollars extra for the driver focus option.

The only other safety option you would not get with the premium trim level is reverse automatic braking. It is standard on the touring trim level and optional on the other trim levels above premium (sport and limited).

Best of luck with your decision
DVMResident
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by DVMResident »

Test drive them and see what you like. Off the bat, I would think Crosstrek is an ideal pick. Foster is another good option.

I would get the Eyesight for adaptive cruise control and safety; auto-dimming mirrors (great for nighttime driving) with blindside detection; and maybe X-mode depending on local driving conditions (ice or steep inclines).
finite_difference
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by finite_difference »

Subaru DriverFocus seems to review pretty well?

Agree with the excellent visibility in the Forester.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
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Nate79
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Nate79 »

Used Forester.
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JoeRetire
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by JoeRetire »

ellink wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:34 pm My son is close to driving age. We will likely wait several more years because I know he will benefit from developing maturity before he gets behind the wheel. I am ready to get a car now that will be his to drive in 3 or so years. I've looked at a few and have been impressed with the Subaru's safety features. I am tempted by the base model -- seems appropriate for a teenager. But the pricier trims have distraction mitigation and rear-cross traffic alert. I am willing to spend money on any safety features that will truly be useful. I don't want to pay up just to get nicer seats etc. Also, wondering if some of these can be added after-market or is that a bad idea?
Since you don't seem to care which model you get, and since price doesn't seem to be a primary concern, buy a Crosstrek. Of all the Subaru models, I'm guessing first time drivers would prefer that.

You are planning to purchase a car now that he will get in 3 years? Why do it that way?
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RudyS
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by RudyS »

The safety features I most appreciate on our 2015 Subaru Outback are: rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, collision alert. Rear camera is great, but it is standard. Eyesight lane detection is good but something of a pain.
Helo80
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Helo80 »

I'd look for a unit with Eyesight
Drolen
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Drolen »

bubbadog wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:54 pm My vote would be for the Forester.

One often overlooked safety feature is excellent outward visibility.
Very much agree. We bought our daughter the Forester after narrowing the field to Honda, Toyota and Subaru. Visibility for her was the determing factor.
TallBoy29er
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by TallBoy29er »

Whatever you do, get one with Eyesight, as others have said. Wonderful safety features!

We love our Forester. Tons of head room, storage room, comfortable back seat, and still smaller and very maneuverable.

The Crosstrek was nice, but forget the cargo space, and the back seat was much smaller as I recall. Vis was also not quite as good. But still a very nice, safe, capable car.

We don't much care for the Outback. It felt as thought it rode much lower than the Forester. And was noticeably larger.

Legacy's are an option as well, but I'd choose a Crosstrek before them.
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nativenewenglander
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by nativenewenglander »

We've had two Subarus since 2003 an Outback most recently a Forester. Both had rattling heat shields, leaked coolant because of head gaskets. The Forester leaked transmission fluid plus the wheels were constantly coming loose even though they were torqued to the factory specs. We traded the Forester and bought a Mazda CX-5 a slightly wider car. It drives so much quieter and is much more solid feeling on the road. It was the same price as the Forester new, but seemed a much better value. No CVT transmission issues to deal with and a solid engine that has no head gasket issues.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

nativenewenglander wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:27 am wheels were constantly coming loose even though they were torqued to the factory specs.
I would suggest trading the mechanic, not the car. There's nothing special about Subaru wheels, studs or lug nuts. As with any alloy wheel, torque the nuts when putting the wheel on. Drive 50-100 miles and check/retorque as needed. This isn't a special Subaru procedure....it's for any alloy wheel.

I'd suggest a 2012 Impreza. Why? First year of the current design (pre-facelift, not direct injection). It'll be the cheapest option and because kids tend to total cars, it'll be the least hit financially. I do like Crosstreks (which are raised Imprezas with larger tires) if you're in snow country like I am. Our Crosstreks seem to go through everything. 13 with General Altimax Arctic and 19 with Sumitomo Ice, up 5% in aspect ratio.
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bloom2708
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by bloom2708 »

Get him driving. Experience is the key.

Waiting a few years means he will be older and still inexperienced.

A Forester has good visibility. A Legacy might be a good option. You can get one at a lower price point.

Scenario driving and lots of miles builds skill. Good luck.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Nowizard
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Nowizard »

Owning a Forester, I would say the best is one with multiple safety features for the best price. None, other than the Ascent are overly large, and there is the question of whether larger is better or not in terms of safety. We felt there was a balance between size and safety with a hidden, potential difficulty with a larger vehicle that would carry more people and increase distractions from the activity of more teenagers inside.

Tim
unstartable
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by unstartable »

Unless you're wealthy, don't buy your kid a new car.
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lthenderson
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by lthenderson »

ellink wrote: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:34 pm I am ready to get a car now that will be his to drive in 3 or so years.
Do you need the new car now or are you just buying it now to have a new car for a few years before handing it over to your son and buy another vehicle in 3 or so years?

I think you would be money ahead to just keep your current vehicle and buy your son a used 3 or 4 year old vehicle when the time comes. You seem concerned about giving your son the best technology. I think back to how much technology has changed in the last 4 years and can't imagine how much it might change by the time your son is ready to drive. It is at a pace you may regret having bought a vehicle now without the latest gizmo that might be standard in another three or four years. My oldest starts driving this summer and I have yet to buy them a vehicle. They will be borrowing mine for the time being until they gain some experience and then later I will be purchasing a gently used vehicle that meets their needs at that time.
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:30 am Get him driving. Experience is the key.

Waiting a few years means he will be older and still inexperienced.

A Forester has good visibility. A Legacy might be a good option. You can get one at a lower price point.

Scenario driving and lots of miles builds skill. Good luck.
I completely agree. DS#1 got his license at 16 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and never again (he's now 23). DS#2 got his license at 18 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and so far hasn't again (he's now 19).
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bloom2708
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by bloom2708 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:30 am
bloom2708 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:30 am Get him driving. Experience is the key.

Waiting a few years means he will be older and still inexperienced.

A Forester has good visibility. A Legacy might be a good option. You can get one at a lower price point.

Scenario driving and lots of miles builds skill. Good luck.
I completely agree. DS#1 got his license at 16 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and never again (he's now 23). DS#2 got his license at 18 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and so far hasn't again (he's now 19).
Yes. And buy used. No new driver needs a new car. < $10k with liability only insurance is the way to go. We have 2 of 3 kids driving. Both had minor fender benders in their first 6 months of driving. Driving became very real after the incidents. Both became much better drivers with time and experience and hard lessons. It is still a crazy mess driving out there for experienced and inexperienced drivers.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
ohai
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by ohai »

If safety technology is your primary concern, I don't think that's sufficient reason to justify Subaru over other brands. Honda or Toyota offer similar, if not better safety technology. Also, the generally higher base cost of Subaru can go towards options on those other brands.
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nativenewenglander
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by nativenewenglander »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:58 am
nativenewenglander wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:27 am wheels were constantly coming loose even though they were torqued to the factory specs.
I would suggest trading the mechanic, not the car. There's nothing special about Subaru wheels, studs or lug nuts. As with any alloy wheel, torque the nuts when putting the wheel on. Drive 50-100 miles and check/retorque as needed. This isn't a special Subaru procedure....it's for any alloy wheel.

I'd suggest a 2012 Impreza. Why? First year of the current design (pre-facelift, not direct injection). It'll be the cheapest option and because kids tend to total cars, it'll be the least hit financially. I do like Crosstreks (which are raised Imprezas with larger tires) if you're in snow country like I am. Our Crosstreks seem to go through everything. 13 with General Altimax Arctic and 19 with Sumitomo Ice, up 5% in aspect ratio.
We had two different garages doing the work. I finally bought the torque wrench to do it myself and a 17 inch four way wrench for my wife's trunk. I was told by another mechanic it could be the threads on the hubs were worn. I just wanted to be rid of the car time will tell if it's an issue with the Mazda.
mpnret
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by mpnret »

Been driving Subarus since 2010. That's a new one on me. I also spend quite a bit on the Subaru forums and never heard it mentioned. FWIW mine only get torqued once. I never do the second recommended one.
finite_difference
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by finite_difference »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:00 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:30 am
bloom2708 wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:30 am Get him driving. Experience is the key.

Waiting a few years means he will be older and still inexperienced.

A Forester has good visibility. A Legacy might be a good option. You can get one at a lower price point.

Scenario driving and lots of miles builds skill. Good luck.
I completely agree. DS#1 got his license at 16 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and never again (he's now 23). DS#2 got his license at 18 1/2. Crashed within 6 months and so far hasn't again (he's now 19).
Yes. And buy used. No new driver needs a new car. < $10k with liability only insurance is the way to go. We have 2 of 3 kids driving. Both had minor fender benders in their first 6 months of driving. Driving became very real after the incidents. Both became much better drivers with time and experience and hard lessons. It is still a crazy mess driving out there for experienced and inexperienced drivers.
If you’re going to crash, then you definitely want to buy the newest, safest car you can. A one-to-three year-old car would be fine, though.

If you’re not going to crash, then buy the cheapest and most fuel efficient vehicle you can find.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
Jablean
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by Jablean »

The best thing to give your son is a good driver's safety class. They'll appreciate it the most when they are not the oldest non-kid in the room. The instructors are usually great and a lot more unflappable than a parent.
A440
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by A440 »

TallBoy29er wrote: Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:11 pm Whatever you do, get one with Eyesight, as others have said. Wonderful safety features!
Eyesight is now standard on 2020 Forester, Outback, Legacy, and Ascent models.
https://www.subaru.com/engineering/eyesight.html
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.
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ellink
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Re: which Subaru is best for a young driver?

Post by ellink »

Thanks for all your responses! No worries about us rushing into things to get dear son a new car. My husband's car has 260K miles and mine has 96K so we will definitely need something -- new or new-to-us -- in the near term. Thinking ahead for what our needs will be with a new driver coming along. Good point about getting him driving soon. He is certainly willing so thanks for pointing out the wisdom of this move.
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