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Journeys : April May 2010
Phil Young is a journalism student at UTAS. Motor News Journeys is pleased to give him his first by-line as a professional writer. Life on the move Finally you have it! You reach $10,000 and now all you have to do is start the hunt. Yes, you go from one yard to the next, or you may enquire privately. You might try Autosearch or put in a bid at Pickles Auctions. Buying a small four- wheel-drive can be a challenging task -- so let me help. After hours of car hunting, finding only dodgy dealers and broken cars, I finally lay claim to the perfect vehicle for me -- a 1999 Subaru Forester, ideal for travelling, touring or just zipping around tow n. She's a pre-loved beauty in traditional Forester Green and now that the car is ours, my partner Sarah and I decide to challenge its potential. We have decided on our destination and we head towards Freycinet. After packing the essentials, I turn the key to start the engine and hear the timid thump of the naturally-aspirated boxer engine. Sweet! But as we set off from home, Sarah points at the fuel gauge and mutters "Good one, genius!" "What? ...oh," I reply. The Forester is currently r unning on nothing but the smell of an oily rag -- and this allows us to test how well she holds her drink. She manages to achieve no less than 500km to a tank. Not bad in comparison to many of my previous rides, ranging from a 200sx to a 1979 Capella. Through the hills just before Swansea I feel the Forester's symmetrical all-wheel- drive system come alive, assisting the handling and power distribution. Every bend makes us realise the similarities of the Subaru range. Out-perfor ming her rivals, the Forester makes me long for the next bend in the road, as if she is happy to have me behind the wheel. We stop for a break in Swansea and Sarah points out just how nice the Forester is to ride in and sit in. As well as being one of the safest cars over the years, the level of creature comforts that Subar u has put into practice is phenomenal. Compared to the vehicle I used crossing the Nullarbor some years back -- a highly modified Pulsar, where to fit the engine, we needed to remove the air conditioning unit -- the Forester is luxurious. Our GX model offers cr uise control, air conditioning, power windows and remote central locking, years ahead of its time -- even little extras such as arm-rests contribute. And this is in a vehicle that's over 10 years old! At Freycinet, the rangers infor m us that their four-wheel-drives often head dow n the roughest tracks to recover tourists not used to off-roading. But even though it's not a large four-wheel-drive with huge amounts of clearance, the Forester astounds us, tip-toeing over crevasses a foot or two deep on three wheels along the rough track dow n to Bluestone Bay. I'm amazed -- Sarah just holds on tightly to her seat. Our humble pre-loved car is a ravishing beauty in our eyes -- and rugged at the same time. We could dress it up and pimp our ride if we wanted to, with huge rims, dark tint and a massive stereo -- or just leave it standard. Either way, we reckon our Forester is great, with all the ticks in safety, comfort, reliability and efficiency. Ten grand and a lost weekend Phil Young has some sound advice for young buyers looking for a good second-hand car So I challenge you -- even if you're not planning to venture far -- if you're after a good solid car at a reasonable price, take a look at an earlier-model Subar u Forester. GX MY99 Subaru Forester Private price $5600 - $7400 Average km 165,000 - 275,000 Fuel economy (1/100km) Urban 9.5 Country 7.5 Engine 2.0 litre boxer Power 92kw @ 5600rpm Torque 184Nm @ 3600rpm Acceleration 0-100km/h 10.7sec 19 April / May 10 Photos Phil Young
Feb March 2010
RACT MNJ June July 2010