COAL: #18 2015 Subaru Outback – That’s Not a Volvo!

At this point in my life I had a part time job at a bank, I was going to school at the University of Arkansas, and my 07 XC90 was getting up there in miles. My dad and I agreed that it might be time for me to get something newer, but I just was not ready to let go of the XC90. Luckily my dad agreed to let me keep the XC90, and get something newer, but it was on my dime. He agreed to pay for the insurance, but that was about it.

I knew I was going to get another Volvo, no questions. Well, when I started looking, I couldn’t really find anything that was close enough for me to look at. So, I started looking at cars under $25,000 locally, just see what was out there. That couldn’t hurt right? I mean I was still getting a Volvo. Well, I do not know the word patient, it simply is not in my in my vocabulary. I got impatient, and started looking at cars that caught my eye, outside of Volvos.

I had narrowed down my search to a Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, and a Subaru Outback. I was not finding a Volvo within 500 miles, so I thought, well I still have a Volvo, so it’s not like I am betraying the brand. I made it to the Subaru dealer, and that was it. I had found a red 2015 Outback that was certified with only 20,000 miles on it. I was amazed how many features came on this car for so little money. This was not my girlfriend’s entry level Subaru. No, this car was luxurious compared to that.  I called my dad, and said “well I found my car”, and he was surprised that #1 it was not a Volvo, but #2 I had not looked at any other car really.

My dad told me if that is the car that I wanted, then get it. So that Saturday I went back to the dealer, signed a few pieces of paper, and the car was mine! This model was a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder boxer motor. It too had a CVT, but because it had a little bit bigger motor than my girlfriend’s, I didn’t mind it as much. My car also was the Limited trim level which came with leather, push button start, navigation, Eye Sight, blind spot monitoring, and of course AWD.

One thing that I will touch on in later COAL’s is that Subaru just does not give the consumer many options at that time. For instance, you could only get red with tan interior, I was not a fan of tan interiors. Or you could only get a 6 cylinder in a limited, and nothing else. No manual, no real rim choices, nothing. I was kinda disappointed in this, but I was willing to overlook the tan leather as I liked everything else about the car.

The problem that developed with this car would be the reason I let it go. About a few months after I bought the car, it started to develop this sound when I would turn the steering wheel. It was in the actual steering wheel, not suspension, or exterior sound. The only way I can describe it is like compressing a spring, and turning it. It would click every time I turned. I thought it might be the clock spring in the airbag, but wasn’t sure so I took it into the dealer. Sure enough it was the clock spring, but the dealer assured me that they were going to order a part, and get it fixed. Meanwhile they gave me a brand new car to drive, and I was alright with it. A few days later I got the car back, and the sound was gone… for now. A few days later the sound returned, and so I took it right back to the dealer for them to fix again. This went on 3 times, and each time the clicking would return. I am not too picky when it comes to most thing on cars, but I cannot stand when a car rattles, especially a year old car. I was also a bit worried about the safety as I was not sure how this clock spring might affect the airbag deploying when I needed it. The dealer was not really concerned about this, but I was getting a little uneasy.

After only 3 months of ownership, I decided that the best thing would be to trade it in. I was not really excited about losing money on it, but my dad and I both agreed that there could be some safety concern with this car so I found something a little more familiar.

In the end, I really did like the Subaru, it was a great car. It rode very well, seats were more comfortable, it came with a lot of features for a low price. It all really came down to that I just was not sure of the safety, and I was not confident in how the dealer was brushing it off. To be honest I did not have time either to keep taking it to the dealer every time is started to click. Needless to say my first set out of Volvo waters was not the best, but I had not written anything off yet.