Girlfriend buying 2015 Subaru Forrester, 6-manual

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Nov 12, 2009
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She has decided to retire her '97 Jeep Cherokee, which she bought new, at 260000 miles. It has not failed her in any significant way, she just decided to cap any future repairs. We test drove a 6-manual base model last night, the only one available to take out, accompanied by a pleasant mid-20's salesman whose family has owned 12 Subarus. What Subaru did he drive? You guessed it, WRX. He knew a great deal about the Forrester, and of course started his "pitch" with the enviable AWD system, and how Subaru builds the car from that system on up, and not the other way around (Honda, Toyota etc.) I found the 6-speed a touch notchy and rubbery in feel, but it was a revelation to her, coming from the long throw stiff clutch Cherokee. Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to manual transmissions in mainstream cars, though, especially SUV's. I'll take one while I can. It drove like a car. The ride was supple and controlled, the steering accurate but lacking in road feel. Acceleration was modest, likewise nvh. Fit and finish was very good. The Forrester is still made in Japan. Quite amazing the safety features and amenities that come standard these days, even on a base model. 7-airbags, stability control, hill assist, power windows and doorlocks, security. The Jeep had none of that, and drove like a bucket 'o bolts. We are interested in the next model up, the Premium, which comes with an all weather package (heated seats and outdoor mirrors, frost free wipers?) as well as a large panoramic sunroof and reclineable rear seats (a few inches). Quick question because I'll be calling the salesman back today, what is the consensus on doc fees? This dealer is charging $359 for those and another $75 for, "other"? They are discounting $947 off the $25,445.00 retail price, but I'd like to at least double that.
 
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I don't pay documentation fees; they don't get paid to sell me a vehicle. After we agree on a price, we inevitably get to the documentation fee, which is preprinted on the paperwork. They either take that amount off the already agreed-upon price or I leave.
 
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I really like the Forester. In a way, I feel they are about as close to the XJ Cherokee as you can get today. A 6M Forester is a vehicle I'd really like. They seem pretty reasonable, too.
 
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Personally I feel that "Doc" feels are a big rip off. A charge to do required paperwork, without which they couldn't sell the vehicle. To me it is kinda like if you go to the grocery store and they would tell you there is a "doc" fee to check out your groceries. All expenses associated with the paperwork should be just considered part of normal overhead. Should we pay the salesman's commission too? And a storage fee for having the vehicle in stock?
 
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What gets me is when one does a private sale they get a signed title and chit of paper for a bill of sale. Dealers have 10+ docs they want everyone to sign. Saw one that read that if the dealer had a typo on any paperwork the buyer was obligated to come in and re-sign. Seriously?
 
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They are discounting the car $513. Tell them to pound sand and go somewhere else. There has to be 1,500 - 2K in that car and no doc fees. I bet you can get that for 23,550 - 24,000 even all day out the door. Get an internet price that is fixed from other dealers, then call him back.
 
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My wife wants a new one that's under warranty, as she doesnt have enough $$ in savings to pay for a big repair. I'm trying to talk her into a '14 Rogue select for 20K that has an engine that might be more long lived - the jury is still out on the FB AFIK. I would be more comfortable with the EJ as far as longevity goes. An yes, you should get at least 1500 off a premium forester. There is a big sale (4000 off) up here on current outbacks as the new ones are coming based on the new legacy - which looks like a Ford product!.
 
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She has a 2011 Forester? The car couldn't be worn out yet, would it? I'd be more afraid of a Nissan CVT than I would a 64000 mile old Subaru with a manual transmission. There are a lot of retitled leftover 2013 Rogues Rogue Selects around here. I think you can lease them for like $100 a month.
 
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Originally Posted By: Trav
They are discounting the car $513. Tell them to pound sand and go somewhere else. There has to be 1,500 - 2K in that car and no doc fees. I bet you can get that for 23,550 - 24,000 even all day out the door. Get an internet price that is fixed from other dealers, then call him back.
+1, great advice. I would definitely check around for prices..even check a state over..
 
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Negotiate the "out the door" price, inclusive of all fees and such. Don't forget sales tax. Check Edmunds and similar sites for the invoice price as well as any current promotions, rebates, etc. Check enthusiast sites too - many have a "What did you pay for your XYZ" thread. Get internet prices from 3 or 4 dealers. When I sold cars circa 2001, we had some customers that wouldn't travel more than 15 minutes to get to a dealer. This was in the NY/NJ metro area, and I worked at a Chevy store, so there were easily a dozen Chevy dealers within a 25 mile radius. On the other hand, we had some folks that realized it was worth their time to drive an hour or two to save $1k. Doc fees and such are to increase the dealer's profit. This is where we realize that our goal as buyers and the salesman's goal as sellers are in opposition to each other. The salesman's job is to make the most money for the dealership, NOT to give you a "great deal".
 
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IIRC some states require dealers to charge certain fees - it might be worth the time to research the taxes and fees required in your state, so the dealer can't surprise you with anything. That said, they should discount the price of the car to account for the fees, if you ask. If they want to start adding their costs to the price of the car, (documentation fee, 'other' fee, etc.), tell them you'll need them to start at invoice minus holdback, and work up from there. (Tip: Know what the invoice price is before negotiating. The internet is your friend. Holdback can be harder to figure, but IIRC it is usually in the $200 to $2,000 range, depending on make/model/price). Never be afraid to walk out, even with the pen in your hand. (Maybe I'm too pessimistic in this regard, but when I go to purchase a new or used vehicle, I think it helps to go in with the mentality of 'I'm more likely to walk out than I am to buy this car'. I've walked out on several deals.)
 
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There was an oil consumption issue that an alarming number of 2011- 2014 Foresters suffered, but a TSB came out in late 2013 for cylinder rings to address it. Thus, a 2015 model should not have the issue. 0W20 full synthetic oil required, as it is in a lot of new cars these days. The manual transmission gets your gf a 50/50 front/rear torque split 24/7 365 days a year, no questions asked. None of that "front wheel drive then power the rears only when the front's start spinning" nonsense most competitors use. Subaru don't play it that way, they prefer both "axles" active all the time. LSD simulated on all four corners via individual wheel spin is braked to send the power to the opposite side that has traction.
Originally Posted By: Miller88
She has a 2011 Forester? The car couldn't be worn out yet, would it? I'd be more afraid of a Nissan CVT than I would a 64000 mile old Subaru with a manual transmission. There are a lot of retitled leftover 2013 Rogues Rogue Selects around here. I think you can lease them for like $100 a month.
 
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My approach is always to provide the Out The Door number. I.E. I'm willing to pay $18,000 OTD, how you want to mark that as vehicle, taxes, tags, fees, etc if up to you, but the check I'm writing is $18K. If additional fees show up, I remind them once that's now what we agreed to and suggest they honor the deal or I'm leaving. Sad that you have to be that way, but if you don't watch out for yourself, they sure won't.
 
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For the price comparison, check out Truecar.com for the average sale price, and take it with you to show them. Great choice in vehicle imho.
 
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Go to truecar.com and see what others are paying around your area. I put my zip and people are paying around $2000 less than MSRP. So it shouldnt be much different for you since you live in MA. The other thing that is [censored] is the doc fee. When I make a deal on the car I always tell them that the doc fees are just that [censored] and that I'll pay for registration and plate transfer fees. If they are going to charge me the other fees they better take it off the MSRP then. I always tell the dealer that I am going to pay X amount plus TTL since TTL fees are fixed. Hope this helps you and your GF getting a great deal.
 
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See if the Kartboy shifter fits the newest Forester: http://www2.kartboy.com/x4/product.php?productid=16174&cat=251&bestseller=Y It's the real deal. It will feel like it should. Nice crisp shifts. If you never owned a Full time AWD vehicle, be aware tire life sucks. I've never gotten more than 40k from a set on either of my current Subaru cars. Stock or UHP A/S. Touring tires might hold up better. The good news is with good A/S tires, Subaru AWD will get you through most any conditions a sane person would attempt in winter. I vote get the winter package.
 
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I have the previous model, and I'm happy with it. I put A/T tires on it, as I need still need to get to work when the plows aren't out yet and drive down the occasional muddy road to a trailhead. I paid about $1,000 under retail and a $75 doc fee, but they gave me a heck of a deal on my trade. I was happy with the transaction. The manual transmission is the way to go. Check out Truecar.
 
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Originally Posted By: javacontour
My approach is always to provide the Out The Door number. I.E. I'm willing to pay $18,000 OTD, how you want to mark that as vehicle, taxes, tags, fees, etc if up to you, but the check I'm writing is $18K. ...
This is my approach too. I make sure to consider taxes, delivery charges, and some reasonable fees in my offer, but I only discuss OTD with the dealer.
 

k24a4

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I needed help quick and you guys (and girls?) did not disappoint. Thank-you everyone for your input. It is valued and appreciated. Using the message of contacting other dealers (which I did, albeit briefly) as gentle leverage I was able to get the price to $23800; fees remain the same. But even so the price falls within Truecar's "Great!" range, whatever that means. Nothing brings out the conspiracy theorist in me like a car dealership, with their hocus-pocus slight of hand accounting trickery. But I have to say the experience at this Subaru dealership was very good; minimal chicanery. Straightforward transaction. Could I have done a bit better, probably. If it had been my purchase, definitely. But my girlfriend is not one to quibble over a few hundred dollars, especially when she took her last car purchase 17 years and 260000 miles (she's donating the Jeep). I think she'll be pleased with a modern, low maintenance, vehicle and I insisted on maintaining it myself, a Bitog badge of honor, if you will. Get this, the spin on oil filter sits on the lower right of the engine bay, as conspicuous as you like! Easy-peasy. I had to wipe away some drool when I saw that! Thanks again everyone!
 
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Exactly, it's not that hard to do this. Tax is like 6.5%, IIRC, if I'm getting NEW tags, the title and tags are $193. How hard is it to work out the following? (Willing to pay * 1.065) + $193. YMMV in your neck of the woods, but this is some pretty simple grade school math.
Originally Posted By: BearZDefect
Originally Posted By: javacontour
My approach is always to provide the Out The Door number. I.E. I'm willing to pay $18,000 OTD, how you want to mark that as vehicle, taxes, tags, fees, etc if up to you, but the check I'm writing is $18K. ...
This is my approach too. I make sure to consider taxes, delivery charges, and some reasonable fees in my offer, but I only discuss OTD with the dealer.
 
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