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This question is probably somewhat subjective as all cars are slightly different. I am currently in the process of looking for a new car. I'm currently driving a Vauxhall Astra 1.8 SRi (mk-5, 5 door model).

I am torn between getting a Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 petrol, and a Subaru Impreza 1.5R petrol.

They both have roughly the same HP (100 - 110), however the Subaru has more torque due to it's symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

I'm sort of in favour of the Impreza. I watched a road test on MSN cars which tested the handling and stability of a Subaru Impreza, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic and a BMW 1 Series. I have to say, based on what I saw, the Subaru wins hands down on handling.

I guess my biggest concern is how reliable each car will be, and what to expect in terms of general maintenance costs (Timing belt change, oil change, filter changes etc).

My gut feeling is that the Focus will provide lower maintenance costs as this is a more popular car and therefore, parts should be cheaper than the equivalent Subaru parts.

Can anyone offer any advice on this?

NOTE: This is just one article that I've read which illustrates the good/bad points of the impreza (and compares it to a 1.6 focus)

http://cars.uk.msn.com/reviews/on-test-subaru-impreza-15r-review-2007-onwards-model

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2 Answers

The Ford will definitely be cheaper to run. Partly because, as you say, it is a more common car, and so parts are more readily available, but also because the Subaru has the flat-four 'boxer' engine, which is commonly known for being a pig to work on, as almost everything is inaccessible with the engine in the car...

The Subaru will also cost more in fuel than the Ford. I was going to say 'but it'll be much more fun', but the linked article suggests that the 1.5 is too slow for that to count...

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If it were my money, I'd spend it on another Astra or even the 1.6 Turbo Corsa. But it's NOT my money, so I reckon the Ford is the better option economy-wise. I believe it will also provide greater sporty characteristics. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the Impreza 1.5R is actually a bit of a dog with all that extra weight thanks to the AWD system.

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