dont count out audi entirely though. the b5 platform was meh for reliability. audi is hit and miss, ive spent a lot of time around both audi's and subarus in a friends shop and subaru's in general have never impressed me, repairs are cheap but you see a lot more of them falling apart and having annoying quirky problems that are a pain to fix. we spent like 4 grand on two completely seperate transmissions trying to get this grinding symptom that popped up on a 20k mile car. transmissions are a big weak point, engines are very hit or miss, some blow before 80k miles, some last over 200.
audi 90's, the c4 a6/s6, c4 s4, and some others are all good, reliable, affordable audi's. repairs arent gonna be much cheaper than on a b5 a4, but you should have a lot less problems, find the right one and it will last forever. just need to research the specific model you are looking at, first of all make sure its a reliable model in the first place, find out what their common problems are, and find a good example, take it to a shop, have them look over everything and pay special attention to that models weak points.
audi has a better AWD system, better performing, better built, will last forever, for AWD audi kills it, nothing really wrong with subarus system, but in the most extreme conditions an audi will get you places a comparable subaru will not.
with ANY used car you want to make sure you are getting one thats taken care of and isnt going to need 3000k worth of work 5000 miles down the road. if it costs you a little more to get one thats better taken care of, do it. and having a mechanic check it out before hand is a must.
personally, if it were me, id try to find a c4 s6 avant. for 10k you should be able to find a low mileage well maintained example, and depending on what he's asking, you could probably get him to cover any maintenance items that need attention if there are any. its a wagon, it hauls ass, its reliable, and will be amazing in the snow. good snow tires on whatever you get are a must!!