Roomy, roof rack, 20-26mpg, the last year Subaru did front-wheel drive on this model, and still it handed really well in the snow and on ice (tires make a big difference too). This model has one of the most reliable engines Subaru ever made. The L is always manual transmission. I bought this car in 2012 with 150k miles on it, sold it with near 210k miles on it. I had to replace both boots twice in the time I had it, but I drove pizza delivery with it so went over the same speed bumps and tracks many more times per day than average. I also needed to do the head gaskets once, a known Subaru gremlin, but everything else was just routine scheduled maintenance. For its age, this car handled well, was comfortable for passengers and accelerated quickly. Incredibly reliable, I would have kept it were I not ready to upgrade. I'm guessing the one I drove will run another 100k+, these things run forever if cared for. I liked this car so much I got another Subie.
I was the second owner of my Subie, purchased at 156k, and I just sold it to a friend with 208k on it. It's an oldie, but still a goodie. This is one of the most reliable transmissions Subaru ever made. I've had performance people stop me and tell me I have one of the best models, and have had others offer to by my wagon at the grocery store! Still a popular car that I have seen sell higher than it's value because people know how good they are. Despite modest specs, this car accelerates faster than you'd expect and has been great for urban driving. This car is RELIABLE and will run even with the worst of leaks. Non interference engine unlike later Subies and most Japanese cars of this era - aka if the timing belt snaps, it won't destroy your engine. I drove on a blown crank seal unknowingly for 1k miles, and it didn't break down on me or ruin the engine/transmission. That was in the middle of a 4K mile road trip, and it ran great the rest of the trip and beyond. I delayed my scheduled timing belt job (where they would have checked/replaced the seal) and took it on a trip (stupid, my mistake not the car). This car is very forgiving to abuse, more so than it's automatic counterpart. Subarus are prone to leaky gaskets and axles wearing quicker than other cars. Small price to pay for the reliability, upkeep parts and maintenance are affordable. I fully expect this car to run another 200k if properly maintained. Change all fluids and complete maintenance on time, and this car will last FOREVER. I got great mileage too, higher than I was supposed to likely because I'm easy on my clutch. I pulled 25 city and around 30 highway - the last year Subie made front-wheel drive, and it's a good one. I only sold my car because I needed to upgrade for my job - otherwise I would have driven this car forever! For an oldie, it has cruise control, power mirrors and doors, stock speakers could be a lot worse, and although the door seals aren't great I feel WAY less of the road than some of the 15 year newer cars I test drove to replace it. If seeking a great cheap older manual transmission car I can't recommend this model enough. On par with the Accord or Camry, and a bit more fun to drive (in my opinion). Incredibly space efficient for its size. I've moved furniture in it with the backseat down. Best for city driving vs long commutes, there are better cars out there mileage-wise. I've never put money into this car beyond routine maintenance and odd interior things that fall apart with age (it IS a 20 year old car). My only complaint is that the cup-holder is poorly placed right by the front vents, easy to spill in there - and they only hold a pop can or smaller, hard to find coffee cups that fit. For it's age and year, it's a great car that will live forever! If you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with a 95 L Wagon if it's been reasonably well-maintained.
Bought at 98k miles, sold at 125k. This car had an oil leak when I bought it, a pretty impressive one where the fumes made me nauseous. After I got that fixed (oil pump resealed), and put on new struts and windshield, it was a good little car. In typical Subaru fashion, I could take it anywhere, do anything in winter. It would go through snow up past the bumper like a little submarine, and cling to the road like a booger. This was the only car I've had that, on a blizzardy day, traffic would be going nowhere near fast enough for me, and I'd be that guy over in the snowy lane, driving the speed limit on two or three inches of powder. The reason I sold this car was it seemed like it was developing some weird AWD issues. On turning the wheel to the max, it experienced that AWD hesitation/shimmy, but also occasionally it would do this ultra-weird pronounced lurching. No idea what that was, let the next guy figure it out (yes, I told him).
Bought my 95 LS AWD wagon in 2007 w/ 117K. Needed a cheap car that I could carry liability only due to a DUI. This little beauty was a trade-in that I got off the back lot before it was detailed and pumped through the $$ machine they call the service department. I live in Central Oregon (Bend) home of the oldest Subaru dealer in the West (they say) Lot's of snow and mountains. I now have 189K on this 'temporary' car, 7 years later. Every so often I change the oil. Replaced alternator, battery, starter and a few light bulbs over the years. A bread truck backed into me and I now have a free car after getting a check for the damage that 'gives it character'. I do have a nice ML320, but
I called my Subaru a Deathwagon for a GOOD reason- It could handle ANYTHING I put it through. I drove my ninja to the ground (rarely did repairs & oil) and he still kept going strong. The only thing that stopped him was being T-boned, which bent the frame, and insurance totaled him out. His body died at 18 years old, but the engine (about 185,000) is going strong in another Subie :) I drove 40mph in HARSH Utah ice &snow storms. While every other car was pulling over, my Subaru handled every slip and slide with grace. I can't explain what this fantastic vehicle and I went through, as I am a very aggressive driver- car chases, sidewalks, fields, bicyclists, long road trips, barriers, etc.
Never died. It sat for 2 years in a drive way, one day I threw in some new gas and it started right up! Even when it was T-boned and smoking, he kept driving. I'd run into a steel beam and he would keep going. Drove over railroad tiles/barriers and he kept going. Check engine light was on for 2 years straight, he still kept going! I could ALWAYS depend on this car.
I'm a female in my 20's, I know nothing of cars and never fix anything on them- we were the best combo!
I'm sure everything is taken care of in the newer Subaru. I will always go after a Subaru when purchasing vehicles again.