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.