1996 Subaru Legacy 2.5L 4-cyl. AWD 4-speed Automatic Consumer Review - Great car but 2.5L mechanically

1996 Subaru Legacy - Consumer Review

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78 Total Reviews

LSi Wagon (2.5L 4-cyl. AWD 4-speed Automatic)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Great car but 2.5L mechanically is terrible
By emilyxmay on


1996 Subaru Legacy LSi 4dr Wagon AWD


Purchased 2.5L Legacy Outback 10/09 - 156k - w/o inspection. W/in a week $1400 transfer case repair...had no AWD. Wonderful AWD now, BUT has cost $4500 past 2 yrs incl transfer case, timing belt, radiator + bi-mo. repairs. A/C has never worked. Ck eng light on constantly altho turns off by itself several days later. Recently a long-standing misfire issue became full blown problem. Car barely started making noises like a starter problem, shook horribly, probably only running on 1 cylinder. Today, it does start, runs somewhat smoothly, engine sounds odd. Blown engine? Will miss my beloved Outback. R.I.P. Now allocating my Suby repair budget to buy new car.

Favorite Features

Such a champ in bad weather! Extremely dependable til recently. Lived in Colorado mntns. Used studded snows. Job required driving on treacherous, icy mountain back roads. Sure footed car never failed me. Co-workers driving 4WD pickups did not fare so well. Several slipped off the road...although they were very experienced 4WD folks. I like how the car is solid and suspension isn't "mushy". Yet the ride is good. Comfortable car and seats. Interior in perfect cond, no rips, tears. Dark green paint still glossy. For a 4 cyl, zippy on major mountain highways, even passing. Very dependable car til the misfire issue went downhill into a probable blown engine.

Suggested Improvements

Since this was the first year for the Outback, it has many mechanical issues with the 2.5L engine. My car has had just about all of them, although didn't need to replace head gasket. It may have already been done since purchased at 156K. Too bad first year models always seem to be a guinea pig and aren't such reliable cars. The only improvement I'd suggest is that the mechanical issues be resolved. I believe Subaru has proven they have with subsequent years. I have been very satisfied with the performance of this car, even with all the problems it's had in past 2 years.
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