I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy GT with 243,000 km on the engine. The car is in mint condition - arctic white paint. The head gasket now needs to be replaced. Did all the maintenance. I've been lucky it lasted this long. Car was mostly highway driven. Car is drivable and the leaking coolant is gradual and would go un-noticed to someone not familiar with the car. Head gasket is not reliable so getting it replaced by a certified Subaru mechanic. Will cost $3,500 to do it right. Don't recommend to do it cheaply because if its not done right the gasket can leak again.
Link that provides excellent info about problem:
The all wheel drive system is excellent.
Head gasket and cooling system design.
An interesting read on cooling design problem:
This wagon is unsuspecting, with the 2.5l engine this car has some nice giddy up to blow past Prius's and Honda's. Short comings would be the notorious head gasket issue and cup holder placement. Fuel economy is not great, but with a 90's car with awd what do you expect? The benefits being an excellent awd system and plenty of room. With the ability to floor the gas or slam on the brakes and getting 0 wheel slippage in the pouring rain allows for a confident feel behind the wheel in any driving conditions.
Favorite features include: Awd, sunroof, cargo space, easy to read gauge cluster and properly maintained these cars can go hundred of thousands of miles, mine is currently over 202500 miles.
Nothing can be changed now but a change in the open deck block design or the oem head gasket design would have improved reliability from factory. A more secure and resizeable cup holder would be convenient but overall its a great car especially when living in an area where u get all types of weather.
This in my opinion "midsized" sedan is a heavy, heavy beast, that you will LOVE to drive. Extremely stout, excellent in rain sleet snow or shine, I've put 170,000 miles on mine with only one issue, head gaskets. Thats not as bad as it sounds. 800 dollars at 120k and going FINE for another 50k... so far! Also handles like a dream. My previous car was a fully loaded eagle talon tsi awd. I thought that handled well and i had it lowered! This car puts it to shame. I have nothing but good to say about my legacy. I regularly get 28mpg... 40% city 60% highway. They also look great with some 17" wheels and a slight height drop.
awd, handling, decent pep, great fuel economy for awd, responsive transmission, even though i hate automatics. nice styling, solid build.
cup holders suck. engine should have been turbo these years. other than that, nothing.
The 1998 Subaru Legacy wagon that I had bought for a 2nd car, gave us nothing but trouble. So glad I got rid of it...it was nothing but a money pit.
Oil leaks, gaskets, brakes, air conditioner problems, and then finally what broke the camels back transmission problems!!!!!
Amazing car. Bought it used about four years ago. Recent trip of about 4 hours proved I'm getting 29+ mpg. Reliable in the winter with the snow here in the northeast. Close to 200,000 miles and still running great. Smooth handling at high speeds, no rattle or shakes.
Great gas mileage, awesome audio system.
Plastic lenses on the headlights, they've already decided to go the route of glass again since its been discovered plastic yellows horribly