I bought my Subaru OUtback (automatic) with 214,000 and quickly put on another 10k in 6 months.
I took it camping, [light] off-roading, and driving cross country.
it worked great from Wisconsin to Utah to California.
It does need a little more pep from the engine, but for what I needed it was the perfect mix of reliability, space, and economy.
I was getting around 23 MPG per tank, I got through the snow and up mountains with no problems.
I was able to move all the stuff needed for 2 college students cross country with no problem.
It did more off road than I would have expected, be sure to check the head gasket before buying.
All Wheel Drive all the time
Heated Seats, wipers, mirrors
Weather band radio
lots of room
decent ground clearance
Height adjustable driver's seat.
More useful position for cupholders.
More power in the engine or another gear in the transmission.
More accessible spark plugs.
More legroom for all passengers.
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!!!!!
Subaru Legacy Outback could possiable be THE prefect car, a mix of comfort, performance and reliability. Having owned this car for 5 years, we have been through many many things. Comfortably holds 5 adults and all luggage for a weeks vacation, 31 mpg. Now, this car does not have a lot of "get up and go" but that isn't what it is made for! I currently have 312,000 miles on it and drive it 50 miles a day to work. Also being a volunteer firefighter and emt this car holds all of my gear with a LOT of room to spare. Never left me stranded weather it is snowing in blizard conditions, or raining buckets. Also, as a hunter and fisher I have used this car to get to some of my favorite remote spots.
31 mpg highway, all-wheel drive, room for 5 adults. This truly is the prefect car. I must say the best feature is 312,000 miles and have only done regular maintance (brakes, tune-ups, tires ect) Anyone who is looking for a car i tell them Subaru. What more can you ask for? Good fuel economy, awd, room for people, fold flat rear seats gives amazing room for "stuff", comfortable on long trips. Also it being a wagon, having a little bigger "footprint" drving in bad weather, heavy rain/snow, high winds, it sits low enough to the ground not to walk, yet large enough to go in anything.
A little more power, while the 2.5 4cyl is not made for power, it would be nice to have just a little more. When needed to pass cars at highway speeds, it is a little slow to pick up. Parts can be a little pricey, luckily they hardly ever break down so it evens out in my mind.
This past winter we had record snowfalls in the northeast and I've never had more fun drifting the subie around in the drifts. At one point we were tearing it up in 18 inches looking for deeper drifts just to see if we "could" get it stuck. We eventually succeeded when we fell into the valley of a hill and we were up to our windows. In general though the car is great at 131,000 it's still chugging along fine. I had to repace the clutch after my friend thought he could drive a manual.... but so far I've gone trough two sets of tires and the car corners surprisingly well for all the ground clearance. The interior is kinda sucky but hey for the price nothing else can offroad at 24mpg.
-More ground clearance than an explorer.
-The 2.5 isn't a beast but enough to get through heavy snow and go pretty fast.
-Having fun passing everyone else when its snowing (AWD system is superb)
-Good AC and Heat after 12+ years
-Not many repairs other than the occasional parts that brake. Engine is healthy. Some rust on the manifold.
Headers blow a lot (hasn't happened to me yet) and the interior definitely could be a little nicer.
this is my second legacy, the first one the body rusted but the engine was still great with 140K on it, so I bought a demonstrator with 6k on it from the dealer. Besides the above mentioned gasket problem I have only changed the tires, and oil, and a timing belt when we did the gaskets. Subaru's are low maintenance cars.
Excellent mileage and the AWD drive got me to work in the blizzard with 7 in clearance. Lot of windows with no blind spots. I feel like I am almost in a convertible with the sun roof open.
I am glad they changed the interior back to the plastic molding as it is much more durable for a station wagon. The leather doors just don't hold up with dogs and I have to replace the door panels. But it is a 98.