After I totaled my first car my grandma gave me her old Subaru; she loved the car it was easy for her to drive and she had trouble parting with it. I drove the car a year and totaled it as well, I was only going 10 mph when I rear ended a Jeep Cherokee, afterward I got the car fixed, and it was driving pretty good, I drove from Va, to NY and back in 2 days with no problems, now the car is in the shop an they think the head gasket has blown, I think ill be buying and Audi next.
I loved the all wheel drive, we had a bad ice storm and while other people were in ditches, my outback was gripping the 2 inchs of ice.
Cup holders are awful, and the head gasket problem which I'm surprised to have read about, also the car was not built heavy enough for crashes, yet it accelerates like a huge older car.
Bought it used 8 years ago. Doing regular maint, it has been 100% reliable. With snow tires, it just goes and goes in New Hampshire winters - even on unplowed roads and driveways with 18 inches of snow, it can't be stopped. Not the most comfortable of cars (we have two other cars for long distance trips), but when the snow starts falling or we're headed skiing, it's always the Subie we take out. Best 11k I've ever spent.
AWD in the snow. Forget the Cherokees and other SUVs we often see in ditches off 93 or 89 or 95. It is great in the snow.
Subarus are well-known cars for their reliability and durability, esp in weather conditions like the Northeast. So I bought one and don't ever regret it. Change the oil every 3k and general maintenance and you can log 200k+ miles on these machines. As other posts have mentioned, it does like to leak oil, so have them check for leaks during oil changes. But parts are cheap and mechanics love working on Subaru's because they are easy, albeit, when you need them to. They will rarely leave you stranded!!! Goes right through the snow and rain, the engine is quite peppy for a 4 cyl and good on gas and can run just fine on 89. Your overall cost owning a Subaru is one of the best.
Cargo/rear folding seats, AWD, roof rack, fog lights, over-all design. Nice acceleration, sporty handling and durability.
Better seats. Improve console design, more sunroofs as standard feature. I wish the alloy rims didn't get corroded as easy.
I am the original owner of this car. It now has about 155,000 miles. Had to replace the head gasket at 89,000 miles. Was not a happy camper, but its been running OK since then. A few quirky problems, mostly with sensors and brakes, but once they are replaced, it seems fine. I will probably be replacing it within a year, and I don't think I will buy another Subaru, but I can't honestly think of a more affordable AWD vehicle with as much room as it has. Hopefully Subaru has improved its quality a bit since 98.
AWD is great in the winter. Car like drive. Good cargo space for its size.
Hopefully, the engine is better on the new ones. To me, having to replace the head gasket at 89,000 was unacceptable. Hopefully, they've improved the brake system also.
Inherited the '98 Subaru Legacy wagon from my parents, and just got rid of it last month. The car was GREAT in the snow, and amazingly reliable overall. It did seem to have some problems with the alternator/belt, but never to the point that it refused to start or run. Interior cargo space was much appreciated; with the fold-down seats it could hold furniture or an entire dorm room worth of stuff. Even after 10 years and 167000 (fairly hard) miles, the car was still running at ~24 MPG and was in fairly good shape. Had it been better maintained early on, I would still have it now. It would make a great family car or college student's vehicle, especially in a cold-weather area.
Alternator/belt problems; cup holders badly-placed and terribly flimsy- caused drinks to spill into control panel and eventually broke off altogether; so-so exterior styling, although I guess you can't expect too much from a wagon.