Bought the car from a repo lot who said they had checked it over. It was at 230,000 km and discovered the head gaskets were shot while driving home. Dealer did the fix and had many other fixes done. Was also told the heads could maybe be machined down 1 more time before they would be too thin. At 250k a piston rod let go and got a recommended mechanic to rebuild the motor. After timing pulleys shattered then heads were leaking due to the mechanic I fixed myself. Now at 275k enine is leaking multiple fluids and loosing power. Love the car but the previous owners lack of maintenance (found some mechanics reports) resulted in too much damage.
All wheel drive, comfortable ride, large trunk space.
Don't go to any old mechanic or get cheap quality parts. The engines susceptibility to problems when you miss certain maintenance routines is a bit of a problem for some people.
Purchased in 2000 with 20k miles. AWD/Auto/Leather/dual sunroof/All weather pkg/loaded. Drives through anything! Has taken me home every time through bad weather and good! With 198,000 miles on her now, she is still going strong.
I have gone through a lot of brakes and associated parts... I'm not a hard braker but I've replaced all the calipers at least once and one rear caliper 2 or 3 times! In 2011 replaced the front bearings. In 2012 replaced outside front CVs, drivers interior CV & Timing belt/water pump & tensioner service done ... wow I was gonna sell it but now I'm gonna keep it for another 25,000 miles. Tranny flush n fill too! Oil changes every 10K now. Used to be 3k, then 5k.
Seat Heaters, Wiper deicers, Dual sun roofs (cools car quick), NOAA Radio (weather band), Easy folding rear seats, decent capacity for loading up.
No buzzer when you take your seat belt off for whatever purpose.
Headlights can be left in the 'on' position so they go on and off with key :)
Original exhaust! But had minor joint repair post Cat.
AWD corners nicely on dry roads - awesome in snow!
Thin car, I squeeze into the narrowest spaces with no problems.
Decent mpg ~ 26-29 depending on speed (65 better mileage, 69 mph and it goes down -on hwy)
Cruise control works great and helps get it to 29mpg.
Clearance is great, easy to climb over stuff...
This thing is almost unstoppable!
This suggested Improvement section is obsolete for a 1998 car, should be retitled "Things tolerated"
Seats give me back pain after 2.5 hrs in them.
Cup holder is in a bad position (as noted in previous review).
Center console is short length wise, can barely hold the wheel and have my elbow resting on it.
No power outlet in center console.
Gauges are electronic, lose power and even the speedo goes away!
Wipers could have selectable delay setting instead of just one.
No Seek on radio (have to double click Scan)
CD sticks on very cold days, as does the cruise set switch on that stalk.
Lights burned out quick in HVAC controls.
Green Dash lights- not a good color.
NO doc. about alarm system :(
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.
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.