I've owned my 04 legacy 35th anniv wagon with 5spd manual since 2007. I bought it with 33K and it now has 58K miles. I had a Jeep Cherokee before this and it was not a good driving vehicle, nor was it good in the snow (surprisingly). I bought the legacy wagon because I wanted awd and some room in the back like an SUV, but I also know that 95% of the driving I do is on the road and I wanted a car that drives like a sports car. This car does that. I have a separate set of wheels with studded snows for the winter and when I have to drive in really bad conditions (I live in CO) I have no worries at all. Awd with manual trans and studded snows all around are great.
Good handling, cloth seats, good utility with a wagon, feel safe and in control in the worst weather and driving conditions. I like the looks of the legacy as opposed to the outback. I don't like all the body cladding and other crap on the outback.
More power, better gas mileage (but really it's not too bad). It's kind of noisy at speed, make it quieter. Make the front sunroof slide open and not just pop up.
I also had problems after 50,000 miles and just want to get rid of it. I also owned a 1995 Subaru before and it never gave me any troubles. My head gasket is cracked, have had transmission problems almost immediately and their is always something wrong with this car. It is sad because I used to trust Subaru as a quality car. It costs almost as much as a BMW to repair, so why not quality.
Technically not a lemon, but awfully close to one! In 80,000 miles I've had a transmission replaced, three catalytic converters, three oxygen sensors, numerous cruise control problems, burning oil smell, creaking windows, etc. Finally got rid of it and found out that the trade-in value is next to nothing. But at least I am happy now!
Fix the emission control problems. Don't just keep replacing parts - fix the causes!
After owning a 98 Legacy, my wife and I wouldn't settle for anything other than another Subaru wagon. We're roadtrippers and campers and when we're not mapping new territories, we love the sense of safety and very smooth ride of our 35th Anniversary Legacy (2004), with the double sunroof and fully reclinable seats being just as sweet in the city as it is useful in the sticks.
All wheel drive, double sunroof (the rear being fully retractable), automatic everything with cruise control, substantial couchy seats (the back seat in not thin and flimsy), good control and power for a 4-cyl, solid stable drive, and keeps its sturdiness at high speed.
In subsequent models/years, I hear the lack in power has been address with more hp and less weight, but the 2004 still has a noticable gap in desired power if you're used to shuttle launches.
Some fit and finish problems notably the weather stripping coming loose. Also had to replace sunroof because of wind noise, all done by dealer with no hassle. Otherwise very dependable. Only expense has been gas, tires and brakes. No repairs.