Bought this Brighton in '04, with 160k miles. Now it is 2018 and it has 215k. Much of it is on rough dirt roads. But it is still a satisfying road car with AWD. The mpg was 30 when bought and has dropped to 25. Everything works. It needed a first clutch at 190k and new struts at 205k. Tires last as they should which means alignment holds on dirt/gravel roads. I have no serious complaints about this car. Fortunately I have discovered an honest local mechanic who only works on Subes. All other troubles were mostly with mechanics who were rip-offs or did not know Subarus. There is no rust and the upholstery is fine. Others have mentioned the 2.2 engine. It is the best thing about early 90s Subarus. Avoid the 2.5 in late 90s model Legacy as it has head gasket problems.
This has to be the best car ever made. Despite harsh Michigan winters it is 21 years and still running great! The engine is still very quiet & runs like it did 15 years ago. This car handles like a sports car! Snow performance is the best. (I also have a 2012 Outback & this 95 is much better in snow & the 2012 handles like a marshmallow in comparison.) I have backed this car out of the driveway after a huge snow fall while my neighbor sat and spun in his pick up truck. The car must be perfectly weighted for going through the snow. This body style also had a ton of cargo room! It has more cargo area with the rear seat up then the 2012 does. With the split seat I have been able to have a passenger in the back seat plus my 80 pound dog in a large dog crate. I am having suspension problems now & exhaust problems. But hey after 21 years that is to be expected. Since I can't do the work myself it would likely be expensive to get it done. I will just keep driving it and see how long it will last. If you can find one of these cars, or a car with this engine - buy it!! Note to Subaru! Please do not angle off the back end of the Impreza & Outback, it really cuts into the cargo room. This body style is just right! Not too big but still amazingly holds a ton of stuff. Also, lower the outback and make a true wagon, because that is what this 95 is. Bring back this car!
Nothing is perfect in this world but I sure do love the LSi I bought about 10 years ago. I bought it at 88,000 miles as the third owner and from a friend who's father ran the local dealership in 2007, near mint and $3,500 (Yeah.) She sits at 166,625 right now and ran for at least 6 years, regular maintenance included, before requiring a major repair (See: Ball Joints and Front CV Axle, "Major"). As we speak, I am replacing the Head Gaskets, which is something any Subaru owner and mechanic can tell you is common. Honestly, some would even say unnecessary. I recall one mechanic who told me once, "If the Subaru doesn't drip oil, it's not a Subaru or you're out of oil.". But such is the life of an aluminum head automobile. I've driven through snowstorms other AWD vehicles have been trapped in. Taken her off-road for dirt-road camping, road tripped to every state surrounding, Hydroplaned and bumped the driver rear side hard enough to deform the support linkage; Had to replace the wasted tire but she never complained. Only until I replaced the rear disc pads some time later and had her up did I notice. Including the aforementioned linkage, I have since replaced the Wheel Bearings (2 bad, all of them under a "Replace one, replace the other" philosophy). A Front CV Axle, Ball Joints (under the same previous repair philosophy), water pump & timing belt. Otherwise, most every other piece of this car has been OEM, at just under 170,000 miles. Everything listed above, I did myself. Using Harbor Freight tools and a Garage with no power (or a front Lot). Extremely easy to work on and unbelievably forgiving. I will never sell this car. If you find one of these in repairable condition below 250,000 miles. You have found a treasure known only to the select few (Read: Many) who have been lucky enough to own one. Just ask the guy who I bought the car from who, to this day, laments having sold the car (of course, it was not his blood and sweat which kept it running!). Listen, she's not the sportiest and she's not the fastest. She's got 4-cylinders in an aluminum block and the engine has a buzzy hum on acceleration when you put it to the floor. But she's got getup and she's definitely got go when it gets down to it. This car endeared and sold me to the Subaru Brand.
Roomy, roof rack, 20-26mpg, the last year Subaru did front-wheel drive on this model, and still it handed really well in the snow and on ice (tires make a big difference too). This model has one of the most reliable engines Subaru ever made. The L is always manual transmission. I bought this car in 2012 with 150k miles on it, sold it with near 210k miles on it. I had to replace both boots twice in the time I had it, but I drove pizza delivery with it so went over the same speed bumps and tracks many more times per day than average. I also needed to do the head gaskets once, a known Subaru gremlin, but everything else was just routine scheduled maintenance. For its age, this car handled well, was comfortable for passengers and accelerated quickly. Incredibly reliable, I would have kept it were I not ready to upgrade. I'm guessing the one I drove will run another 100k+, these things run forever if cared for. I liked this car so much I got another Subie.
I was the second owner of my Subie, purchased at 156k, and I just sold it to a friend with 208k on it. It's an oldie, but still a goodie. This is one of the most reliable transmissions Subaru ever made. I've had performance people stop me and tell me I have one of the best models, and have had others offer to by my wagon at the grocery store! Still a popular car that I have seen sell higher than it's value because people know how good they are. Despite modest specs, this car accelerates faster than you'd expect and has been great for urban driving. This car is RELIABLE and will run even with the worst of leaks. Non interference engine unlike later Subies and most Japanese cars of this era - aka if the timing belt snaps, it won't destroy your engine. I drove on a blown crank seal unknowingly for 1k miles, and it didn't break down on me or ruin the engine/transmission. That was in the middle of a 4K mile road trip, and it ran great the rest of the trip and beyond. I delayed my scheduled timing belt job (where they would have checked/replaced the seal) and took it on a trip (stupid, my mistake not the car). This car is very forgiving to abuse, more so than it's automatic counterpart. Subarus are prone to leaky gaskets and axles wearing quicker than other cars. Small price to pay for the reliability, upkeep parts and maintenance are affordable. I fully expect this car to run another 200k if properly maintained. Change all fluids and complete maintenance on time, and this car will last FOREVER. I got great mileage too, higher than I was supposed to likely because I'm easy on my clutch. I pulled 25 city and around 30 highway - the last year Subie made front-wheel drive, and it's a good one. I only sold my car because I needed to upgrade for my job - otherwise I would have driven this car forever! For an oldie, it has cruise control, power mirrors and doors, stock speakers could be a lot worse, and although the door seals aren't great I feel WAY less of the road than some of the 15 year newer cars I test drove to replace it. If seeking a great cheap older manual transmission car I can't recommend this model enough. On par with the Accord or Camry, and a bit more fun to drive (in my opinion). Incredibly space efficient for its size. I've moved furniture in it with the backseat down. Best for city driving vs long commutes, there are better cars out there mileage-wise. I've never put money into this car beyond routine maintenance and odd interior things that fall apart with age (it IS a 20 year old car). My only complaint is that the cup-holder is poorly placed right by the front vents, easy to spill in there - and they only hold a pop can or smaller, hard to find coffee cups that fit. For it's age and year, it's a great car that will live forever! If you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with a 95 L Wagon if it's been reasonably well-maintained.