Used 1997 Subaru Legacy

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1997 Subaru Legacy
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1997 Subaru Legacy

Pros

  • SUV utility in car-like package, excellent rear leg room, better than you'd think acceleration & handling

Cons

  • High price, dull styling
Subaru Legacy years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Recently, Subaru decided to distance itself from mainstream automakers by emphasizing all-wheel drive models. A wise move, since loyal Subaru buyers stick with the brand, partially because of the wide variety of AWD models in the company's stable. In the early 90s, the company attempted to steal market share from Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mazda. The campaign failed dismally.

These days, Subaru is enjoying rising success in the United States, in part due to consumer awareness of the safety benefits of all-wheel drive vehicles, and in part because of the popularity of the sport-utility vehicle. In 1996, Subaru introduced a jacked-up, duded-out edition of the hot-selling Legacy station wagon. Called the Outback, it was sold as the world's first sport-utility wagon. Evidently, Subaru marketing gurus, like much of the buying public, have forgotten the AMC Eagle Sportwagon of the early '80s.

The Outback is leading the way again for 1997. Subaru has added leather seats, woodgrain trim, and gold badging to this popular wagon, creating the Limited Edition. All that's missing now is the vinyl woody siding. All Outbacks are equipped with a 2.5-liter engine this year, including those equipped with manual transmissions. We've driven the Outback, and were impressed by its on-road handling and off-road capability. Great family vehicle. We recommend it.

However, we also like the 2.5GT. Available in sedan or wagon format, the 2.5GT finally gets a much needed manual transmission. Also new for 1997 is revised styling, more horsepower and torque, and larger tires. Lesser but still loaded LSi models only come with an automatic transmission, and are more luxury than sport oriented.

Bargains can be had in the Legacy lineup. The L model moves up to fill the gap left by the departed LS model. Cruise control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and power door locks make their way onto the standard equipment list for 1997. The real deal is the Brighton Wagon. With all-wheel drive, an 80-watt sound system, and air conditioning all standard, this wagon is priced much less than most other two-wheel drive wagons on the market. Add some alloy wheels, and nobody will know it's the cheapest model in the lineup. Unfortunately, ABS is not available on the Brighton.

Subaru has a good thing going with the Legacy, which offers a little something for everyone. Roomy, comfortable, and loaded with utility, the Legacy's standard all-wheel drive should make you think twice about that Taurus, Accord or Camry.

1997 Highlights

Front-wheel-drive models are given the ax as Subaru returns to its all-wheel drive roots. Power and torque are up marginally with the base 2.2-liter engine. The 2.5-liter motor (also stronger this year and now available with a manual transmission) is now the only engine mated to the Outback. L models gain cruise control, antilock brakes and power door locks as standard equipment. GTs get a manual transmission, larger tires and revised styling. The Outback lineup is expanded with the introduction of a Limited model, which includes a leather interior, new alloy wheels, fresh exterior colors and wood grain interior trim.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Subaru Legacy.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

The Adventure Wagon
Andrew,09/26/2015
Understand this isn't a Mercedes, although this car doesn't offer much in respect to the interior the reliability is outstanding for a four cylinder car. When I purchased my 2.5L wagon it had 190,000 miles on it. It now has 280,000 miles on it and is running no different then when I bought it. From the coast of California to the coast of north Carolina, this car has only needed an oil change here and there! Weather you be a first time car buyer or someone who wants a reliable car to keep miles off there nice car, you can not go wrong with this car. I will say the acceleration is terrible, I know some people have complaints about the head gasket blowing but I have the feeling its because they tried to drive the car to hard. But as long as you keep the timing belt changed and drive sensibly this car will take great care of you. Other notes: I have a 130lb dog she fits fine in there, the seats lay down giving me plenty of storage room; in fact because I travel so much I usually get a memory foam mattress topper and it makes a perfect bed for me and her (im 6'1). This car also eats oil so just be sure you check the oil every 3000 miles or so. Another thing I noticed when I was in the desert it was sitting stationary for about 5 minutes and started to over heat... I turned it off to let it cool and it was all good. Far as the steering goes its defiantly a longer car; ever since ive owned the car if I make a sharp turn at low speeds it shakes and vibrates a lot... im not sure why but its never hurt anything. The seats padding somewhat wears out on the outside and you can feel the wire frame after a while of getting in and out of the car (im not over weight at all im in great shape... its not because im fat) but the fabric is good material and wont rip easily. also the car has a feature where it notifies you if a specific door is open... they tend to fail over time and it may be telling you a door is open when its not.. that's kind of annoying. The tailgate light also miss reads if the rear door is open or not over time, again nothing major but it can by irritating. Far as clean up goes I have a long hair dog and the carpet doesn't trap hair, its actually really easy to clean up. Also if you change elevation quickly such as going through the rocky mnts the oxygen sensor will go off causing the check engine light to come on, just have it cleared after you get back to a more steady elevation. Remember to keep the tire pressure even! this is what caused the rear end to wine when I bought the vehicle; I guess the previous owner neglected to keep the tire pressure in check which resulted in a wine in the rear end. Something else Im not fond of is the cup holders... there to small.
Watch those head gaskets
joeysalazar1976,08/19/2009
The Subaru brand, much like Saab come from airplane companies. The build quality and performance are amazing for the price. But repairs are expensive. The Subaru 2.5 is god awful for blowing head gaskets if you don't baby your car. But if you treat your car right, you will get to experience all wheel drive like no other car company can build for some reason. I have had a wrx and an outback, and both have been whips.
Awesome Car!!!
Sherry ,04/03/2009
I bought this car with 98,000 miles as of today I have 252,000. It still runs like a top. I drive over a 100 miles a day to work and I have never felt so safe. Never fails to start. I have only had to do the usual maintenance for it. I make sure it has an oil change ever 3000 and regular maintenance. But I love this car. I live where there are a lot of dirt roads and the roads are not always plowed when I leave for work. This car, with a set of snow tires will walk through anything. I have a driveway that goes down hill along ways, and snow gets pretty deep in my driveway. But this car walk up that driveway like it was summer. I just can’t say enough about the car.
typical head gasket problems
Dr. Kupras,07/17/2006
Haven't had this car for 3 years yet and have been very dedicated to maintaining it; new tires, struts, water pump, starter, 2 timing belts, front wheel bearing, etc, etc. Bought it with 85k on it, now has 123k and the head gasket is blown, which I found out is very common on these Subarus. Damn thing keeps over heating and will cost about 2 gs to fix it now, which I won't do. I will never buy another Subaru again. I paid extra for it since I was under the illusion it was a quality car. However, I know now that they are junk like most other cars out there. It doesn't matter if you take great care of them or not, they'll only bleed you dry.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
137 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
137 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 1997 Subaru Legacy features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 1997 Subaru Legacy
Used 1997 Subaru Legacy Overview

The Used 1997 Subaru Legacy is offered in the following submodels: Legacy Sedan, Legacy Wagon. Available styles include GT 4dr Sedan AWD, Outback 4dr Wagon AWD, L 4dr Wagon AWD, Brighton 4dr Wagon AWD, LSi 4dr Sedan AWD, Outback 4dr Sedan AWD, GT 4dr Wagon AWD, L 4dr Sedan AWD, Outback Limited 4dr Wagon AWD, and LSi 4dr Wagon AWD.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Subaru Legacy?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 Subaru Legacies are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Subaru Legacys you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Legacy for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,290.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 1 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,907.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Legacy for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $9,914.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 1 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $19,042.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Subaru Legacy?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Subaru lease specials
Check out Subaru Legacy lease specials