My 1998 Subaru is still on the road. It is 20 years old and I have had it for 16 years. It still gets me where I need to go and blasts through 3 ft snow banks. The down side is it is getting rusty due to Maine winters and the salt on the roads. The last 5 yrs have seen a lot of replacement parts but I have wanted to keep it.
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.
I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy GT with 243,000 km on the engine. The car is in mint condition - arctic white paint. The head gasket now needs to be replaced. Did all the maintenance. I've been lucky it lasted this long. Car was mostly highway driven. Car is drivable and the leaking coolant is gradual and would go un-noticed to someone not familiar with the car. Head gasket is not reliable so getting it replaced by a certified Subaru mechanic. Will cost $3,500 to do it right. Don't recommend to do it cheaply because if its not done right the gasket can leak again.
Link that provides excellent info about problem: http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/
The all wheel drive system is excellent.
Head gasket and cooling system design.
An interesting read on cooling design problem:
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 :(
This wagon is unsuspecting, with the 2.5l engine this car has some nice giddy up to blow past Prius's and Honda's. Short comings would be the notorious head gasket issue and cup holder placement. Fuel economy is not great, but with a 90's car with awd what do you expect? The benefits being an excellent awd system and plenty of room. With the ability to floor the gas or slam on the brakes and getting 0 wheel slippage in the pouring rain allows for a confident feel behind the wheel in any driving conditions.
Favorite features include: Awd, sunroof, cargo space, easy to read gauge cluster and properly maintained these cars can go hundred of thousands of miles, mine is currently over 202500 miles.
Nothing can be changed now but a change in the open deck block design or the oem head gasket design would have improved reliability from factory. A more secure and resizeable cup holder would be convenient but overall its a great car especially when living in an area where u get all types of weather.