Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan


Pros & Cons

  • All-wheel drive. Gutsy boxer engine. Great handling. An automotive Swiss Army knife.
  • Inadequate seat travel. Dumb cupholder location.
List Price Estimate
$832 - $2,030

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Vehicle overview

Recently, Subaru decided to distance itself from mainstream automakers by emphasizing its 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 with bread-and-butter front-wheel drive models. The two-wheelers 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 Sportswagon of the early '80s.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, goes the old adage. Subaru is taking this advice. Gone is the slow-selling LSi luxury model, leaving Brighton wagon, L sedan and wagon, 2.5GT sedan and wagon, and Outback wagons. A new 2.5GT Limited sedan has been added, and it comes with leather upholstery, CD player, dark tinted glass, upgraded sound insulation and a Weatherband radio. The 2.5GT Limited comes only with an automatic, unfortunately. In January, Paul Hogan introduced the 1999 Sport-Utility Sedan (an Outback four-door by any other name). Mix Outback styling cues with a sedan body style and you get the picture. An interesting vehicle to be sure, but where's the utility portion of the equation?

Overall, prices haven't changed much, but some equipment has been deleted from the Brighton and L models to keep pricing in line. Base Outback wagons get new six-spoke alloy wheels and longer splash guards, along with a Weatherband radio. Previously, the latter was only available on the Outback Limited, which can be equipped with a power dual sunroof for 1998. All Outback Limited models became 30th Anniversary Editions midyear with the addition of revised exterior trim and standard dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, intermittent windshield wipers, front seatback netting and front door courtesy lights.

Two engines are available. Brighton and L models have a 2.2-liter, 137-horsepower boxer under the hood. Step up to the 2.5GT or the Outback and you'll enjoy a 165-horsepower 2.5-liter flat four that provides entertaining acceleration around town, particularly with the manual transmission.

Bargains can be had in the Legacy lineup. The L model comes equipped with cruise control, tachometer, power door locks, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS. The real deal is the Brighton wagon. With all-wheel drive, a 40-watt sound system and air conditioning all standard, this model is priced much lower than most other two-wheel drive wagons on the market. Add some alloy wheels, and nobody will know it's the cheapest Legacy 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, RAV4 or CR-V.

1998 Highlights

Prices remain stable while equipment is shuffled and the LSi model is dropped. All Legacy sedans and wagons, except the Outback, sport the grille and multireflector halogen lights found on the 2.5GT. A new Limited model joins the 2.5GT lineup, and a dual power moonroof package is available for the Outback Limited wagon. Outbacks get new alloy wheels, an overhead console and longer splash guards, while midyear Outback Limiteds with revised trim and added content were dubbed 30th Anniversary models. The cold weather package has heated windshield wiper nozzles this year instead of an engine block heater. The Brighton wagon's stereo loses half its wattage, Limited models have a standard CD player and the base Outback comes with a weatherband radio. Full power airbags continue, despite new government rules allowing automakers to install reduced force bags to better protect small adults.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Subaru Legacy.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

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:
1998 subaru legacy PROBLEMS
The 1998 Subaru Legacy wagon that I had bought for a 2nd car, gave us nothing but trouble. So glad I got rid of was nothing but a money pit. Oil leaks, gaskets, brakes, air conditioner problems, and then finally what broke the camels back transmission problems!!!!!
Little wagon that could
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.
AWD Mini Tank with indy car handling.
This in my opinion "midsized" sedan is a heavy, heavy beast, that you will LOVE to drive. Extremely stout, excellent in rain sleet snow or shine, I've put 170,000 miles on mine with only one issue, head gaskets. Thats not as bad as it sounds. 800 dollars at 120k and going FINE for another 50k... so far! Also handles like a dream. My previous car was a fully loaded eagle talon tsi awd. I thought that handled well and i had it lowered! This car puts it to shame. I have nothing but good to say about my legacy. I regularly get 28mpg... 40% city 60% highway. They also look great with some 17" wheels and a slight height drop.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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

More about the 1998 Subaru Legacy

Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan Overview

The Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan is offered in the following styles: L 4dr Sedan AWD, GT 4dr Sedan AWD, and GT Limited 4dr Sedan AWD.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan?

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Which used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedans are available in my area?

Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Sedan Listings and Inventory

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Can't find a used 1998 Subaru Legacy Legacy Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Legacy for sale - 4 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $14,420.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 4 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $11,410.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Legacy for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,174.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,762.

Should I lease or buy a 1998 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