Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon

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Pros & Cons

  • All-wheel drive. Gutsy boxer engine. Great handling. An automotive Swiss Army knife.
  • Inadequate seat travel. Dumb cupholder location.
List Price Estimate
$786 - $1,917

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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

98 Legacy Outback Wagon "AUTO"
flatchewlant,01/08/2013
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.
Last Subaru I'll ever buy!
Oliver,03/21/2005
This is my 3rd Subie and will be my last. Subaru has known about the head gasket problems plaguing the 97' thru 01's for a long time and they aren't doing anything to help their loyal customers out. Cost me over $2,400! to get it back on the road again. They blow at around 90,000 miles.
Time to Go
Voiceover,11/08/2008
It's time for this car to go. It has been a daily driver and true workhorse for 10 years, mostly for commuting to work. Long trips were agonizing - serious lack of power with the 4-cylinder engine and the vague handling did not inspire confidence. Rust is abundant due to the application of plastic on the underbody rather than paint. On the plus side, we really did not put much money into this car for repairs so I would place reliability at the top of the food chain. Interior design left much to be desired with the cup holder blocking the heater, radio/CD/tape and clock. Back seat folding was an incredible nuisance to the point of where we didn't bother. Overall, we got our $worth.
Perfect car? Maybe so!
fireemsdrew,02/21/2012
Subaru Legacy Outback could possiable be THE prefect car, a mix of comfort, performance and reliability. Having owned this car for 5 years, we have been through many many things. Comfortably holds 5 adults and all luggage for a weeks vacation, 31 mpg. Now, this car does not have a lot of "get up and go" but that isn't what it is made for! I currently have 312,000 miles on it and drive it 50 miles a day to work. Also being a volunteer firefighter and emt this car holds all of my gear with a LOT of room to spare. Never left me stranded weather it is snowing in blizard conditions, or raining buckets. Also, as a hunter and fisher I have used this car to get to some of my favorite remote spots.

Features & Specs

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
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon features & specs

Safety

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
    Acceptable

More about the 1998 Subaru Legacy

Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Overview

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

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

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

Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Listings and Inventory

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Find a used Subaru Legacy for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $22,605.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $13,707.

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