Used 1998 Subaru Legacy Wagon Consumer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
I loved my Subaru and how fun it was to drive. Unfortunately, I will never buy another one. On a road trip with my kids, the the head gasket blew with less than 70000 miles! Over $1700 later I was on the road again but lost all faith in Subaru as a whole. I started to see head gaskets as a major problem with model years 1997-1999 by visiting other websites (www.subaruoutback.org) and no recall or note from Subaru.
We have owned this car for a number of years and we have had nothing but great experiences with it. Awesome to take up the mountain to go skiing or to head out to the beach to go camping. This car has excellent clearance for being just a wagon and lots of cargo capacity. We use the Yakima racks which bolt right on and work great for skis, bikes and our kayak. Decent gas mileage and power with pretty good handling. This car has been super reliable and built very well. We will be getting another Subaru and it will likely be the Legacy Outback wagon as it has been so great.
This is a great car. I have 190,000 miles on it. It has fewer rattles than a 2004 Toyota Sienna LXE I bought new that I traded for another new car. I tow a utility trailer and small craft trailer with it. Breaks, tires and belts and a tune up at 100,000 miles, second timing belt at 175,000. Very few problems ever - dash lights burnt out had them replaced. Some engine noise before warm up. Unbeatable in snow and ice. We get a lot of both here in northwestern Connecticut. You sit a little low but that's acceptable. Perhaps next year I will get another. Hope to keep this past 200,000 for winter driving and towing. My daily driver is now a 2006 Honda Accord - sill like the Subaru better I think!
Bought it used 8 years ago. Doing regular maint, it has been 100% reliable. With snow tires, it just goes and goes in New Hampshire winters - even on unplowed roads and driveways with 18 inches of snow, it can't be stopped. Not the most comfortable of cars (we have two other cars for long distance trips), but when the snow starts falling or we're headed skiing, it's always the Subie we take out. Best 11k I've ever spent.
We bought this Subuie from our neighbor who bought it new. When we bought it it had 65K miles and was complete with maintenance records and sales slip to day 1. We replaced the timing belt early (and water pump) just because it was close to time and it was 10 years old. This car has been very good for our college student who lives 370 miles away in eastern Washington state. Fully loaded with college stuff and 2 people it gets 30mpg highway and we get about 23 in town. The 2.2 is a good little motor and sufficient for this car. This year we put on 4 wheel snow tires and it goes in the snow with no complaints.
this is my second legacy, the first one the body rusted but the engine was still great with 140K on it, so I bought a demonstrator with 6k on it from the dealer. Besides the above mentioned gasket problem I have only changed the tires, and oil, and a timing belt when we did the gaskets. Subaru's are low maintenance cars.
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.
I bought this car new with fewer than 50 miles on it. It now has 177,000. I have had a few minor problems (oil leaks mainly) but so far nothing really major. The original set of tires got nearly 90K miles, I'm still on the original brake rotors, (but it's time for new ones) and third set of tires. In short, it has been a good reliable car. Not fancy, but dependable. I have a few rattles, but nothing major. Some of the dash lights are out. The car still gets 28MPG on the hwy and about 22 in the city. I'll probably buy another one soon. I may get the H6 instead of the 4, but the 4 is more than adequate for the way I drive it.
I had to give this car 10's regardless. This has been the best car I've owned I have over 240,000 on mine and I have never had any major mechanical problems This was my 1st Subaru. I have had now 7 and I can't justify getting rid of this one - it keeps going and going lol. I can still put the petal to the metal and It doesn't mind any of the continued driving. I do drive and use the car hard but I have made sure I maintained this car perfectly, every 3000 an oil change which at times ranged ever 3 weeks. I don't really know how I will ever get rid of it. We currently have an 06 Tribeca and 06 Legacy so now this baby gets more rest than it used to. Go Subie!
Fully equiped car, great cargo room and versatility. Excellent handling especially in rain & snow. Visibilty and drivability excellent. Slugish acceleration and poor gas mileage. Average 21 mpg but w/ AWD..... Possible engine leak (minor) which drips on exhaust causing burning smell Various backlights on dash radio & controls have gone out-Annoying 94,000 miles w/ only brakes and oil changes.
This car is still mistaken for a newer car by friends, it is still solid and rides like new. Minimal problems in the last nine years. It has been 100% reliable, never any major problems. Goes through any snow or mud with ease. ABS system works great. Would buy another one and will. 139,000 miles so far.
4WD is outstanding in poor weather. Inexpensive maintenance problems. Security system has a mind of its own! Goes off for unexplained reasons.
Holds a lot of stuff. Has never broken down on the road. I always feel confident driving it.
Brakes go bad very fast, probably rotors are not big enough for the car, the 2.5 Ltr engine is a bored out 2.0 engine and I think that is the reason for damaged head gaskets. Check for compression regularly, and change the oil as well as keep some antifreeze on hand. People do get 250,000 miles out of these, although Subaru made their mark with the slightly smaller engine.
Subarus are well-known cars for their reliability and durability, esp in weather conditions like the Northeast. So I bought one and don't ever regret it. Change the oil every 3k and general maintenance and you can log 200k+ miles on these machines. As other posts have mentioned, it does like to leak oil, so have them check for leaks during oil changes. But parts are cheap and mechanics love working on Subaru's because they are easy, albeit, when you need them to. They will rarely leave you stranded!!! Goes right through the snow and rain, the engine is quite peppy for a 4 cyl and good on gas and can run just fine on 89. Your overall cost owning a Subaru is one of the best.
Purchased '98 Outback with 71k miles, owned for just over 1 year. At 80,312 miles head gasket failed at 4th cylinder. Warped heads, burnt one exhaust valve, total cost $1900. Repaired by independent trust-worthy mechanic, he repairs 12/year atleast. Subaru is aware of this problem and has started a "campagn" that includes a coolant additive to any of the '99 or newer engines. Very common problems in all 2.5's. Absolutely loved the car when first bought, it was well maintained by myself and prev. owner. Now the car runs differently and has lost much of it's soul. Don't trust Subaru or its dealerships.
I am a liyal Subura owner. I purchase my father's 90' Legacy and sold it with over 200k miles. I then purchased my friends mother's 1998 Outback Limited with 20k miles on it. A67k miles I had major head gasket problems resulting in $1,700. worth of repairs. After investigating this I have come across this is a very common problem. Waiting on subura to reply to my complaint letter
As the years go by, I've been consistently impressed with the reliability of my Outback, and once I discovered the difference a K&N air filter made to that mildly anemic 2.5l engine, it's been alot of fun to drive, too. The only reason I'm thinking of selling is because I continually read about the head gasket problems so many owners have had (but none on mine, so far.) The interior has stood up very well (leather still looks great, with minimal fuss)and everything still works the way it did when I bought it new. In rain and snow (esp. wet snow on icy roads, which we get near the west coast) it's performance is just stellar. AWD and ABS are the best.
Bought used in April of 2001. Was impressed by the solid feel and obvious quality of this car. Has many features, ABS, AWD, strong enough 2.5 litre engine, killer upgraded stereo, heated leather seats, lots of room in back, dual moon roofs. Will carry bicycles inside with back seats down, very stable and great steering.
My parents got a new '05 Outback LTD, I had choice of driving the '02 Malibu i had for about a year or taking my Mom's old '98 Outback Ltd. I chose the Outback. I wanted the AWD and versitility of a station wagon. It's a great car for anyone. It has power when you really punch it, but not too much in normal driving. Handles well in ice. In the NW, had an ice strom yesterday. Coming around a corner before my turn and a truck coming the other way...SIDEWAYS. Handled well with ice, punching it and quick movement, only thing major was heavy idle, which dealer fixed. Rear hatch's hydrolic arms are loosing its umph, need to replace. Drivers seatbelt started to dethread, fixed.
Overall, this car has been (and still is) a remarkably solid machine. As of Nov. '05 we've accrued 176,000 miles, yet the car's only substantial mechanical issue has been replacing front wheel bearings and standard brake overhaul: not bad at all, I'd say!
Was expecting "great," but only got "average." Two oil leaks - one at 15K and another at 95K miles. This car seems to run best when used primarily on the highway - lots of city driving adversely affects engine performance for some reason. Driver seat padding is not firm enough and wears thin after 2+ hours of sitting/driving. AWD works very well and mileage is pretty good at 21/29.
This past winter we had record snowfalls in the northeast and I've never had more fun drifting the subie around in the drifts. At one point we were tearing it up in 18 inches looking for deeper drifts just to see if we "could" get it stuck. We eventually succeeded when we fell into the valley of a hill and we were up to our windows. In general though the car is great at 131,000 it's still chugging along fine. I had to repace the clutch after my friend thought he could drive a manual.... but so far I've gone trough two sets of tires and the car corners surprisingly well for all the ground clearance. The interior is kinda sucky but hey for the price nothing else can offroad at 24mpg.
My second Subaru and probably not the last, the Legacy L wagon has been a good partner for our family. I would wish for a bit more torque at low rev and a more refibned interior design. I experienced the "classic" valve tapping assigned to many Subaru models. I will get that taken care of by the dealrship soon. Good gas mileage (27/35), enough room for 4 plus camping gears, safe (all wheel drive, ABS).
I bought this car with 142k miles for $3700, it was a one owner in pretty good shape. This is the 5th Subaru that I have owned, just like all the others it has proved reliable, easy to work on, and excellent off road and in snowy climates. I live in SLC,UT and ski quite a bit at Alta, this winter they have recieved over 650" of snow. This car does great in the snow, especially with dedicated snow tires. While most other cars are creeping up the canyon, this car is totally stable on snowpack. I would recommend these cars for people who need the space of a larger SUV, but don't like driving the extra mass. With the 5 speed, power is never a problem.
After I totaled my first car my grandma gave me her old Subaru; she loved the car it was easy for her to drive and she had trouble parting with it. I drove the car a year and totaled it as well, I was only going 10 mph when I rear ended a Jeep Cherokee, afterward I got the car fixed, and it was driving pretty good, I drove from Va, to NY and back in 2 days with no problems, now the car is in the shop an they think the head gasket has blown, I think ill be buying and Audi next.
I am the original owner of this car. It now has about 155,000 miles. Had to replace the head gasket at 89,000 miles. Was not a happy camper, but its been running OK since then. A few quirky problems, mostly with sensors and brakes, but once they are replaced, it seems fine. I will probably be replacing it within a year, and I don't think I will buy another Subaru, but I can't honestly think of a more affordable AWD vehicle with as much room as it has. Hopefully Subaru has improved its quality a bit since 98.
I bought my Subaru OUtback (automatic) with 214,000 and quickly put on another 10k in 6 months. I took it camping, [light] off-roading, and driving cross country. it worked great from Wisconsin to Utah to California. It does need a little more pep from the engine, but for what I needed it was the perfect mix of reliability, space, and economy. I was getting around 23 MPG per tank, I got through the snow and up mountains with no problems. I was able to move all the stuff needed for 2 college students cross country with no problem. It did more off road than I would have expected, be sure to check the head gasket before buying.
Pros: This car handles mountain roads which only barely meet the definition of a road and does so with a smile. Rain doesn't faze it, and it's taken me through a foot of fresh snow or over ice without a slip. Subaru has heart, and it's got the guts of a mule. What's more, it's a comfortable car to drive. And although the phoney hoodscoop looks pretentious, the overall styling is attractive and functional. Cons: cup holder location could be worse, but I'm not sure how.
We bought the car so we could travel when it snowed. I was pleased with its all around performance. It rides great and there is plenty of room in the back for the kids and luggage. The dog comes along to! It gives a very comfortable ride and had not given me one bit of problem over the past 4 years.
Very good in snow & rain. Drink Holders poorly located. Pushbuttons on radio & Heater/AC controls stick annoyingly. A/C Compressor failed in first 6 months, replaced under warranty.
Have had this car from new with no major problems only routine maintenance. A very reliable car and great in snow and rain especially with real snow tires mounted to spare rims. Could use a little more power but with the 5 speed a quick downshift brings you back into the power band. Expect to get many more years out of it and appreciate the reliability and build quality. A poor man's Audi A4 but with more room and affordable repairs and parts. Good, not great, handling and very comfortable on a recent cross country trip(4K miles in a month)
This car runs really well. The only big problem is the head gaskets, they go out too much. Great gas mileage.
Bought this Outtie 4yrs ago in college, reliable ever since. Averaged 25+mpg on fuels, comfortable ride, ample cargo room. Accessorize with a decent CD player and you're set. Acceleration weak at times, esp over the mtns. Bigger engine/HP desirable, but this 98 does the job. Has held resale value nicely, which bodes well for the trade- in type. Maintenance also remains low. Did break speedometer and sensor however (67K)
As far as reliable cars suited for inclimate conditions go, the Subaru proves to be the mule in its respective class. Interior design and comfort prove above average although not up to Audi Avant standards. Exterior design is a little above average, but you can see for yourself that she's no Porsche. The major drawback to this car resides under the hood. The car simply does not have any pep what-so- ever. Fun to drive? No. This car is not for those who enjoy a sporty ride. Overall this car is good solid transportation suited for any and all drivers who don't mind sluggish performance.
Simply fun to drive and own
I have loved this car until recently. At 98,000 out of nowhere we had a cracked cylinder. Still no idea why! We were far from home and made a mistake. We didn't take it to a Subaru dealer immediately. We had a "friend" put a used engine in it. Problems ever since. I looking for a new car. I am thinking SUV but have not eliminated another Outback. It goes anywhere and through everything. Just bad luck!
Great car. Once you drive a Subaru with AWD there is no going back.
85k in five years with minimal problems - replaced rear axle clutch plates last year, and some A/C and button lights have been out for years (expensive to replace). Handles lovely on curvy roads, although a few more horses would be nice; perfect suspension balance between handling and comfort. Extremely comfortable. Never been in a better snow (or other inclement weather) vehicle. Piston slap is normal and disconcerting, but three dealer mechanics have told me it does not cause problems.
This is a great car. This was the car my parents gave to me during college. It was sporty enough to be cool, but practical enough on the wallet (great gas mileage). I could fit 5 of my friends plus all the stuff needed for a tailgater! Great highway car, quick passing ability, for the average driver. Great steering. Awesome audio system (6 speaker CD/fm/tape) some of the weather stripping became weak, which allowed a bit too much wind noise to enter the car, but not enough to cause significant issues. Overall, a great car...I plan on buying a new one soon.
I have 2 of these cars. One has an automatic, the other a 5 speed. The 5 speed car has 165,500 miles with no major failures. I live in snow country and it is a great car for the snow. It is extremely economical to operate and has held up rather well. Would I recommend a Subaru? You bet. If you want a mid to lower priced 4wd car that is built like a tank, then this is your ride. It has all the creature comforts you could ask for. A+++++++
As a family of four with two dogs...this vehicle does it all! It handles Michigan pot-holes, icy road, and highways flawlessly. Why buy an SUV that's too top heavy, a gas guzzler, higher taxes (registrations are outrageous), insurance, etc.???? Second Subaru owned...first one was sold for $2,000 AFTER near 200,000 miles!
We bought our Subaru for dependable, all season driving. It is a bit underpowered, but it wasn't billed as a high performance car. Had to replace front oil seal, both valve cover gaskets and now the head gasket has internal leak that HAS to be repaired--$3000 estimate. At 125,000 miles, we expected better reliability. Looks like this is a known problem that Subaru isn't willing to deal with. Too bad. I really liked the car other than that and had planned on another when my 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee had to be replaced.
Major transmission problems at 92,000 and 122,000 miles. Need engine valves, power steering valve and CV boot replaced now for more money.
Beware of this vehicle as I have blown a head gaskette, two tappet cover gaskets, a heater core, a radiator and a lot of other small parts. I wish my extended warranty would have lasted a little bit longer as I have dumped a ton of money into this vehicle. I would never buy another Subaru in the future.