1985 Subaru GL Touring Wagon 1.8


Reliable, but a sink-hole for money on repairs to keep it running


Radiataor died of old age and frailty.

Water pump bearings collapsed.

Electrical short circuit due to poor repair by previous owner.

Clutch and operating fork wore out and required replacement.

Driver's seat has worn badly on the seat belt side.

General Comments:

I bought the car cheaply for $2500 at a time when I had little time to find a replacement. It needed another $1000 to make it roadworthy, and I've spent about another $3000 on the repairs listed above.

Around town the car used about 12lt/100km, on the highway, around 9lt/100km. It never blew smoke or used much oil.

On purchase, one of the valve lifters was noisy, but with regular servicing (I had this done religiously) this has rectified itself.

On one occasion, I nearly had a fire when the wiring short-circuited, and an auto electrician traced the problem to a poorly conducted previous modification. Otherwise the car has been very reliable, and always started well with choke from cold, but required warming up to perform reasonably.

I used the car as family transport, and found it roomy and versatile. It's a bit of a snail on highway hills, but plods along OK. I am also a hang glider pilot, and used it to transport my glider up and down 4WD tracks to launch. The hi/lo 4WD works well, and it did this job admirably!

When it came time to sell it, however, I discovered that it has terminal structural rust in the front members, and a potential buyer commented that he had seen other Subarus with similar problems. This problem has sadly made its resale value virtually worthless.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2005

1990 Subaru GL 1.8


Noisy, slow, but a little tank!


Nothing so far, touch wood. I've only done 7000km, so its early days yet.

The engine gives out strange noises, but apparently that's typical of this model.

One of the CV joints will probably need replacement because there is always a knocking sound whenever I do left hand turns.

General Comments:

This is my first car, and so far I have had no troubles at all.

Very smooth to drive and it takes corners well.

Lots of room in the back, in fact I've already purchased a mattress for the back, which is highly recommended for anyone with a station wagon.

Fuel economy is average, providing you drive it the way it likes to be driven. City driving is about 10km/liter, and freeway driving is about 11km/liter. That could be better for a 1.8l engine.

It doesn't have much grunt, but I can see it has a big heart and will go the distance.

My mate has one of these cars, and has driven it from 220000 to 300000 without many troubles. There was plenty of road trips in that car with a lot of 4W Driving. There's not many places these cars can't go.

I'm hoping mine, which I purchased quite young (166000km), will do the same.

For anyone that likes a bed on wheels and a road trip vehicle rolled into one, this is the car for you. Just don't expect to race off from a standstill.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th October, 2004

1985 Subaru GL Touring Wagon 1.8


Bomb proof


Since I bought the car at 204000.

Power steering seal - it was leaking quite badly.

Fuel sending unit - before that I can only guess how much fuel is left!

Rear left wheel bearing.

Inlet manifold gasket.

General Comments:

I bought the Touring Wagon for the trip around Australia, having read some really good reviews about it. The Sub has gone through 18000 ks of driving in all sorts of condition without any dramas. The cabin is well appointed with power window on all fours, seats are comfortable. It is excellent cruising on the highway and handles rough terrain reasonably well, as well as driving on beaches. The press button 4WD system is a gem. Since mine is a 3 speed auto, the fuel consumption is really not that impressive. I should have gone for the the manual ones instead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th September, 2004