1996 Subaru Legacy GT Estate 2.0 boxer twin turbo

Summary:

Brilliant even before you factor in value for money

Faults:

No major faults!

It needed a new top hose at 99K.

Some minor electrical problems.

General Comments:

I was looking for a 4WD estate with real performance after a saggy and soggy (N-reg) Mondeo estate, and found that there is nothing better than this car short of buying an Audi S4 (which I certainly can't afford!).

It has shockingly madcap performance with the suspension to handle it. Mine is specified at 260 bhp but produced 284 bhp on a rolling road recently!

Excellent equipment levels: climate control, heated mirrors and wipers etc, all in very comfortable and supportive seats. Very good stereo, although in my experience you don't want it on as it distracts from the driving experience!

The looks are now rather dated. Facelifted models (from 2000 I think) are rather better.

Big downside: they have to be imported from Japan as they weren't sold outside Japan and Australia. However, there are lots around now so parts can often be had from others advertising their cars for breaking on the internet. But some parts can be ridiculously expensive to obtain (my car hasn't needed any though! Fingers crossed).

Fuel economy is of course not good, but if you stay off the second (big) turbo then it can be much improved. For example, cruising at 75 mph is hugely less expensive than cruising at 80 mph (where legal...).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2009

1996 Subaru Legacy GTB 2.0 twin turbo

Summary:

Comfortable sports car disguised as an estate

Faults:

Front brake pads.

Rear brake pads.

Tyres.

Big end shells & crankshaft @ 80,000.

General Comments:

This car is good quality and very reliable.

It handles fantastic and is very good on acceleration.

It's a little bit on the thirsty side, but if you want fun, you've got to pay for it!

A very practical car and comes with all the toys.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th March, 2007

1996 Subaru Legacy GTB 2.0 petrol

Summary:

Shattering performance while maintaining respectable front.

Faults:

While resident in UK (1993-03), went to Japan and bought Legacy GTB at auction, so grey import.

N/S front brake calliper needed serious attention to free and slide when pads were changed.

Engine splash shield seems pointless to replace each time you change engine oil. Semi-synthetic oil is fine, no need for full-synthetic.

Did all routine servicing as Subaru dealers didn't want to know. However, relatively easy to find independent Subaru specialists, who are often more knowledgeable than official dealers. Also, Subaru dealer supplied parts are very expensive, but cash payments at motor factors plus dishevelled appearance ensures trade discounts.

When you change timing belt, be sure to change crankshaft front seal and assorted other seals.

Major problem was destruction of rear differential due to filler plug falling out. Surprising, as this had never been removed, so never hurts to pull all filler/drain plugs up tight. Need to find Subaru grey import breaker (try Central Subaru, NE Birmingham), Stg.200 fitted. Replacement diff. from Subaru dealer (if obtainable) would cost more than car was worth. However, if you can ring Subaru Spares in Tokyo with chassis number, they will provide diff. ratio and LSD spline details. You don't even need to learn "chassis number" in Japanese.

Tip: Automatics have fuse under bonnet labelled "DIFF LOCK" or similar. Insert a fuse and this gives 2WD (front). Possible to drive for years if necessary in front drive only. Improves fuel economy, but not road holding.

Heated front screen very expensive (Stg.1,000), so better to replace with standard if necessary.

If the above freaks you out, you're not ready for a grey import. But don't believe all that anti-grey import government propaganda.

CD packed up at around 60,000km.

Some lag switching from low- to high-speed turbo.

Watch that parking light switch above the steering cowl, as when flipped engine will not turn over.

General Comments:

Performance is really impressive, and I've run STi, Skyline GT-R, NSX, etc. Far more stable than Impreza. Brakes never faded, but fronts wore out quickly. Often slight engine oil smell after extended use.

Servicing easy, but allow two hours to change spark plugs.

Disconnecting battery causes no problem on grey imports.

Fuel economy poor if you use the performance.

Great car to take to Europe although good idea to "chip" to remove 180km/h limiter.

Doesn't carry weight all that well.

Subaru have high owner retention, on my sixth.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th March, 2005

23rd Sep 2005, 03:42

Legacy GTB

After this car was sold on (although not by me), the new owner insisted on having the timing belt changed (100,000km) even though this was totally unnecessary. One week later the crankshaft bearings failed. To date no explanation. Suggestions include switching to premium petrol, but my theory is that new owner failed to notice an oil leak from say crankshaft seal. Of course it's possible the timing belt was off one tooth. New owner had no mechanical knowledge, or as it was described to me "knew less than half of FA". Any suggestions?

18th Dec 2006, 21:52

Final follow up: Neglected to mention that replacement engine was fitted. One of those s/h imports. And wouldn't you know it, the same thing happened. Bearings ran. "My sympathies, friend. You have no manner of luck." Presumably the same comment applies. So buy at 20,000km, sell before 80,000km would seem a wise precaution.

9th May 2007, 20:13

My 94 Legacy GT has 280,000 km on it now. Everything is still original except the Primary turbo. The motor doesn't smoke (apart from a small puff in the mornings) and runs like a dream. Everything still works, including the headed wing mirrors. I will be buying another Subaru.

29th Jul 2008, 10:57

Did you really run the car with the Diff Lock fuse removed?

I heard that it's for towing, not for driving!

12th Aug 2008, 07:10

I'm talking automatics only here. Would welcome input regarding manuals. Yes, you can add a fuse and run in front wheel drive. There used to be a separate fuse, but recently it's in the main fusebox under the bonnet. Have heard of people running for up to two years like this. Feels like taking two big dogs for a walk with them pulling in opposite directions. Also, when you clod it to pass, you get serious wheel spin. Was going to take a pair of wires from the fusebox to inside the car, but felt going from 2WD to 4WD on the move, or even with the engine running could be a seriously bad idea. Back burnered the idea as you only need to slip up once.

1996 Subaru Legacy GTB 2.0 twin turbo

Summary:

The ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing

Faults:

The rear suspension now needs replacing (probably due to my overloading the load area on more than one occasion!!).

The rear screen washer permanently leaks water, causing the rear wiper motor to fail (over £200 to replace!).

Nothing else, other than new front discs required at 60,000 miles.

General Comments:

The car has the ability to drink fuel at a wallet emptying average of 22 miles per gallon (11mpg on a track day!).

No other car has the ability to frighten Porsche's, Aston Martin's etc and still look like a standard family runabout.

Unfortunately franchised dealers will not service it in the UK (but will supply some parts!).

However there are now quite a few imported car specialists willing to help.

The interior is nothing to get excited about, but it is comfortable and includes the most important toys like climate control, stereo radio/cassette/CD, electric windows and mirrors etc.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd April, 2001

15th Oct 2003, 16:41

22mpg is considered wallet emptying? What else would you expect from such a powerful engine? My Subaru is the 1992 2.2l GX Liberty (Legacy) and I get 22-23mpg around town, and only about 29-32mpg on long trips. Subarus are not noted for their excellent economy.

I'd be happy with 22mpg from a Legacy GT!

1996 Subaru Legacy iGL 2.0 petrol

Faults:

Power steering pump failure at 38,000.

Repaired under warranty, no problem.

General Comments:

An excellent car to drive and own. Only negative is poor fuel consumption (maybe my driving too!!)

High depreciation over the 18 months I've had the car. If it was an Estate or a Turbo, good second-hand market. Not for 4-door saloon it would seem.

I'll be sorry to see it go!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd December, 1998