1989 Subaru GL 1.8 boxer from North America


A good first car for the price


The right front fender rotted off.

The whole drive-shaft assembly was destroyed when I crashed it, the car still runs without it in two wheel drive.

The entire undercarriage is rotten, the whole car was abused before I purchased it.

General Comments:

The car is roomy for a sub-compact Subaru.

The car has nothing in the power department, it takes quite some time to reach 55 miles per hour.

The interior is very comfortable with the exception of leg room.

I think the best part about the car is it's durability, I lost control of it going around a turn at around 40mph, and slammed into a ditch and landed at a 90 degree angle.

The car started right up after it was hauled out of the ditch and only was in need of a quart of oil.

The only thing that i do not like about this car is it's handling.

The only reason why I am driving this car is because my Firebird needs an engine, but I think I'll stick with the Subaru after my other car is fixed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th September, 2002

1989 Subaru GL AWD Turbo Wagon 1.8 turbo from Bolivia


Big, mean and fast!



General Comments:

So I wanted to get rid of the Range Rover...

I was looking for a used, fast car and couldn't make up my mind about what the hell I was going to buy. So along came this boxy Subaru Wagon and once I tested it, I decided it was the car for me. It's extremely fast (two-stage turbo), comfortable, a LOT cheaper to run and Japanese, so it has to be reliable. The previous owner told me there was a slight problem with the air suspension, the light starts blinking sometimes, but it doesn't make any trouble, since I rarely have to raise the car (only when picking up food at the counter in Burger King). With that little exception, I'm extremely happy I bought it, the turbo is amazing past 4500 RPM, the vented brakes are VERY good, the digital panel looks amazing and the car is very comfortable and practical.

What else could one want?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th July, 2002

1989 Subaru GL from North America


Despite a few flaws, it's a very nice, economical little car


Air conditioner didn't work when I got it; when I took it in to have it fixed the alternator was also broken so all together it cost 200 dollars to fix.

I have had some minor transmission problems. The car leaks transmission fluid pretty badly, and I have to put fluid in it at least once a week; if I don't, it slips while I'm driving.

It doesn't accelerate fast at all. You can floor it and it still pokes around just to get up to 55 miles per hour.

The radio that came with it didn't have a very good sound quality; I thought it was the speakers, but I replaced the radio with a CD player and it sounds very nice.

General Comments:

The car is very roomy for a small car and the seats are very comfortable.

Mine came with power windows, locks, and mirrors, all of which work great.

Paint is durable; there are no rust spots, chips, peeling, etc, and I have seen this to be true on all old Subarus.

My GL does not accelerate very well; I don't know if this is just mine or if all GLs handle this way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2002

1989 Subaru GL 2WD Wagon 1.8L from North America


Relatively roomy, reliable, quick econo-transportation


Hole in the radiator, caused by a stick.

Warped cylinder/head interface, caused by the hole in the radiator (drove home without coolant).

Timing belt breaks (exact, predictable 60k intervals, always when least convenient).

Seats loose adjustment settings weekly (detente teeth break off).

Alternator goes up intermittently, takes battery with it (similar to timing belt, but unpredictable - never at a good time).

Air conditioning pump clutch goes up occasionally (also, when you need the car most).

Half-shafts wear out.

Transmission input bearing & main bearings both worn & cause plenty of noise.

Clutches last about 100k miles.

General Comments:

This car has surprising power - drop down a gear, floor it, blow by cars with twice the power.

Similarly surprising handling - not great, but good for a supposed econobox, and station wagon.

Carry anything. (Yes, I CAN fit that sheet of plywood/2x4/large piece of furniture in my sub-compact car!)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th April, 2001

18th May 2001, 20:06

I own a subaru 1989 wagon with 61,450 miles. I think it's a DL. Today it broke down while going 40 mph. The car just stopped, shut down and now it won't start. It almost turns over but won't. It has oil, new belts and plenty of coolant. What do you believe to be wrong? I love the car. I bought it 3 years ago with 36K and it runs great. This is the first time is has broke down on me like this. It always would start no matter what the weather. I'm trying to figure out what would have cause this to happen. Any comments are appreciated. Thanks, adam.

5th Jul 2002, 14:01

My Subaru just clunked out. The engine surged, the air conditioning surged and then both flat lined. I stopped the car turned it off and it never started. I had it towed home 4th of July less than a mile for 70.00 charged the battery and still won't start. Grrrrr.. So it's off to the repair shop on Monday.

7th Oct 2010, 23:53

So what happened to it?

1989 Subaru GL Wagon 1.8L from North America


Radiator required replacement due to road salt corrosion.

Exhaust system required replacement; same reason.

General Comments:

There were some corrosion problems with this car, and it was underpowered (could NOT use the AC). But it was extremely reliable and got excellent mileage. I replaced it with a Legacy L, which was unfortunately wrecked, and replaced that with an Outback. That by itself should tell you what I thought of this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th February, 2000