Rear tires bald on inside edge (not car's fault, obviously). It cost about $120 to get them replaced, mount & balance included.
Questionable condition of rear rims/tire deflation on both wheels (hasn't been a problem, lately).
Fuel return line began leaking soon after I bought it.
Interior smells of fuel (it always has).
Hatch handle has major deterioration.
Driver-side door key entry no longer works (passenger-side is fine).
My mom bought this car for me as a graduation gift. To be honest, I probably would not have bought it, myself, had I been left to produce a car by my own means. However, my brother works at a Subaru dealership and they got the thing for about $400 so I can't say that they were completely ripped off. I trust my family, happy with the Subaru's they've purchased over the past decade, when it comes to cars, for the most part. It's just that I would have put more into learning about what to expect from this breed before simply throwing money down impulsively when something a little too convenient came up.
The two biggest problems with the car, the tires and the fuel line, occurred within a month of each other and soon after I got it, probably casting a negative precedent that the car is still trying make up for. The tires were just sold in poor condition (again, the car is not to blame) but the fuel line trouble could have ended my relationship with the car in a very brusque fashion. It turns out that the old wagons have a problem with vehicular incontinence which is majorly compounded by the presence of the drive-train, in the case of 4WD (as it was in this instance). Had it been a front-wheeler, there would have been only a small matter of getting the car on a lift, removing the fuel tank, and then just mending or replacing the leaky return. The positioning of my apparatus made the extraction of the tank impossible without first pulling out the entire rear wheel axle-thing (I'm not a tech; sorry) before the tank could even be touched. This could have very possibly cost me more to fix (in terms of labor; the part was inconsequential) than the vehicle had been purchased for, and that was not something I had any intention of approving. It was lucky for me that my mechanic was able to get in through the back seat of the car and operate on the problem part from above the tank. The whole procedure took a few days, but cost less than $90, total, to repair.
All in all, it's a good first-time car owning experience to get hooked up with a beater like the Legacy Wagon I've got. The disappointments are modest yet realistic and, in the right markets, it can still be sold or traded for something decent. The body is in great shape, it's a 4WD, has A/C, a sunroof (albeit cracked), a working tape deck, folding rear seats, and the fuel economy isn't terrible-for 1993, that is. If petrol had stayed at roughly $1.80 a gallon, as when I received the car, things might have turned out differently. Unfortunately, this car came to me during a summer when a pair of hurricanes trashed the Gulf oil refineries. Essentially, I've been held hostage by gas prices since August. Travel in my car is mostly limited to trips related to work and to the refill stations.
It should be said that the handling is a little weird and the back feels like it wiggles on tight curves. This could very well be a simple discrepancy in tire pressure, but, living in Vermont, the idea of driving through any one of our icy evenings, in a car that seems to be rehearsing its fishtails, is a little disconcerting. Summer driving, though, is a joy and the already roomy, easily expandable trunk gives a certain feeling of indefatigability in the face of yard sale season, moreso were it not for the current cost of getting around. It really is a shame that fuel has become the undoing of so many of these tough, multipurpose cars.
I don't know if this car will be with me in four months or even as far along as next year. It has been a good time, though, and if you live in an area like New Jersey where the fuel is cheap enough or you have the money and an adept mechanic, this car would make an excellent gift for a young person getting out of high school or college, says I.