1996 Subaru Legacy L AWD Wagon 2.2 litre Gasoline from North America
Winter weather wonder--and as good in summer, to boot
Very little has gone wrong with this car.
A couple of interior lights have burnt out.
Brake pads and the alternator needed replacing at about 100,000 kilometres (in 2001) and there was some carbon buildup in the engine at about the same time, which is easily corrected.
No problems have arisen since then.
The first reason this car was purchased was for its All-Wheel Drive, enabling it to handle outstandingly in snowy winter weather. There are simply no other cars that I have seen that can outperform this Sooby in the worst weather conditions; it has never gotten stuck and never needed to double any hill regardless of the road surface.
However, the car is great in many other respects as well. It's a very relaxing car to drive, with stable handling, precise and communicative steering, and a ride that's firm yet comfortable and well-controlled. The engine, while not overly powerful, responds quickly and fades to a gentle murmur at cruising speeds. It's a stable cruiser and cruise control helps keep the speed in check, which can otherwise creep up very easily.
The interior of the car demonstrates excellent fit and finish, and the lack of rattles and squeaks after more than 160,000 kilometres is a tribute to the car's solid construction.
The controls are logical and easy to use, and the low hood and frameless windows provide excellent visibility all around. The seats are supportive and roomy, and the cargo area is generous.
Gripes? Well, not many. The brake pedal is spongy, and, like other automatic-transmission Subarus of its era, it has a rough idle. The cabin is a bit narrow for three in the rear seat. That's about it...
This car became a second car when another Legacy (1998 Wagon) was bought in 2002, which demonstrated the same reliability and unbeatable bad-weather performance. A switch to any other carmaker at this point would simply not happen.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th June, 2004
3rd Mar 2016, 10:08
On uphill deep snow, a Pajero iO will beat any Subaru into a cocked hat. Trust me, I've had Impreza, Forester, Legacy (total 10). Also, on downhill deep snow, which is even more dangerous. And Subaru have serious durability issues.
3rd Feb 2019, 01:31
If traction on uphill snow is a priority, try a 2.0 Pajero iO. Dead cheap at auction here in Japan. LSD, lockable central diff, crawler gear, switchable between 2- and 4-wheel-drive on the move... Two-wheel drive is on the rear wheels with sufficient clearance for chains, but mud flaps may take a beating.
Bottom line; way better than a Subaru.