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.

General Comments:

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.

1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2 from North America


A mountain goat with comfy seating


One spark plug wire failed several years ago and a main engine oil seal began to leak recently.

General Comments:

Never have I felt so safe and secure as in this Subaru Outback. Roadholding is top-notch, handling is almost faultless, brakes secure, and the body structure is very solid and stiff.

The combination of Subaru's good steering feel, balanced suspension, AWD and ABS makes for an enormously capable, controllable machine that is the driver's best friend in any situation. You'd have to so something really dumb to trip up this Subaru.

I like my particular car better than the new Subarus. Though they are more refined and luxurious, they do not have the sporty feel and feedback mine has with the 5-speed gearbox and 50/50 drive setup, which means all the wheels are driving under normal circumstances.

These cars are true automotive hardware: purposeful, sturdy, long-lived, sensible, capable, and simply smart.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th April, 2003

1996 Subaru Legacy L 2.0 from North America


An extremely dependable vehicle


Thermostat needed to be replaced. Dealer had said I must replace the water pump but it was not so.

General Comments:

Car handles excellent. Minimal problems and very dependable.

Very comfortable even in the back seats. Back seats fold down for extra space.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th June, 2001

19th Aug 2010, 12:25

Might change the pump, as an overheated Subaru, is a broken Subaru. When overheated, they usually kill the head gasket. So when your water pump goes, you have little time to react, and overheating is a real danger. The best way to go about it is to change the timing belt, the water pump and the pulleys for the timing belt, all at the same time. Saves money and stops your engine from 'sploding ;) Trust me, I've had 6 Subarus.

1996 Subaru Legacy GTB 2.0 twin turbo from UK and Ireland


The ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing


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 from UK and Ireland


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