2001 Subaru Legacy L Wagon 2.5 H4 from North America
Good car that's up for anything.
There is a tiny rust spot developing one the rear fender. Ten Minnesota winters can do that to any car.
The shop that did the timing belt said the head gaskets had likely already been replaced, but that cannot be confirmed. This car's engine occasionally has problems with external head gasket leaks, where the gasket is leaking, but not through the cylinder itself.
Every single switch, button, and control on the car works flawlessly, and there are no rattles or clunks to be found.
It is a comfortable and spacious midsize wagon.
The front seats are supportive, and while they do not ooze with comfort the instant you sit in the car, there is no fatigue on long drives. I spent 65 hours in this thing in a week and a half, and wasn't sick of the seats at all.
The back seat is set a few inches higher than the front seats, giving a great view out. Headroom is plentiful, even for someone 6'5".
The cargo capacity is great. You can fit 6 foot long objects with the back seats folded, 8 1/2 foot objects with the front passenger seat folded, and it is possible to fit a 10 foot long pole inside the car. There is 42" between the rear wheel wells.
Visibility is very good. The pillars are slim, and the windows have a low belt line.
The turning circle is very tight for a car of its size.
The ride is nice and controlled, but the car is not averse to being thrown around.
It rides better than my former Oldsmobile Ciera wagon, which handles like a school bus, and it corners as well as my former Saturn SL2, which is about as comfortable as a school bus.
The all-wheel-drive helps to make the car feel very secure on gravel roads. It has excellent traction in snow, and does a little bit better around corners than a FWD or RWD car. Obviously you won't be able to stop any better than a regular car; that is what winter tires are for.
The shifter is not very precise and can be downright clunky. The clutch is not very easy to modulate, and is unforgiving.
Power is never a huge issue, but having a 5 speed definitely helps with that. The car doesn't feel slow at all, but it isn't zippy either.
Gas mileage has been 22MPG in the city and 26MPG on the highway.
Overall, I like this car's size and ride/handling balance. It is not too big to be driven around a city, but is a comfortable highway cruiser with a lot of room for people and stuff. I hope to be driving this car for years to come.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th June, 2011
I am the writer of the review and I felt I should give an update:
125k - Clutch replaced
130k - Alarm system stopped working
132k - Front struts replaced
142k - Coil pack replaced
146k - Spun a rod bearing, engine destroyed
Apparently the motor of this generation occasionally has problems with the rod bearings. I was accelerating to pass on the highway, and she blew. From what I have gathered, the rod bearing can be weakened by overheating or by the engine misfiring a lot. I had problems with misfiring until the coil pack was replaced.
All in all, the Legacy is a nice car, but the parts are much more expensive than your average Japanese car; more in line with European cars.