2003 Subaru Legacy Reviews

2003 Subaru Legacy Wagon from Australia and New Zealand

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 kilometres
Most recent distance91500 kilometres
Previous carHolden Statesman


I'm buying one!



General Comments:

I deliberately set out to hire a Subaru on a recent trip to New Zealand. A good many hire companies over there rent cars that have been imported second hand from Japan. The one presented to me was a silver 2003 Legacy wagon with 90,000 kms on the clock. The car had evidently been well looked after and was as solid as a new car! I drove over 1,500kms in the next 10 days around the beautiful South Island. Down there Subarus are the rule not the exception.

The South Island roads are a challenge to one's skill and ability to concentrate, but the Suby made it easy. The road holding was remarkable, as was the ride and handling.

I obviously have no long term ownership experiences, but was happy with the fuel consumption. The car was an auto and I am not sure about the engine size, but I think I would go for a manual, I have never been really happy with 4 cyl. autos. This one was a bit sluggish overtaking. Despite that, my next car is likely to be an Outback or Liberty as they are named in Oz.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2009

2003 Subaru Legacy L Special Edition 2.5 from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.5 Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.0 / 10
Distance when acquired28 miles
Most recent distance52000 miles
Previous carSubaru Legacy


Good car for around town commutes or older drivers


Head gasket blew at 42,000 miles, fixed under warranty.

Rear light assembly began leaking at 31,000, fixed under warranty.

General Comments:

OEM Bridgestone tires were terrible, now running Goodyear Tripletread and the tires are great. Handles very good.

If want to drive auto sporty, then you have to manually change gears. Doing this will allow thr best handling, taking advantage of AWD in cornering.

The ride is very firm and not suitable for long interstate driving. The seat is hard and doesn't adjust, which also is not suitable for long distance driving.

MPG is around 22, best was 25.

The car is quiet compared for older Subaru's.

Speakers were a cheap paper cone type. I upgraded the speakers, which was simple plug and play, and the stereo is great. Added a Subaru subwoofer and tweeter kit, very very easy to do.

AWD not as 'instant' in engaging on automatic models as the previous Legacy. Front wheels will spin about one revolution before AWD engages with a 'thump'.

Very disappointed in the head gasket blowing so early in life; 42k miles.

Car is OK, but, for $21k in 2003, can't complain. However Suzuki now has AWD for less, so, Subaru better watch out. ;)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st August, 2007

2003 Subaru Legacy L Special Edition 2.5L 4 cylinder from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.5L 4 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired32 miles
Most recent distance8357 miles
Previous carHonda Civic


Honda, Toyota are much better


Horrible gas mileage! At 16 City/22 Hwy, it's a gas guzzler. The sticker said 23 city/28 Hwy. Even a huge SUV like Ford Expedition gives that much. Took the car to dealer. He said its computerized, he can't change anything. Called Subaru, they bluntly refused, saying they can't help me. I feel cheated.

Auto transmission is highly erratic when cruise control is on. It suddenly downshifts at the slightest gradient and kicks the RPM above 5000.

Rear wiper rubber tore away after 4 months of use.

Got into a fender bender. The repair was a shocking $2200 to change side fender and head lamps.

Audio system shuts off on engine start once in a while. Comes back on after a few minutes. Very strange.

Whistling noise from top of driver's window between 30 and 50 mph.

General Comments:

I like the space and comfort. Looks good. They should put more hooks and sturdy ones in the back for shopping bags. Good lighting inside. The AWD wasn't as much use in the snow though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th October, 2004

13th Jun 2005, 09:05

I agree with your comments on the cruise control. Mine revs to 4250 on every slight hill and holds there until the crest. Seems to be very hard on the transmission and engine. The automatic transmission is very apprehensive on this car and I get a lot of up-shifitng and down-shifting. It "thumps" into gear sometimes as well because it doesn't seem to know which gear is best at the moment. However, I am getting around 25-26 mpg because I use synthetic oil at a thicker grade (10-30) and I change it every 5-6K so the cost is about the same. I would buy another Subaru, but I would have to have a turbo or a flat six and a manual transmission. The seats are too hard for long trips, but it handles and drives really tight for a wagon. The All Wheel Drive is awesome in the snow as well.

Average review marks: 6.0 / 10, based on 5 reviews