1996 Subaru Outback 2.5 liter from North America


A great car; I would buy a new one in a heartbeat


Alternator has been replaced twice; otherwise nothing has gone wrong.

General Comments:

Great car and perfect for my needs.

I am massage therapist and this car has made my life easy. With great ground clearance and amazing cargo space, I can easily fit a massage table and a portable massage chair in this car. It is very reliable. I used to own a 1997 Ford Taurus GL.

I loved that car but it cost me a fortune to maintain.

This car is just amazing. It starts right up, and has great features like heated mirrors and seats. I just wished it had more pick up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2008

1996 Subaru Outback outback 2.2 from North America




Head gasket issues seams redundant at this point. Typical scenario, thought we would buy a reliable, safe auto for our 17 yr old daughter. Less than 5 months after purchase we are stuck with a tax write off. Oh well, live and learn. $2500 for a new engine... no thanks.

General Comments:

Did not own it long enough to enjoy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th February, 2008

27th Mar 2010, 13:20

Problem: In 1996 Subaru did NOT offer an auto transmission with the 2.2 litre engine. Could not special order one. They just did not make them. So, I believe you have the 2.5 litre, which if there was a bit of research done, you'd known that they go through head gaskets like flap jacks at a lumber jack convention! Sorry, but reliable and specific info in reviews is my pet peeve... no offense to you or your unfortunate situation. I've owned a 1996 outback for some time now and it just hit 133k- no head gasket issues. no issues at all really except for general preventative maintenance: brakes, oil changes, PCV valve, air filter, tires, etc.

9th Feb 2011, 00:54

I own a 1996 Outback and it has about 180,000 miles on it. It has never had any problems whatsoever.

6th Sep 2013, 16:36

If yours was an automatic, it MUST have the 2.5L, which is a problematic motor insofar as head gaskets. If it was a manual, then it was a 2.2L, which have no such issues, as well as being a non interference motor, so timing belt issues are not a problem either.

10th Jan 2017, 07:14

Yeah, definitely was the 2.5; most people don't know what they have. I am shopping right now and everyone is confused and thinks they have a 2.2 when I asked, but it is ALMOST always a 2.5.

1996 Subaru Outback 2.5L from North America


Head gasket went at 200,000km.

O2 Sensors Went at 190,000km.

Alternator went at 195,000km.

I am on my third Starter.

General Comments:

I bought the car brand new from the dealer 12 years ago. I bought it because I don't want to climb up and down my jeep anymore. I also moved from California to Vancouver, and I don't really have a good use for a convertible anymore.

During the last 12 years, We did lots of things together and survived a few snow storm and lots of slippery road. I just gas up the car and go. The interior was roomy for my family and our luggages.

It is not a bad car and I haven't had problem with her until later part of 2007. Now that the head gasket needs to be replaced and I probably will get it fixed and sell her off to another person.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th January, 2008

1996 Subaru Outback Legacy from North America


Goes through engines like water. A shame


Bought car with probably 137,00 miles.

After less than 6 months, we started having problems with it stalling out and acting up. At approx. 139,000 the head gasket blew.

Spent $3500 on used engine with 75,000 miles on it from a 1998 Outback because we liked the car so much. A week later the car died again because the head gasket had blown on that engine too.

At the same time, the instrument panel stopped functioning completely and needed to be replaced ($200).

Two days after getting it back from that, the car again started acting funny so we took it in to find out the alternator had died ($300).

Since we bought the car, it has spent almost 2 months in the shop and repairs have cost more than the car is worth. This isn't counting small routine things like belts and tires.

General Comments:

Too bad. We really liked the way this car handles and it's the perfect size... not too big and not too small. Not clunky like most wagons. Great grip on road. Fun.

Falls apart constantly and flimsy on inside though. Runs loud.

When we were in shop for our 2nd head gasket, there was another Outback in for its head gasket too. Don't bother.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd January, 2008

6th Apr 2008, 22:58

I am curious as to what the engine was.. 2.2L or 2.5?

25th May 2008, 05:05

I would guess a 2.5L? Owner fitted a 1998 Outback engine to it and if I recall correctly the 1998 Outbacks had 2.5L engines across the board.