1997 Subaru Outback 4 cylinder from North America


A versitile, reliable, practical car that wants to be rode hard


Regular maintenance is all that I have ever put into this car. Oil changes, tires, brakes.

Takes bumps hard, probably needs a back strut, but I put up with it..

Transmission is starting to slip and thunk again, not worried about it at the moment, my baby has nearly 240K on it. I have no room to complain.

General Comments:

I bought my car a little more than a year ago. Everyone thought I was completely crazy for buying a car with over 200k on it.

What drove me to write this review was I drove my buddies Dodge Ram 1500 today while my car was in for an oil change, and completely hated the lack of AWD handling; driving such a bulky truck that did not take nicely the way I drive my Subaru. I admit I drive my Subaru like it was a much newer / low milage car.. because it performs and handles so well.

My first car was a 91 Ford Taurus, which was so comfortable but lacked the handling and acceleration. On the back mountain roads I drive to college and work every day, I couldn't ask for more.

The 2 biggest things that I don't like are the feeling of being in a generic average car (although it doesn't perform like one), and the uncomfortable seats that go hand in hand with the genericness. 2nd is the transmission going, but its well deserved.

Its all around versatility is amazing. I can throw a load of firewood in the back, go 90 on the highway without a problem, get off the highway and travel through trails in the woods, through mud and even through a small stream to my very secluded cottage in northern PA. (You should have seen the look on my hunting buddies faces when I showed up in this).

It's high off the ground, and not very wide, but is a nice sized car, with amazing performance and reliability. I have taken it to my families place in Canada, and countless trips 2 hours away. I never could have expected half of the things that I have done with this car from any other car on the market for 2000 dollars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2008

1997 Subaru Outback Legacy 2.5 Liter from North America


She loved me for a while, then she betrayed me

General Comments:

I bought this car with 70,000 miles on it. For six years it ran like a champ, though I had to replace the brake pads with inordinate frequency.

Admittedly, the check engine light also gave me fits, but several different mechanics reassured me that the issue was merely an emissions sensor. Then, just two days ago, I was driving down the highway when the thing suddenly over-heated. Turns out, the water pump burned up, the timing belt went, the valves bent, and the pistons warped -- all with very little warning. I'm still baffled.

The salvage yard tells me it's a common problem with the 2.5 liter engine, and now they've only got two used ones left in PA, neither of which they'll warranty for more than 60 days. Tells you something. I'm cutting my losses...

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

Review Date: 28th April, 2008

30th Apr 2012, 10:55

It's not the cars fault you didn't test the check engine light, and did you keep your eye on the temp gauge?

1997 Subaru Outback 2.5L from North America


Stay away from Subaru


Engine blew at 35,000 miles just under the standard warranty. Dealer replaced the lower block. That problem seemed to be fixed. No cost except aggravation.

Now there is oil all over the engine and the dealer wants about $2,000 to fix. He recommended replacing the timing belt, water pump, valve cover gaskets, etc while they were in there for about $3,000.

Security system disabled the car and had to be towed into the dealer, where they fixed the problem in about an hour. When I went to start the car, it had the same problem. The service manager apologized and fixed it again, while I waited.

Various computer faults, like Air Bag that go away in the spring, summer and fall, but lights every winter. Dealer wants $1,100 to fix and replace a sensor. Gas gauge is about 1/4 tank off. Dealer wanted $200 to fix. Lights in dash need replacing, dealer said it was a big job and would be about $300 of labor to change a $3 light bulb.

Towed into the dealer for a shot voltage regulator? Big bucks about 1 week after the 60k major tuneup. Another $450.

Car ran rough and felt like it was running on two cylinders. Check engine light came on, had it towed to the dealer. Was a spark plug wire. Paid $250 and only got one wire. Complained and they replaced the whole set at the next major service.

Needed exhaust manifold welded to prevent rattling noises while driving.

Major tune-ups cost about $600, with spark plugs, alignment or something extra would be more than $1,000.

General Comments:

This car was perfect for the first three years. Then the engine blew just under the warranty period and was replaced by the dealer at no cost to me. No loaner car and they had the Outback for over 3 weeks.

Minor electrical and mechanical problems have plagued this car after the three year marker.

The car is comfortable and safe driving on ice and snow. Nice and heavy and feels like you are in control of the road. Brakes are sure and last 60,000 miles. Original clutch. Tires also lasted about 55,000 miles.

I am buying a Toyota and goodbye to Subaru. We have had a total of 4 Subaru cars and two were not up to par with their reputation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th February, 2008

7th Feb 2008, 17:23

Toyotas aren't any better, check the Toyota reviews on this site.

21st Oct 2008, 14:05

I am shocked and sorry that this Subaru was nothing but problems for you. I would report it to lemon law. Every Subaru I have ever known has had well over 200,000 miles on it and I drive them hard. been there with the dash lights, and oil leaking... but nothing more than regular maintenance for mine. Toyotas are good if you don't have to deal with snow and ice on back woods roads every winter. My best suggestion for you is to find a reputable mechanic that you can trust and avoid the dealer unless its something major major. In the north east anyway its pretty easy to find a good import mechanic. Good luck with your next car!