1997 Subaru Outback 2.5 from North America


Overall a good, tight reliable car


Brakes replaced at about 60,000 miles.

Valve cover gaskets leaked at about

130,000 miles.

Very noisy valve noise at startup in cooler weather, replaced the timing belt tensioner at 130000, this gave some improvement, but still very noisy.

Dash lights for the heater controls went dark very early on. Expensive to repair.

Clutch squeak at idle, but the clutch still has good life left at 138,000 miles.

Exhaust system noises.

Original sound system was terrible was replaced with an aftermarket unit with good results.

General Comments:

The seats are uncomfortable for long commutes.

The gas mileage isn't too bad for 4wd. About 26 mpg on highway.

Very stable in rain, snow etc.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2004

1997 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5 from North America


Expensive to run, but functional wagon


Shift lock didn't work well when I got the car, many oil leaks from engine and transmission lead to replacement of several gaskets, but new leaks are coming all the time. Few days after timing belt was replaced by dealer at 100K, one of the camshafts skipped few teeth and dealer charged me $450 for the repair stating it was my fault. I also head few minor electrical problems and the engine makes lots of noise when cold. Car is overall very noisy.

General Comments:

The quality is not what you would expect from a Japanese car and is simply to complex for a Subaru dealer to service. Parts and service are extremely expensive. Other wise it's roomy, comfortable and good looking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th March, 2004

1997 Subaru Outback Legacy 2.5 litre from North America


Good car with some long wear issues


I had an electrical problem with the gear selector back light that took 5 trips to the dealer to get it fixed. The dealer gave me a lifetime warranty on this problem if it ever shows up again. So far no problems.

At 95,000 I had leaking valve covers and a rough idling engine that the "check engine light," kept coming on. The dealer gave the car a tune-up and replaced the seals on the valve covers.

The repair cost was $800 dollars and it failed to take care of the idling problems or the check engine light.

A follow up to the dealer found that the car had a burned valve due to quality problems with the valve. Other than the burned away area, the valve looked good as new.

To fix this required the engine to be pulled out of the car and be rebuilt. After 2 weeks and $3,000 dollars later the car was fixed again almost as good as new.

Since then the automatic antenna has stopped working which is common I believe since I see other outback limiteds with the same problem.

Various interior dash lights have gone dead and are now dark during night driving such as the heater and air conditioner controls and some switches.

Our second Outback Limited had a main seal oil leak at 75,000. Again $800 dollars to fix on this 1998 Outback limited.

General Comments:

This car is a great car to drive and will get you through the snow like no other car can. It has great light off-road handling too and is not too bad on gas mileage. The H-6 engine should give the car more Horsepower that is needed, but the $30,000 range is high.

I like the car and although I won't replace my Outbacks with another Subaru product I still won't sell them either. They are keepers for now.

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

Review Date: 27th May, 2003

8th Sep 2004, 13:01

I have had my 1997 Outback since it rolled off the line. I too have had a persistent check engine light problem. I am lucky to live very close to a Subaru guru and I have brought it to him about this. He said that this happens fairly frequently and it is usually caused by a "Knock sensor" (Senses when the engine is detonating) on the engine. It is actually nothing to worry about, and will not damage your outback or the engine in any way. But, if the check engine light starts to blink then you have a problem that needs attention. I also have the same issue with my gear shifters back-light going out & some dash lights going out so I assume this is a common problem. Just thought I'd add my experiences. That said, you won't find a better car.