1997 Subaru Outback from North America


Great car for most all occasions


Our engine blew at 11200 miles due to blown head gasket on one side. Everyone said, "Wow, that's not supposed to happen with a Subaru".

It burned lots of oil after the engine rebuild. The bad front seal was fixed under warranty by dealer who rebuilt the engine.

It needed a new clutch about every 60000 miles.

A bad alternator at 60000 miles left us stranded beside the road at night.

General Comments:

Generally, reliable. Excellent in snow. We preferred the Subaru to my 4x4 truck in Colorado mountains and ski trips.

Ergonomics (poor cup holder placement in front of stereo, seat and steering wheel adjustability for 5 foot tall driver) not very good, but some of this has been addressed in the newer model.

Main problem was blown engine despite impeccable maintenance and easy driving.

Not without it's problems, but day to day, it served us and our two dogs and our skis and bikes and canoe and raft very well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2003

1997 Subaru Outback 2.5L from North America


Safe, reliable, and fairly well built car


Replaced the EGR Valve and Diaphragm. This is not a typical problem with Subarus so I guess I just got lucky. The engine makes a knocking noise when it is cold outside, and until the engine warms up. Dealer doesn't know what I'm talking about.

The brakes seem to make a creaking noise when they heat up after a lot of heavy use, such as long hill descent. Dealer doesn't know what I'm talking about.

General Comments:

The car starts reliably, despite any problems mentioned above. It has pretty high mileage, but I would still trust it to take cross-country. AWD has been invaluable so far this winter, and saved me from an accident once already. This is the third Subaru that my family has been involved with, although my first owned privately. Each one has been remarkable and I would gladly purchase again.

My only problems have been with the dealership, whose mechanics are idiots.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2002

7th Jul 2003, 11:32

Using your brakes as a primary speed adjuster on hills can result in boiling the brake fluid and loosing your brakes all together. You should down shift when making long descents, rather than wearing out your brakes.

7th Oct 2004, 17:01

I own a 1997 Subaru Outback Legacy. I like my car a lot, considering I've put about two thousand dollars into it this year. It has a ton of miles, around 160,000. I've had to replace the head gasget.. not cheap. Also I've had to replace both the rear and front shocks along with two tie rods. I guess some of that is due to the number of miles it has. Also it constantly leaks oil, and the engine does rattle. Overall for the amount of miles it has, and how well it drives through snow, I really do enjoy my Subaru.

24th Jan 2005, 19:28

My 1998 Forester 2.5L DOHC also Knocks when cold... Very known problem to all subarus! Car will run another 100K if you only make sure A. oli change. B. all fluids at the right level. C. Timing Belt replace every 60K. For knocking when cold I use Motor Honey $1.99 at AUTOZONE...

1997 Subaru Outback 2.5 liter from North America


The perfect choice for the outdoors person who is smart enough to not choose a gas guzzling SUV


Seemed to leak a lot of anti-freeze.

Sometimes smelled burning oil.

Subaru dealer could never fix or find answers to problems with car.

General Comments:

I love my Outback and would purchase another one, no question about it. What I would replace are the people working on these cars - I'm not accustomed to receiving such bad service. I've tried numerous dealerships with no luck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2002

1997 Subaru Outback from North America


If Hondas had AWD, Subaru would have nothing to offer


Alternator failed, brakes were good until first service, now they suck. Dealer is incapable of performing a simple brake job and getting it right. Brakes shudder and pulse even after resurfacing rotors.

60,000 mile service resulted in hesitation, now feels like a car with a gunked-up carburetor.

Oil pump seals failed, very expensive repair.

Every time I drive on the highway the car smells like it's going to burn up. Dealer unable to find the problem, nor do they even acknowledge that it exists. My passengers notice it, I notice it, only the service crew does not. I believe it's the faulty packing grease problem I've read about.

All the bolts and hardware around the hatch handle have rusted. Wasn't it obvious to Subaru that these components would be exposed to rain? DUH.

After 5 years it feels like a 10-year-old car.

General Comments:

It's excellent for the first 2 years or so, but ages RAPIDLY.

The Subaru dealership I bought from is the most frustrating group of mechanics I've ever dealt with. With every repair comes a catch. For example, "We replaced your windshield, but we ran out of good molding so we used this defective molding... If you're not happy we can special order one that isn't damaged..." They had the car for 2 days, I was never called about this. DUH!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th April, 2002

27th Apr 2003, 13:21

The bad experience is certainly atypical. These are wonderful cars and are known as such throughout the world.

Perhaps you have bad car karma. It happens. And every now and then lemons leave the factory, any factory.

But I think there has been a breakdown in communications between you and your mechanic/dealer, and it will only get worse the more your dissatisfaction grows. So get rid of your Subaru, buy something else, and be happy. Misery is no fun.