1999 Subaru Outback 30 year Limited Edition 2.5L DOC from North America


An extreme maintenance disappointment


Transmission died at 68K Miles.

Blown head gasket/complete engine rebuild at 99K miles.

General Comments:

Good looking car.

One of the few that provides all wheel drive for winter, yet handles like a car, not a truck.

Ergonomically a disaster. Terrible layout of controls, no lighting of window/door locks, etc.

Subaru quality seems to be a myth. Head gasket problems are inherent with this engine. Spent $5k for engine rebuild at 99K miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th May, 2004

1999 Subaru Outback Limited 4 cylinder from North America


Practical in winter, but high maintenance/high-cost


Oxygen sensor (s) replaced 3 times, once under recall, twice when engine idled rough and subsequently (weeks later) "check engine" light came on. Dealer could not identify problem until this light came on.

Brake rotors needing replacement every 30,000 miles.

Transmission had to be replaced at 50,000 miles for slipping.

General Comments:

High maintenance/high cost-of-maintenance car.

Great in snow.

Handles well, but slow acceleration.

Very poor, "mushy", brakes that require strong effort.

Dealer (s) generally not helpful in getting chronic maintenance problems resolved.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th January, 2004

1st Sep 2004, 15:51

Front rotors had to be replaced at 49,000 miles. Now at 90,000, the Subaru dealer's repair technician tells me that the front rotors need to be replaced again. I am not a happy Subaru owner.

29th Jan 2007, 13:14

I had a Chevy Cavalier that needed rotors every 12,500 miles, so don't feel bad!

1999 Subaru Outback Limited Edition 2.5L from North America


A moderate value for a All Wheel Drive family car


The oil pump has been resealed two times under warranty. 1st at 40K then again at 60K. Finally at 80K I had to buy a new oil pump because now it was out of warranty. Maybe they should have done this in the beginning...

I've had to purchase new rotors due to wear - I wish the dealership said something while it was getting a state inspection! I probably could have saved the rotors. No noise was heard and the service techs did not inform me of the brake pads where so badly warn.

The car is only 5 years old with 114K miles.

At 100K miles, I had to replace the front left wheel bearing, hub and axle! Not a cheap repair. Plus it was very dangerous to drive, so I had to pay for a rental. (no free loners here).

Now with 114K miles on the car, again it is in the shop. This time it's been in for 3 days and they can't find out what is wrong with it. When I step on the gas after starting the car it is very sluggish and almost stalls, then it kicks in and runs fine on the highway. I'm sure this is going to cost me money again!! I'm spending over $1500 a year in extra expenses.

This is my second Outback. Both have been automatic transmissions. The '95 Outback 2.2L automatic transmission ran great. It wasn't until I bought the 99' that the sales told me that Subaru changed the design of the automatic. The new automatic shifting patters drive me crazy. I live in a very hilly terrain and the automatic downshifting as you coast down a steep, but rather short hill is annoying.

I have a feeling this is my last Subaru. Good luck to the rest of you!

General Comments:

The best features are the All Wheel Drive. I live in NH and the car takes to the snow very well. This is the reason I bought the car.

I also like the storage with hatchback and the all weather package.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd November, 2003

21st Mar 2005, 14:21

I have exactly the same problem with my 1991 Legacy 2.2 - when it is cold and I start it - and nobody can find the reason. Replacing the O2 sensor had no effect. Have they fixed it?

1st Apr 2005, 08:25

I've had the same problem with my 1999 Legacy Outback. Oil pump seal at 50K and the transmission has such lag when you go from reverse to drive that when it does engage, it is very abrupt. New transmission: $3500 (with core return). However, a new transmission needed at 50K just seems weird to me. I'm also from New Hampshire, but now live in upstate New York. When I was younger we all drive Subaru until the bodies fell apart. They lasted that long. Now I'm not so sure.

20th Apr 2005, 09:16

I am looking at an estimate of $2901 to rebuild my transmission. Not happy about that, but otherwise I love the car. I live in VT and it handles extremely well.

3rd May 2007, 11:03

I bought a 1987 Subaru Outback and had it for for 8 years, sold it to my son who was in college, he brought it back and was still going at 200,00 miles. He sold it and it is still out there. In 1999 I bought my 1999 Subaru Outback Limited and have loved it. I just took it in for service and was informed that I need a new transmission. I couldn't believe it. My car only has 80,000 miles. I was told that the cost would be $3800.00. I had someone else check it and sure enough, the transmission has to be replaced plus I have an oil leak. Is there a factory defect that I was not informed of or are Subaru's not making them like they used to?