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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+

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  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    The current Outback is a strange beast. I bought a well-equiped base wagon and paid $20,700, which is well-within the standard Accord/Camry/Altima price range. Considering my OBW has much more cargo room, AWD and some off-road prowess and towing ability, I can view it as a bargain. At the other end of the scale, Subaru must have a much harder time pushing product. Once you hit the $30K mark your options grow exponentially because "luxury" brands come into play.

    I personally thought about getting a Limited wagon but at the same price ($27-28K) I could get an Audi A4 Avant Quattro 1.8T. It's somewhat of a different beast but the loss-leader Audi has a surprisingly long list of standard features (even if you have to sit on cloth) and Quattro is probably the best AWD system on the market.

    If people are clamoring for more towing/power I think Subaru should create a new larger model to meet these needs rather than bloat up the Outback. Remember that the Outback is the anti-SUV, featuring better handling, ride and gas mileage than your standard SUV. If you make it bigger, heavier, and more powerful then some of its "unique" market positioning is lost. I just filled up my OBW for the first time and got 21.7mpg...not too bad for a virgin engine driven in an urban environment with the A/C on all the time. I don't want to see that dip into the sub-20mpg region just so I can tow 3500 lbs.

    Although I'm probably in the minority here, I think Subaru could make the 5spd gearing a little longer. I'm going to look under my hood to see if somebody stuck in a small turbo because I am continually surprised by how much power the flat-4 provides especially down low. No, it's not sports sedan fast but it's very driveable in almost any situation I've encountered (which includes daily highway merges). There's just no way the 0-60 rating on this vehicle is 10.5 seconds. It feels like the upper 8's/lower 9's to me. Subaru could make 5th gear longer for better gas mileage because the engine turns over at about 3800rpm when you are crusing at 80mph.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Pilot doesn't offer stability control, not last time I checked. You have to move up to an MDX. In terms of content, the MDX is closer to the VDC than the Pilot is. I also think it doesn't offer a moonroof, same thing, you have to get an MDX.

    So really a Pilot only compares to the cloth/moonroof-free Outback H6.

    FWIW, One pop-up camper manufacturer actually came out with a small model under 2k lbs and they market it to Outback owners, among others.

    I'm not sure I want my family to know LOL!

    Right now, the Outback and Forester are the models that Subaru includes a harness for towing, so they expect those models to tow most often. They're also the logical choices for any towing capacity upgrades.

    -juice
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    At 2000 (auto)and 2400 (manual), there is still a fairly decent number of smaller popups that you can tow easily with the Outback (and Forester for that matter), particularly with the manual. What you're basically losing is the higher end ones.

    I think this also came up on the Forester board and the real problem IMO is SOA's refusal to make it's tow specs as high as in other countries (Australia) for the same vehicle. In some respects this isn't a matter of more power--at least up to 3000 lbs--it's only a matter of acknowledging that the capability is already there. If they did this, there would actually be few popup campers that one -couldn't- tow assuming the popup was properly equipped with brakes.

    I tend to "over-vent" on this issue, but it's really about the only issue I have with the utility of these vehicles.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    if you don't have trailer brakes, the limit is 1000 pounds not 2000 or 2400 pounds.

    That's why I want Subaru to offer some sort of braking assist as part of a tow package: Larger brakes? Extra brake calibers? Something that will allow for light unbraked trailers (under 2000 pounds) to be towed, using their full capacity. As I've said many times before, here in Maryland you won't find trailers rated under 3000 pounds with brakes, because they're not required by law. Most other states have similar laws.

    So the net result, if you follow Subaru's trailering rules, more than likely you can tow no more than 1000 pounds. For most people the 2000/2400 pound rating is bogus.

    BTW, Volvo and other brands also have similar trailer brake restrictions. It's not just Subaru.

    Bob
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    I have seen you post on this previously, but don't many pop up trailers in the 2000 lb range come standard with electric brakes now?
    Not trying to go too OT here.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    I've only looked at utility trailers. My guess is probably not—unless they're required by law in your state. Some states require trailers over 2000 pounds to have brakes. Most states are in the 3000 pound range, before brakes are required.

    Bob
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    They should make a larger model for the towing people who want to tack on a small camper. Or, take your Outback/Forester to an aftermarket conversion shop and have them install a pop-up bed that folds down onto the floor of the trunk. You'd lose some cargo space- but spend less trying to stay at the Holiday Inn. I always wonder why we can't take a Nissan Quest/Toyota Sienna/Honda Odyssey and have them install a infatable air-bed built into the car or something. I don't want a chevrolet Astro.
  • I have a 2001 LL Bean Outback and a 2003 H6 Outback Sedan. I would like to see a 5 speed auto tranny and a beefier 6 cyl engine with improved gas mileage. I would also like to have anti lock brakes that feel like they are working. The build quality of the 2003 is definitely better than the 2001, but more needs to be done- just try closing the driver or the passenger door with the window down. It sounds like tinny junk. A quieter car with less road noise and an air suspension rear that is better isolated from the frame is in order.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That sound is just a characteristic of frameless doors. It doesn't indicate a weak structure, in fact Subies have done extremely well in side-impact testing, FWIW.

    -juice
  • Subaru and other manufacturers have proven that puting all the steel in the roof pillars instead of using some of it in non-structural narrow bands around the doors makes for a much stronger structure, since visual design preferences limit the dimension/ bulk in the overall pillar.
    Mark
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Chalet and Aliner both have pop ups that weigh under 2000 lbs. (Notice the photo of the Forester towing a Chalet on their website.) Both offer electric brakes as a popular option. I've been told that the Outback and Forester are popular vehicles to tow these campers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool. That camper is bigger than the Forester! 1400 lbs, that's all?

    -juice
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Yup. You can push one by hand easy...makes fixing backing up mistakes no problem...just unhook and push (on level ground). Of course the GVWR is 2600 lbs. Takes less than a minute to pop the top and sides. The owner in the picture is a nature photographer in Washington State. Only negative to this type of pop up is you can only sleep 3-4 people max. The LTW is for 2 only. The base Aliner is even lighter.
  • I just found out about this car today. I own a 90 Legacy and may have finally found a car I'm willing to let share the garage with my car :)

    Does anyone know if the seating is more like a Legacy vs. the WRX - I'm looking for more room than the WRX.

    Also, there seems to be varying opinions on the HP - is that because they have not finished the specs on the US model?
  • from all reports on the new gen already available in japan and new zealand, the seating room is even more than current gen legacy. HP /torque ranges will depend on final engine choices in US release. right now, most car rags are saying 3.0L H6 with approx 240 hp, with more emphasis on low end grunt, and 2.5L turbo with at least 250 HP , tuned for low end torque.
    mark
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    HP numbers should wander around the 265 mark.
  • otis123otis123 Posts: 426
    The LLBean/VDC price level needs:

    Front/rear curtain bags (and 5 star crash results all around)
    Wider interior/exterior dimensions (the Outback is way too skinny)
    Memory driver seat (2 settings)
    Monochrome paint options (let's get out of the 90s color scheme)
    Less body roll (maybe the 2003 spring design took care of that).

    That's my list for me to buy another Outback next year. It is just way too competitive out there not to have these features at the 30K price mark...

    Ralph
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree, but I've seen LL Beans for around $26k new nowadays.

    I'd rather not have that stuff and save $4 grand, but that's me.

    -juice
  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Posts: 252
    The next generation Outback and Legacy should not disappoint. Their lighter, stiffer, larger on the inside, more refined materials. 28-30K plus is going to the base price point, but that is right in there with the Nissan Hondas and Toyotas. Not to mention 5-10K less than Audi, BMW, Jag, Lexus, Infiniti, Volvo.

    The Subaru's are generally more optioned out at base. Use Edmunds and option out a Nissan or Toyota or Honda and then check the price and compare it to relatively equipped Subaru. IMHO Mazda is the only manufacture that has as good or better value for the perfomance dollar.

    The value is there for Subaru even at 28-30K +

    The performance and refinement will be there to justify the price even more with the update 2005 models.
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    The only REAL and badly needed option that I hope will be standard on all new Legacies are the side airbags... I like everything on the current Legacy (though I would not buy the GT trim or Outback - too much fluff and too expensive) but Subaru lost me as a very serious buyer a month ago when I found out that my family would be riding in the car with no side airbags for the next ten years (that's how long I'd like to keep it). It's bad enough that our 2002 Trooper doesn't have any either... We might have to go with Accord EX any minute now :-(
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    can't you just wait up for maybe another 6 months? yes, the Accord is a good choice but if you live in the snowbelt region or like good handling, you should go with the Subaru Legacy, which has standard AWD and should be here any minute too.
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    I live in the South, so AWD doesn't do much for me... but I like wagons and I like Subaru's look and handling; I also like the price of the SE model ($19K!!!) but I'm not willing to pay $3K just to get those side airbags. That's a very uncool sales trick, I don't like it and I suspect a lot of other people are not buying into this either...

    Yes, the new Subaru might get here in just a few months but it will be another year or two before they're back to sub-invoice prices...
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,035
    as a starting point for a Subaru and I think they'll rot on the lots. Accord tops out at about 28K with V6, Leather, NAV and the Camry is in that ballpark as well. But those units are the exception - not the rule.

    I think a well equipped Legacy should not cross over the $26K line. IIRC - Inexpensive and Built to Stay That Way.
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    I compare the current SE model (auto slightly over $19K) with Accord EX (excellent 4-cylinder, no leather or nav but everything else for $20K). While we COULD argue that the new lower-shelf Legacy will be superior and will offer more than the Accord EX, the majority of consumers won't likely think so. If there's no Legacy w/ side airbags for less than $20K then it's over. I will certainly not buy that Subaru if well-built and supported Hondas are there for that much or less.
  • Remember, we have 3 differentials, not one, extra axles, a more complex drivetrain in short. That amounts for at least $1k in cost. There are other factors too, but they can make them relatively close. To me side airbags aren't a huge selling point, but they're just a nice extra safety feature. I guess others feel a little different about them. Just remember with pricing though, add an extra ~$1k for AWD. If the Accord is 18, the Legacy should be about 19 with a similar set, though not all things are equal. That would be a sedan, wagons are marked more on the Legacy end.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    I experienced some buyer's remorse for not getting the Limited package with the side airbags but I've realized that I'm not missing out on much. The side airbags on the current Legacy models are of the torso-covering variety and these don't offer maximum protection. What you really want are airbags that protect the head and these need to deploy from the headliner or the top of the seat. I haven't heard what kind of side airbags Subaru plans to use in the 2005 redesign but they would be wise to graduate up from their current design.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    A well Equipped L model with an Automatic and side airbags (to please government regulators and the IIHS) should be no more than $21K at the most. An Accord LX goes for $20,920 for side airbags, so $21-$22K should be fine for the Legacy L, or maybe a base L Special Edition version.
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    ...and that's cool - for me and others they are. I don't want to drive the old beat-up Sub without them in 2012. I'll wait and I'm glad the next generation will have them - now if they can sell it for under 20K they'll have themselves a deal.

    Once again, the current pricing in my area from carsdirect is 19K for the SE wagon with auto and 20K for Accord EX with auto. With today's economy I don't expect things to change, even with the new model - if they do - good luck to Subaru. We're not talking about what goes into the car and its real value. We know that Subaru is more expensive to make, mainly due to Honda's economies of scale and the AWD system. Honda has worked decades to be able to charge premium for their cars and its better reputation is clearly visible in sales figures and residuals. Right now, I'm stuck in between the two and I wonder how many more people went into the dealership (not many to begin with) with cash in their pockets and left as quickly as I did.

    Quoted from carconnection today:

    IIHS: Side Airbags Cut Deaths Nearly in Half

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest study indicates that side-impact airbags can reduce road fatalities by as much as 45 percent in cars so equipped. The insurance industry-funded group reports that side curtain airbags are the more effective type; through data interpretation the IIHS reports that side airbags that do not protect the head, only the chest and abdomen, can still reduce deaths by ten percent. The IIHS says its study is the first of its kind for the new type of airbag, which helped some sport-utes finish well in the group’s last rollover and crash tests as well. "Before head-protecting airbags were available there was virtually nothing to prevent people's heads from being struck by intruding vehicles or rigid objects like trees and poles in serious side-impact crashes. Now we know side airbags can change this and do a good job of protecting heads," said Institute president Brian O'Neill in a release.
  • otis123otis123 Posts: 426
    Yes! I read all the research on that site and have decided my next car HAS TO HAVE side curtain air bags. Or at a bare minimum, the side torso/head bag the Forester has - front and rear.

    In the Institute's first set of side tests (small SUVs) the Forester was the only one w/ a good rating. The picture shows how the head went into the bag, not the moving crash barrier...

    If you buy a car today and plan on keeping it for 10 years (when all cars will have curtain bags) you would be foolish not to seek curtain bags as a feature. Why risk death or brain damage when a Suburban crashes into the side of your car at an intersection?? What a sad way to go...

    If Subaru doesn't put side curtain bags in their 2005 redesign (as VW has had since 2001.5!) their commitment to safety theme (passive or active) goes out the door...no matter how strong the cage is...and they won't get another $30K from me...

    Ralph
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    I also think that consumers vote with their wallets and the Americans only now started noticing real benefits of additional air bags. In Europe every decent car has six or more airbags and every CURRENT Legacy has side airbags and the top of the line one has curtains already (!!!). No one there would buy such an expensive car without them, so Subaru "has no choice" and has to satisfy those consumers. We care more for double sunroofs and leather on the steering wheel instead... how sad.

    http://www.subaru.co.uk/legacy_estate/legacy_estate_features_03my- - .htm
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