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Subaru Outback/Legacy Buying Advice



  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Click HERE for Minnesota Vehicle Sales Tax information. ;)

    The following are not included in the taxable sales price if the charges are separately stated:

    • Trade-in allowance for a vehicle taken in trade by the seller may be deducted from the sales price of a vehicle be-fore the tax is calculated. However, if the vehicle is sold to a third party, no trade-in allowance is permitted, because two separate transactions have occurred.

    Special rules apply to the following vehicles. A more com-plete description of these vehicles is found in Minnesota Stat-utes, section 297B.025, Older Passenger Automobiles.

    • Older passenger vehicles. Instead of the 6.5 percent tax, there is a $10 tax if the vehicle is in the tenth or older year of vehicle life, has a sale price of less than $3,000, and is not an above-market automobile as designated by the regis-trar of motor vehicles.
  • Hello:

    Bought a new 2007 2.5i wagon with 5 speed manual. Hope you can help me with a few questions. Mileage has been, understandably, less than great with only a week and 300 miles on the car. How many miles before the engine breaks in and mileage improves? Also, I live in upstate NY and will be encountering a lot of snow soon. How does the AWD perform with the standard tires? Are snow tires necessary or will the factory tires suffice? Finally, while I love the car so far, I'm underwhelmed by the stereo system. Any suggestions for modifications? Is the Subaru subwoofer worth pursuing?

  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    About 1500 miles or so, you will see a change.

    Living where you do, I would certainly protect my own, and my families safety by investing in new rims and snow tires. The standard tires with the AWD will perform well, but in snow country nothing beats chains or snowtires.

    I had them install the sub-woofer package, whichy includes higher end speakers, and also purchased the tweeters, which most def improves the sound quality 100%. Make sure on install, the turn up the bass and treble gain almost to full. :)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You'll see it fully broken in and milage improve over 10k miles. Also for upstate NY where I travel fairly often get a set of snow tires, I suggest the Pirelli Sotto-zeros as great tires for cold climate as well as snow. A good 3 season tire.

  • Thanks for the advice! I'll check out the Pirelli's.

  • toboggantoboggan Posts: 283
    Bridgestone Blizzaks also work nicely in the snow. Put them on the OBW in November and take them off in March/April. Pulled the OBW through 22" snow fall last year with no problems. Also put a set on the Wife's Jeep Cherokee for the same time frame.

    They may be slightly noisy but for me they have more than paid for themselves over the years.

    Of course, this year we seem to be in a moisture drought. May have the 4th brown Christmas in 100 years.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Depending on where you live, I found for anywhere that only gets occassional snowfall, the Pirelli Sottozeros are a great 3-season tire at around $100 a pop. Outstanding wet/slush traction and none of the typical sidewall flex or poor grip in the dry that snow tires usually have. When I drove my legacy year round I used the Sottozeros in the winter and Azenis in the summer.

  • fandcfandc MinnesotaPosts: 48
    The rain to your south has turned to heavy snow in the Twin Cities, Steve. The wet, slushy stuff unfortunately. Looks as if it is all heading your way. I think we'll have a white Christmas after all.

    Please? The snow tyres aren't getting their exercise this year. I've been using Dunlop Wintersports for a few years now.
  • I’m hot on the trail to purchase a used Subaru Outback in very good condition, which has had a solid maintenance record. I’ve been gathering information on Edmunds, CarTalk forums and USMB (Subaru enthusiast forum). I’ve got a little extra work to do as I’m searching for a car in Silicon Valley a few weeks before relocating for the summer from New York – I’d like to have any necessary maintenance done before arriving in a few weeks. This means I have to evaluate the car by having it inspected by 1-2 reliable garages, and maybe even hiring a local Subaru enthusiast with good experience to take a quick look after inspection.

    I'm just looking for the best value in a highly reliable vehicle. I don't mind doing some repairs and will do all recommended maintenance upon purchase, but would like to avoid any problems that can be avoided from the beginning.

    1) Which model years from 2000-2005 would you look for/avoid, based on known issues with certain model years?

    2) I read in another forum that pre-2005 Subaru Outbacks were prone to head gasket leaking.

    a. Is this problem confined to pre-2005 Subaru Outbacks? Is the cutoff a different model year?

    b. How prevalent was this problem? Should I avoid purchasing a pre-2005 vehicle? I’m looking for quality + value combination, and of course newer means more expensive.

    c. If you purchase a pre-2005 Subaru Outback, should you replace the head gasket even if there’s no visible problem yet?

    d. How much does replacing the head gasket cost at most good garages on average?

    e. Will replacing the head gasket solve the problem, or is the origin of the problem in engine design and it will simply happen again?

    3) What are the advantages of the VDC Subaru Outback? I'm noticing that VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) Outbacks seems to be commanding serious premiums on Craigslist and KBB.
    a. What advantages does this model offer?

    b. How much of a premium is it worth?

    c. Which model years was it available?

    Thanks again to all for the great advice I’ve been getting here.
  • I believe I just saw a Subaru Outback model listed with 4WD. Thought they were only AWD. For mostly highway driving and some weekend mountain road driving all season (including weekend ski areas), would AWD or 4WD be preferable? Would hardly ever be using the car off road - only at the very start of hiking/biking trails I imagine.
  • After getting the editions sorted for each year 2000-2002, and getting great recommendations from many forum members, I would only go with a 6 cylinder, and I definitely think either the LLB or Ltd 6 cylinder 2000-2002 or the VDC Ltd 6 cylinder 01-02 (VDC apparently wasn't available in 00).

    Wanted to ask:

    1) What do people like about the LLB edition over the Ltd edition for 2000-2002?

    2) Do you prefer the LLB 2000-2002 to the VDC Ltd edition 2001-2002?

    3) I realize the VDC for these years commands a premium. Is it worth it?

    4) If price were no limitation, would you go for the 2001-2002 VDC Ltd over the LLB and Ltd editions?

    5) Does getting the LLB mean paying a premium just for the LL Bean name?

    In the last day I've narrowed my choices to these model years and editions, and Edmunds has been a HUGE help. Thanks everyone for the great advice and information.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new head gaskets came as a running change in MY2002. So a late 2002 model should be OK. 2003 and later also, of course.

    The VDC model was the H6 so it has more power (212hp vs. 165hp) and stability/traction control. I'm sure it will cost more and premium fuel is recommended for the H6.

    2005 the new model arrived. For those the prices will be higher, of course.

    A 2003-2004 should hit the sweet spot, 2005 if you can afford it.

    They are all AWD. Should be fine for the conditions you describe.

    I'm selling a 2002 Legacy L MT5 (non-Outback) but frankly your requirements are a bit unrealistic, so I would look for less demanding buyers, and mine's still under a Subaru Gold warranty!

    You may want to ease up on some of those, FWIW.
  • Thanks for the advice. Where have I posted requirements that are unrealistic? I'm only looking for a used Subaru Outback H6 VDC or LL Bean in good condition that has had a good service record and checks out well in inspection. Can you explain what's unrealistic about that?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was referring to having 2 inspections, especially given you're not in the area.

    As a seller, I'm willing to get my vehicle MD inspected, VA inspected, or DC inspected, so they can be registered in any one of those jurisdictions.

    2 inspections seem like a bit much to me.
  • Think you misunderstood, I wasn't referring to 2 city municipal or state inspections, but two 2 mechanical inspections (by a garage and by another expert or garage). That is not at all excessive for buying a car remotely.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As a seller, that's more than I'd be willing to do.

    I'd do one state inspection, to make sure it passes and the buyer could register it.

    If they wanted a mechanic to look at it I guess I'd be OK with it, but I'd let them make all the arrangements.

    Have you found any with some warranty left? Or maybe CPO?
  • Right, I'm talking about having a mechanic inspect the car carefully. Anyone who buys the car without a thorough mechanical inspection is really asking for trouble. A simple state or city inspection for registration doesn't even begin to cover all the potential problems. Only one with warranty left, and it is a way overpriced dealer model and they don't have any history (run from that one).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Gotcha. A simple compression test will tell you if the head gaskets are sealing properly.
  • Did the compression test on the first car I had inspected and fyi even though it passed the compression test, had head gasket, oil pump and other leaks. It's VERY important to thoroughly (as in a 2-3 hr check) inspect any used car.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Looking at a '99 Legacy L 30th Anniv. Wagon, automatic, 160k miles, as an extra knockabout vehicle for now. Could serve a couple years as a daily commuter, 40 miles RT, mostly open rural/suburban highway. I'm specifically avoiding the early 2.5L engines, so don't want an Outback or a newer Legacy. '99 was the first year of the Phase II 2.2L. I like the HP/torque bump, and the tranny is supposedly smoother-shifting. Is this as bulletproof as the Phase I 2.2? Anything to be wary of? I'd expect the Phase I to go at least to 250k miles with regular maintenance... can a Phase II do it just as well?

    Good condition, clean, 160k miles, auto, nice winestone (burgundy) color. 30th Anniv pkg adds to the L model's standard goodies: power moonroof, height adjustable driver's seat, roof rack, alloy wheels, power antenna, color coordinated door handles and bodyside moldings. Oh, and of course a 30th Anniv. badge. :D I'd like to get it for $4k-ish. Thoughts on the vehicle for the price?
    imageSee more Car Pictures at
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