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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    I think death trap is a little melodramatic. It's true the results are disappointing, but I'm trying to analyze it rationally rather than emotionally. I've been looking at the technical data (what little there is) and it seems the structure held up well and intrusion into the passenger compartment was the least of any car tested by far. This tells me the safety cage is indeed quite strong and did what it's supposed to. The head was well protected, which is the real purpose of this test (read the fine print under description of the side impact test) This is why they use a 5th percentile female crash dummy, because small women are more likely to be hit in the head by the front of the SUV (if you look at some of the pictures of other cars tested you can see an indentation in the deformable barrier were the dummy's head hit- ouch!).

    Now, not that I'd want trauma to the chest, but it sure beats instant death or severe injury by head trauma. From what I remember of trauma victims (it's been a while) the head injured didn't make it to us in the hospital, but even the serious chest injured survived. I would guess it's the head trauma that kills most people in side impacts with SUVs.

    It is interesting that the IIHS side impact test differs so much from the NHTSA test in terms of torso and pelvic injury, if you compare the exact same car tested and ignore the head injury score. (look at the Accord without side airbags) Maybe it has to do with the size of the crash dummies? It's also odd that the rear passenger did well in the crash. The rear passenger would be subject to the same lateral force as the front passenger (although the intrusion may be less-but the picture showed damage all the way to the rear tire) I wonder if the IIHS test has been validated with any real world data? It's probably too new of a test, though. I wonder why so many cars do so poorly in this test? Maybe the insurance companies can use it to justify higher rates?

    I fully agree with what I think Craig said- it may be that you put an average sized male in the same situation and the results may be very different. This is the problem with laboratory testing- it doesn't necessarily correlate with the real world. For example, the GM minivans did very poorly in the IIHS offset crash test- yet real world data showed in accidents it had some of the lowest injury ratings.

    I would say that considering the safety engineering that went into this car, and how well it did with crash testing in Australia, that it is a safe car, and in fact far more than most of the other cars that have been tested. It did very well protecting the head, which is most important. It will be interesting to see how the NHTSA side impact testing goes. Until then, I will not overreact to the results of one test which contradicts other independent testing. It may also be that the wagon (and outback) do better in side impacts then the sedan (as the 04 legacy wagon did better than the sedan in the NHTSA side impact testing)

    If you want to talk death trap, go look at a Ford Pinto.

  • Yeah, melodramatic is a good word for this instance. On the bright side, if everyone freaks out about the '05s it should make it easier to haggle the dealer down.

    We have on test in Aus. that shows an exceptional side impact rating and a US test showing an Average rating.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    This whole crash test hysteria blows my mind. What is the probability of any of us being involved in an accident, much less an accident that duplicates the exact conditions of these tests? Probably about the same as being struck by lightning or winning the Powerball lottery. If you are that worried about being injured in a car accident, buy a Hummer or an Excursion.

    I am going to unsubscribe to this group until you get back to talking about the Suburu driving/ownership experience instead of the hypothetical Suburu crash experience.
  • roopower2roopower2 Posts: 13
    While pondering the side-crash test results on the new Legacy (which I hope to purchase in 2-3 years), I decided to drive my 1981 Subaru BRAT to work today. This vehicle has no internal door braces which were required in 1981 for cars, but not trucks. Airbags-nope. Do I worry? Not really, at least it will be quick!
  • snowbirdsnowbird Posts: 120
    Interesting to note that, according to Consumer Reports, the 2004 Legacy/Outback had a IIHS test rating of "Good"- top ranking. Yet, this year, the same agency rated the 2005 Legacy "Marginal" - 2 ranks down and just above "Poor". So what gives? I thought we were supposed to get a better and safer car in 2005. No?! (Confounded) Snowbird.
  • roopower2roopower2 Posts: 13
    While pondering the side-crash test results on the new Legacy (which I hope to purchase in 2-3 years), I decided to drive my 1981 Subaru BRAT to work today. This vehicle has no internal door braces which were required in 1981 for cars, but not trucks. Airbags-nope. Do I worry? Not really, at least it will be quick!
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    So I did the right thing by sticking with the Forester? ;-)
  • Only if you like the Forester better then the Legacy. The Legacy is NOT an unsafe car by any stretch. Looking at the numbers and ratings, most of the cars tested by IIHS this round got "Poor" scores across the board. One telling sign, the deformation from the impact does not actually "hit" the driver in the legacy as it does on most of the cars in that test. My plans to buy an '05 GT have not changed at all. If anything this panic over above average, for this test, scores will just lower demand and make it easier for me to get a better deal :)
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    One major flaw in all the tests is that they do not take enough data points to have a statistically valid sample. It may be that the variation amongst many cars of the same type is low, but I have not seen any indication that they test enough cars to even come to that conclusion. I'd be very curious to know how much the results change from car to car if, say, 25 Legacys were tested.

    First, who is going to fund the actual crashing of 25 vehicles?? In reality, the variance in results should be extremely low - these are highly engineered, consistently manufactured products with very tight tolerances. The variability from vehicle to vehicle should be nil or close to it. Now it's possibile that IIHS got a bad unit twice, but I doubt it.

    It's hard to make valid conclusions based on very limited data when trying to predict the performance of any machine under a wide range of conditions.

    Again who's going to pay to test every possible scenario? The IIHS perfoms a consistent test in a consistent environment for everyone. No variability delivers results that can be compared.

    In reality, the Legacy should still be an extremely safe automobile for the majority of the population. Keep in mind that the IIHS is funded by INSURANCE COMPANIES. They have a vested interest in determining what they consider a safe automobile.

    Lastly, I was under the impression that many manufacturers are now conducting virtual crash tests using computer simulation during the design phase. These results should not be a total suprise anymore or there's some software tweaking to be done.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Only if you like the Forester better then the Legacy. The Legacy is NOT an unsafe car by any stretch.

    Oh I know, I probably should've used a ;-) emoticon in the last message. (There, fixed it. ;-))
  • doug1doug1 Posts: 37
    I think we almost certainly did get a safer car for 2005. With the previous generation Legacies, the IIHS only used a frontal offset crash, in which the Legacy was a Best Pick. For 2005, the Legacy is again a Best Pick in such crashes. Looking at the technical data, the 2005 did even better in the frontal offset crash than the 2004. The IIHS has only tested a few cars for side impacts, and most do poorly. However, I too am disappointed with the results for the 2005s. I expected better, and Subaru should have done better. It appears the thorax airbag is not doing its job.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion over the differences between the NHTSA, ANCAP (Australia), and IIHS side tests. It seems to me that the biggest difference is the size and shape of the impact sled. The IIHS sled is both higher off the ground and has a greater top to bottom dimension in order to simulate an SUV. In contrast, the NHTSA and ANCAP tests are designed to simulate a car. The sleds impact the test vehicle lower in the body. Additionally, the sizes of the dummies differ significantly. ANCAP (and I believe NHTSA) uses a 50th percentile adult. IIHS uses a 5th percentile female.

    I think it's unlikely that IIHS will ever test the Outback, as they apparently view it as essentially the same as the Legacy. They've never tested an Outback previously. However, with side impacts I suspect there could be differences. In looking at the 2004 NHTSA tests, the Legacy sedan received 3 stars. The Legacy wagon got 4 stars. The Outback wagon was awarded 5 stars. Apparently the ride height difference helped when being impacted by a car, even without any side airbags. It will be interesting to see the 2005 NHTSA results, as well as the EURONCAP results from Europe.

    While I've probably been just as disappointed as many of the rest of you, I think it is important to remember that we're dealing with probabilities and a continuum of possibilities. It seems very possible that the 2005s will do well against cars in side impacts, but not so well against SUVs, at least at these test speeds. But about half or more of the vehicles on the road are still cars rather than trucks or SUVs. Additionally, given that the 2005s do extremely well in a frontal impact, perhaps they could protect their passengers in such a crash at even higher speeds, while possibly still providing some side impact protection at speeds lower than used in the IIHS test.

    Perhaps I'm not doing a very good job of explaining myself, but I think it's important to look at risk from a broader perspective. If one walks in a city or rides a bike, they are facing far more risk than in most cars, let alone the 2005 Legacy. Moreover, the 2005s are certainly more safe than cars such as my 1996 Legacy. Without a doubt, I would like the 2005s to do better, and they should. But driving a 2005 probably wouldn't raise my global or calendar-year exposure to various risks much over driving a new Accord or Camry. That is certainly not to say that Subaru doesn't need to do better though. I certainly expect them to make changes.

  • gentlegentle Posts: 7
    Sorry about the "death trap" comment. I don't post all that regularly and I forget that sarcasm doesn't play well in the unskilled written word.

    If I really felt the car was dangerous, I wouldn't haul my 6 month old around in it. I know that you can't control everything, but I think that alert, defensive driving (even in a fairly aggressive car) is a better way to remain injury free then to drive on the edge and hope for the car to bail you out when you screw up.

    That said, I'll pass on the Ford Pinto.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Craig: You echoed my engineering thoughts exactly.

    Snowbird: The reason for the change is that the IIHS added an all new second side-impact simulation to their test this year.

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    I've been away for a few days, it was good getting back in my car this morning- It's been almost a month since I bought it and I am still eager to drive it everyday!

    Ken- I'm jealous- I'm still a ways from 1000 miles (I never thought I'd wish I had a longer commute!) Do you think 900 is enough? How about 8? 7? ;-)

    Drew- You'll notice they crash tested a 2.5i. With a GT you'd have avoided being hit! ;-)

    Does anyone know if you can adjust the position of the gas and brake pedals? They're a little far apart for me to heel toe easily. Maybe it's just practice and maybe it's because I'm still not aggressively driving, but it seems the gas pedal is too low or the brake pedal too high. Lateral distance seems ok. Anyone else with a MT, or who have driven the MT, have any thoughts or comments? I looked at the pedals of my friends WRX and they seemed more level with each other.

    I got a call from Subaru saying they are sending my free maintenance coupons!

  • kmartinkmartin Posts: 427
    Sorry to disrupt a terrific heated discussion, but on a lighter "note"...

    I bought a new 40GB Click Wheel iPod at the Apple Store earlier this week. I looked at three different FM options, and after conferring with several of the Apple folks finally settled on the DLO TransPod FM transmitter. It has the charger, stand and transmitter all-in-one. I plugged my stand into the cigarette lighter, used various-shaped adapters (all come with the TransPod), I rigged it up so that I can reach and read it while I am driving (don't try this at home) I can also unplug it all and stow it away where no one can see it.

    My Apple salesman said this unit has much better sound quality than the Belkin or Griffin models (I wouldn't know for sure) and that it was the unit he used in his car. He showed me several different ways to hook it up - very versatile. You can also use the charger without the stand, if you like.

    I have found that the sound quality will vary from song to song, but generally acceptable levels on most everything. The EQ settings on the iPod really help.

    Here are a couple of quick pictures I took (a little blurry...sorry) to give you an idea.



  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Well, I don't know the particulars of that car, but my guess is that Saab would have added some extra safety engineering to whatever they got from Subaru.

    Take the Mazda 3 and Volvo S40 for example. Same platform, but Volvo put a lot of effort into the S40 with a goal to make it at least as safe as the S80. They totally re-engineered the structure, and used exotic materials and techniques in several places. The Volvo also weights about 400 lbs more than the supposedly "equivalent" Mazda 3. They tested a side-impact with a 4000 Lbs XC90 and the S40 fared very well.

    Does that mean it would do well in the IIHS test? I don't know, but I'm sure it would do well in a real life situation. I know which of the two (Mazda/Volvo) I'd prefer to be in if I had a severe crash.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Thanks for the info, folks. luck11--I'll look for FOLEX and had not hurt of it before.

    Craig--thanks for the picture link--lookin'good. I also discovered a decent picture inside the Outback hard copy brochure.

    Unfortunately, since I'm leaning to the 2.5i, it appears I would not have the choice of champagne gold *and* dark interior (not available), so the choice becomes even more critical and would require a switch to a different exterior color if I decided to go dark.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    There's a new Subaru/Lance Armstrong commercial airing in our area that more or less focuses on the Outback's "dual" personality (refined & sporting) in which people kind of morph into two different types of the same person (You have to see it). If it comes on, check the quick visual of the instrument panel (which I Tivoed and replayed) where the "gear number" for the Sportshift is displayed, and indicates an "8"?????
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I replied over at, but congrats on your 4G purchase!

    The DLO stand is nice. If I knew I was going FM from the get-go, I probably would have purchased that setup.

    How do you like the 4G? Which EQ settings do you use for FM? I find that "Flat" sounds a little thin, but some of the other EQs distort the sound too much.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Nice setup!

  • We don't get that commercial in Oz, but maybe it is because Lance Armstrong is used to having 21 gears, so they built him a special Outback just to suit ;-)

    Given the focus on crash-testing, is it time for someone to make a joke about Lance Armstrong's propensity to crash, and his endorsement of an Outback?!

    - Aussie Outback
  • Does anyone know when Subaru will have these available? I actually purchased them, but they weren't ready for delivery, and will be added on whenever Subaru makes them available.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Which ones are you talking about? I saw numerous GT wagons on lots with the optional crossbars. They are made by Mont Blanc, and looked like junk. Save your money and order towers/crossbars from Yakima. They have a nice setup that fits the GT wagon perfectly, and they are available now. They also offer a locking capability which the Mont Blanc racks lack.

    The Outback comes with crossbars, but again, Yakima offers a solution that is a lot better. I have a Yakima setup that I have used on my last two Outback wagons and some previous cars, and it fits the 05 too. I am thinking about ordering a new rack system, as the parts are starting to look old (some of my Yakima rack components date back to the 1980s!).

  • It's too late for that. I ordered the Subaru cross bars that come as an option on the regular Legacy 2.5i.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    If they are not available for delivery, I think you can cancel the order. Seriously, I would not get those Mont Blanc crossbars for the Legacy, it would be a waste of money. Even the factory crossbars that come on the Outbacks are much better quality. When I was looking at the Mont Blanc crossbars, an end cap fell off and I could see the rack crossbar rusting underneath. The tower did not look very good either.

  • Yakima makes the roof rack systems for the Outback and, until this year, the legacy. The Yakima EasyRider set is what you want for the legacy wagon. For you outbackers out there, the Yakima Low Rider is your ticket. Subaru uses the much older Yakima Double Cross as their Outback "Factory" rack.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "Ordered" a Regal Blue Legacy Sedan 2.5i 4EAT w/ the Pop. Equip Group, Rear Spoiler, Emissions regs (required, I think in my area), and Wheel Locks.

    $1000 deposit, invoice pricing (under VIP through my employer), and the dealer agreed to pay the last month of the leased vehicle that the Legacy will be replacing- very nice, we didnt even ask for that! (We did ask, however, that a separate check be issued for that amount, instead of the amount being netted against the price of the vehicle, that way we can be sure that we are truly getting invoice (plus destination)). Subaru also offered to beat any loan financing amount offered to us, and right now, it looks like we'll be getting 5.09%, which is fairly decent w/o incentives, IMO.

    Very excited.

    FWIW, Its actually not going to be a true "order" unless it has to be- we told the dealer that if he can find, in the region, an identical Legacy (NO EXCEPTIONS) to the one described above, we'd take it when he could get it, which is why he offerd to pay the last month on the lease (to mitigate our overlap). If the vehicle must be ordered, and it comes in the 40-70 days that we were told Subaru specifies for an order, we agreed to forgo the dealer writing us a payment for the last month of the lease, since there wont be appreciable overlap.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Awesome color. Good luck with the wait!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Congrats, alpha!

    If the dealer needs to locate one, make sure it's not one that's been test driven extensively. With an "ordered" vehicle, you're assured you'll be the first customer to drive it.

  • goneskiiangoneskiian Posts: 381
    Whew! Finally caught up with all the posts in here.

    I thought I'd add that the EZ Rider Towers for the new low-profile rails on the Legacy wagons DO NOT LOCK. Sure all the accessories will lock to the crossbars but unfortunately the towers will not lock to the crossbars.

    I know this for a fact as I have a set I special ordered from REI sitting in my garage still waiting for me to wash, claybar and Klasse AIO my new wagon. Yes, Ken, you're way more OCD than I am. ;-)

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