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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • Tom,
    You can add me to the support group! I swear my car gained about 20 hp since I got back from my 3600 mile road trip. Of course the fact that the temps are about 20 degrees cooler here in Seattle than when we left sure isn't hurting.

    FWIW, I used to experience the hesitation and have been looking for it lately but haven't been able to find it. Perhaps it goes away as the engine gets fully broken in. BTW, I'm up at about 6800 miles now.

  • Criag,

      Thanks for the tip, I definetly did not do this (sport mode) in my first test drive. This could also explain why the XT did not seem as fast as I was expecting versus the Bean. The sales person I worked with was busy with another customer so he let me and my wife take the XT out by ourselves and I was not sure how the manual mode worked, so I did not try it. It was very tempting to drive the car right back home and keep it :)

      Juice, yeah I triple checked the website and sure enough the 2005 Bean Wagon is nealry $200 less expensive than a 2005 XT-L...

      I think for me it will come down to a final test drive and I will need to highlight the differences between the two cars. I will say that my Altima has a Bose stereo with audio controls on the steering wheel, and I simply love this feature. But then again I prefer black leather and the more sporty look and feel of the XT Limited.. This is going to be a tough call (which it should be when dropping 29K on an automobile)..
  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    Great Ian! What position do you want? ;-)

    Wow, 6800 miles. I just passed 2K. I think my engine is just starting to loosen up.

    How's the service there in Kirkland? I keep bringing my car into Bellevue but everytime they fix something something else gets worse!

    BTW, I passed another 'SPC' '05 legacy. Maybe we all bought them at the same time?

  • Gotta be honest I was very excited when I first read the reviews about the new Magnum with the Hemi.. But after looking at them (I did not drive one) I eliminated them from my list of potential new cars.. This is obviously a personal preference (so please nobody be offended) but the more I looked at it the more I was not sure if the car was going to age well from a visual standpoint. Kinda reminded me of a hearse on steroids.. The interior was not nearly as refined as Subaru of Honda, and I was really worried about the fact that Dodge and Chrysler products typically do not hold their value (depreciation). Granted, no new car is a good investment, but after buying and then trying to sell a Saturn about 7 years ago, I can tell you it was a depressing experience. I am not disputing the Magnum's performance, but I think there are too many other negative factors and ruled it out.. Again, this is just my perspective...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bean Wagon is nealry $200 less expensive

    In that case, the H6 will be cheaper to own/operate when you consider the timing chains.

    I wonder which will have higher resale values. If the turbos are in demand now, probably the XT. If the turbos have any reliability issues, though, the H6 will really begin to shine.

    Forget all that, honestly, and buy the one you prefer. Do you want the cheaper one or your favorite? Being happy is more important that saving 1% of the purchase price.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    While having audio controls on the steering wheel may be convenient, the controls on the XT/GT are right by the steering wheel. The recent R&T issue that reviews the Legacy GT (same audio controls) mentioned how it was nice to have an uncluttered steering wheel with the audio controls within easy reach and glove-friendly.

    The XT gets something even better on the steering wheel -- manual shift buttons. I'd rather have those than audio controls anyday.

  • Ken,

      Excellent point. As I mentioned, I would much prefer a manual to an automatic, but the wife will win this battle since she will be driving the car more than me. The fact that the XT has the slick manual shift buttons on the steering wheel might be a great compromise. Which by the way, is what marriage is all about :)

      Juice I agree with you 100%, when it comes down to driving both cars again back-to-back I will buy the model that stands out the most. We still want to drive the Honda Pilot as well, but based on previous trips to the Honda dealer, I cannot imagine driving one home. I would be interested in hearing your impression of the Pilot if you drove one.
  • ntk1ntk1 Posts: 57

    Thanks for the update. However I have a question on the explanation - If the fault was a characteristic of just the ECU program, it would occur on all cars. From what I can gather, it is probably on less than 5% of cars sold, I therefore believe that it is an interaction between the program and one or more sensors being at tolerance limits. As I do not expect a resolution from SOA soon, I expect I will look at getting an after-market tuner to re-program the ECU (do you know of anyone advertising this capability yet ?). I am not particularly impressed that after spending the best part of 27 K on a car I have to seek out a jobbing shop to get the engine to run properly - if anyone from SOA is listening this is probably NOT the way to move up-market !!

  • Sorry to keep winding you people up about a car you can't have.

    But if it is appearing in the UK as well as Australia, then chances are it will be in the USA for the next MY (is it MY 2006?). So you only have to wait about 9 months.

    Here is a UK news article:

    - Aussie Outback
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    If the 3.0 H6 WITHOUT the extra performance enhancements is put in the Legacy here, that would be fine. The GT turbo does not appeal to most VW/Audi owners who only want similar performance without the German electrical reliability issues. I never had those problems on my old Legacy and presume the 2005s are still very reliable. The fuel economy of the H-6 may well be better than the turbo also.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the Legacy 2.5i, Accord & Mazda 6.

    All 4-cylinder models—and the Legacy wins!

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Great review, I think they nailed it perfectly!

  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    The Legacy, now in its sixteenth year and fourth generation, has never had much success outside a following of soccer moms and granola lovers who enjoy the Legacy and its Outback variant as safe, clean SUV alternatives

    I am not a mom, and do not eat granola! LOL!
  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425

    Just to clarify, there is an 05 H6 called the 3.0R in Canada that is cheaper than the XT. It is a base version of the VDC (with cloth interior, no VDC, no moon roof etc.). It is priced equivalent to a LGT 5EAT. The H6 VDC, called the 3.0R VDC, is priced cdn$600 higher than the OB XT LTD 5EAT. We have no base OB XT, LTD only. Dealer tells me that customers in Canada were demanding an H6 without all the bells and whistles. They got it.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Hey, thanks for the link, Bob. Is that an on-line only article? I received my Automobile magazine yesterday and didn't recall seeing that article.

  • Thanks for the link, Bob.

    I have read 4 other articles on the new Legacys, but this is the first that speaks to the 2.5i model with the manual transmission.

    I appreciate the comparison with the Mazda and the Honda, and I don't need a spec sheet that duplicates the info in the sales brochure. But, I would appreciate some instrumented tests on how well the naturally aspirated boxer 4 performs with the manual transmission.

    I don't eat much granola and am not a soccer mom, but this will be my fourth Legacy. Do any of these auto journalists really understand the Subaru Legacy market?

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Well, I have to admit, I do nibble on granola every now and then. But I'm a dad and not much of a soccer fan. :)

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    Ok, getting ready to make the leap to an OB XT LTD, MT. I like the monotone look much more than the two tone, and only monotones available in our area are Red and Gold. Gold is nice, but not my thing, so Red it is. Black, even if avail thru dealer trade is not an option. My first car was black and vowed never to own another...too high maintenance. I know, red is not low maintenance either, but also having owned a red vehicle, I can manage it.

    BUT, the only red XT already has 160 miles from test drives. The mileage is not so much the issue as is not knowing who drove those 160 miles, and how hard they were driven.

    I suspect I will be able to negotiate a better deal for a car on the lot, rather than ordering one or even attempting to get one via dealer trade. So, do I stay away from this vehicle and find one with less than 5 miles on it, or should I take my chances and perhaps offer a bit less because of it? I am told that Red XTs in MT are hard to come by in my neck of the woods.

    Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    I've noticed a few times when starting up my car there is a brief whistling noise. It's not consistent and I haven't noticed a pattern yet. I wonder if it's my starter? Anyone else notice anything?

    I definitely have a buzzing noise coming out of the passenger door panel- which the dealer could not find. After the dealer adjusted my radio panel- now there is a buzzing coming out of there too! It seems the more they do with the car the worse it gets. They scratched my ashtray door when installing my short-shifter and now can't figure out if they ordered a replacement door.

    Oh well, just some birthing pains. But if Subaru is going to move upmarket, they need upmarket service!

    Nice article, Bob. Makes me wonder if I should have just bought a 2.5i. ;-) Although I think a GT is probably the best value if you can get one for about $25K. I'm not sure the LGT is worth the premium. But it is nice!

    Jay- I think you could guess anyone test driving a turbo is going to drive it hard. Probably without warming the car up. I don't know what 160 miles will mean, but you're supposed to keep the car under 4K through the break in period of 1000 miles. I'm sure a test driven car will have broken 4K a few times. ;-)
    You might want to think about how much saving a few hundred dollars means in the long run. ;-)

  • doug1doug1 Posts: 37
    I've had the car (red with stick and tan leather) for about 3 weeks now, and have about 800 miles on it. I've been extremely pleased with it. I think Subaru has done a wonderful job with this car. About a week after buying it, I went back and drove my 96 Legacy (now sold). The 96, which was a good, reliable car, felt extremely mediocre to downright bad by comparison. I could never go back.

    I've been pretty gentle with the engine so far, but even moderate pressure on the accelerator does more than flooring my old car. The steering is great. I was unsure about the handling for a bit, as the ride height took some getting use to. It does pretty well on long sweeping turns, but changing direction rapidly seems to unsettle things a fair amount. But it's far better than any SUV, and likely better than many cars. The ride is certainly nice, comfortable yet with a bit of a taut feel. The Legacy GT would certainly be more fun to drive, but skiing, backpacking, appearance, and the ability to have a locking Yakima rack (how could they screw that up?) all pushed me toward the Outback. My girlfriend has an A4 3.0 Quattro that I can drive for my handling fix.

    As others have noticed, the armrest is too low. Might get the armrest extension, but at $144, it seems a little steep. I'm also not sure I like the look of it. I haven't seen or used it in person yet. Any opinions? I'm also getting a very annoying vibration/rattle on rough pavement from tip of the parking brake. The tip is vibrating against the metal surround. Bad design. The transmission is getting easier to shift (pretty decent to begin with), but reverse can be difficult at times. I often find it requires a pump of the clutch to get it in. I rarely had to do that on the Legacy. Hope that improves over time. The only other quality control issue I've noticed is that the right front passenger assist handle doesn't have a damped return, unlike all the others.

    One other thing. The engine seems a little rough when compared to my 96 2.2L. I figure some of it might be that bigger displacement 4cyl. engines tend to be rougher. But it does seem a little unrefined with noticeable shaking (not major though) at stop lights. I couldn't even tell if my 96 was running at a stop light (unless I looked at the shaking shifter)! Anyone else notice this?

    Thinking about getting 16" wheels for winter use, to avoid the expense of 17" snow tires (Blizzaks). Might go steel, or see if I can get the stock base Outback wheels for a decent price from a local dealer that removed them when pimping out a couple of its cars with chrome aftermarket wheels.

    The red cars are definitely difficult to find. Searching all of the dealers in WA and OR yielded only 5 with sticks and tan leather.

    Very much looking forward to a road trip in a couple of weeks!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    If it were me and spending close to $30K on a vehicle, I would forgo the model with 160 miles and order one. If your dealer places an order for you before the end of the month, then it's about a 6-8 week delivery time for the exact vehicle you want with no test-drive miles.

    Also, I'd argue that you should be able to get as good a deal on an ordered vehicle. From a dealer standpoint, your vehicle is not going to tie up any floor space and become immediate revenue. I spoke to my local dealer at length about this and he said he much more prefers customers that simply call/email, place and order and pick up 6-8 weeks vs. having to deal with inventory.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Pilot: yes I drove one, drives BIG, feels like a truck, you're way up there, isolated and not at all sporty.

    Nice choice for families of 5 or more but even then I prefer the way the Odyssey drives and it's cheaper and roomier. Pilot has AWD but even then it's part-time, acting like FWD most of the time.

    I am hoping the Subaru Tribeca can match the interior space of the Pilot but in a sportier package with full-time AWD.

    2.5i Legacy wins, cool. What's that phrase?


    They should trademark the phrase.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I think all the turbo models make that noise. I get it sporadically and it's also been documented over at

    When I heard it, I thought it was the fuel pump, but others think it might be something with the intake plenum.

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    Thanks Ken

    The last time I heard an engine startup noise like that my starter died a week later.

    BTW, how do you guys figure out how to remove interior panels? I'm about to give up on my dealer and tighten and grease everything myself. Do you use a manual or just guess?

  • I'm in the market to buy an "05 Legacy or Outback wagon. Any important differences you can point out that are worth the extra $$$? Also, in the buying/negotiating process, what do dealers usually charge? I've heard that there's not much room for negotiating a price.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    tom: The only interior trim I know how to remove at this point is the center console. You start by removing the handbrake cover. Next, you open the armrest storage bin, lift out the carpet and undo the two 10mm bolts. You then work your way up towards the audio/HVAC controls.

    patc1: The OB wagon gives you the following over the base Legacy wagon:
    - more ground clearance
    - tinted rear windows
    - extra 12V outlets
    - cross bars
    - tinted rear windows (it's a truck)
    - exterior styling

    Maybe a few others, but essentially they are very close. Again, the main difference is the ground clearance. Check Edmund's TMV tool to figure out what people are paying in your area and to see the full list of details.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    With the 5EAT, you can start by removing the chrome ring around the shifter (get under it with your fingernails and pull up). Then hook something under the center panel in the resulting gap around the shifter bezel and pull the back up, and get your hands under there for the rest. From there, the side trim pieces (wood or silver) come off (couple screws) and you can get to the HVAC/radio next. This way, you can avoid disturbing the brake and armrest portion if you just need to work on the HVAC/radio portion.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    My OB did not come with tinted rear windows, even though Subaru spoke of that when justifying the truck designation. I was really hoping the car would come with factory tint!

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I guess it's an option on the '05s cause I've seen some with and some without it.

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    Thanks Ken and Craig

    I'll have to do this one of these weekends to try to quiet the squeaks

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