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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • Apologies in advance if you are sick of reading about a car you can't I promise this is my last road test reference.

    The Legacy 3.0R-B just scored 19/20 - the BEST EVER road test score awarded, from one our national newspapers - admittedly not a particularly renowned road testing source.

    The road test isn't listed on their website yet, but there is a reference to it on the site:

    The only real difference between Australia and USA which needs to be taken into account is that European brands which compete with Subaru (eg Audi/BMW) tend to be priced around 30-100% higher. Whereas in the USA, the difference might be only 0%-50%.

    I plan to test drive one on Tuesday when I take the Outback in for its 3000 mile service. If successful, I will provide some feedback.

    - Aussie Outback
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    However, $300 on the base model is not insubstantial, particularly when you consider those shopping at that level may be less likely to pay it. I think that this is an "interesting" strategy by SOA considering that -some- models appear to be selling well (but not to the point of unavailabiity), while one hardly sees any of certain other models. Of course, SOA is privy to the real numbers.
  • Hi Guys,
    Been catching up with this discussion as my wife and I are thinking of replacing her problematic Audi A4 1.8T with a new Legacy. I went and test drove a Legacy 2.5i Limited yesterday and thought I would offer some comparisons with our 99 A4. I realize that this is not a totally fair comparison given that the A4 lists for about $4000 more, but these are the 2 cars I'm comparing so bear with me. FWIW, I've pretty much vowed never to buy another German car again, but it is a really nice car to drive and look at both inside and out, and I want to replace it with something of similar style and class, but more reliable. My own experience with my WRX has been excellent, so I'd be happy to go with another Subaru if they made such a car.

    I've been reading the reviews of the Legacy and they all rave about the interior. When looking at the pictures online, I wasn't all that impressed, but upon seeing it for myself, it really is quite impressive. The Audi's interior is really a work of art, but the Subaru nearly matches it and even exceeds it in some ways. The leather seats look really nice and actually quite similar to the leatherette (vinyl, but very nice) seats in the Audi. The center stack on the dash looks stunningly good. Controls look good. The steering wheel isn't as nice as Audi's sport steering wheel, but still is very nice. The controls in the Legacy feel good and make much more sense and are easier to use than the button happy Audi. (I counted once and there are nearly 70 buttons on the Audi's dash.) The Legacy has dual climate control which the Audi doesn't.

    Engine: The 168hp engine in the Legacy compares favorably with the 150hp 1.8T in our Audi. Plenty of power and torque, though the 1.8T sounds smoother. A significant drawback on the Subaru was the 4 speed auto tranny vs. the 5 speed auto on the Audi. The Audi seems to have an almost inate ability to read your mind and shift accordingly. Shifts are solid, but smooth. The Subaru was slow to downshift, and when it did, the shift was very abrupt, and the shift itself seemed to take a long time. Also, with only 4 gears, the shift points are further apart, so when you downshift, the engine revs go a bit higher making the shift seem even more abrupt. The Legacy turbo models have 5 speed trannys, so maybe this isn't as big a problem as on the 2.5i, but for my wife, we don't need a GT.

    Some other disappointments with the car. Subaru did a great job on the interior with the stuff you see, but need a little more work on some of the stuff you don't see. The Audi is noticably quieter inside, especially when going over bumps. I would attribute this to better sound deadening materials and thicker glass on the Audi. Another disappointment was the size of the back seats. The back seats in the Audi are a bit small and I was thinking that the Legacy was a bigger vehicle and would have more room in back. There was a little more room, but it's still pretty tight back there. The Legacy trunk was a little bigger, but also not as big as I expected. I guess I was expecting dimensions similar to a Camry or Accord. The fact that the seats don't fold down like they do in the Audi isn't a dealbreaker because I have a WRX wagon for carrying bigger stuff, but it's still disappointing.

    Moving to the outside of the car, the car generally looks good, but there are some problems most of which were subjective, but I'll point them out anyway for the sake of discussion. First of all, I was looking at a regal blue model which is dark blue. One problem with dark colored cars is that they look great when clean, but terrible when dirty. For some reason, the dealer knew for several days that I was coming, but didn't wash the car. (It hasn't rained in over a week BTW.) It was filthy when I saw it and looked terrible. The metallic paint also seemed to have a purplish tint to it which I didn't like. Color can be changed though and I imagine a silver one would look just fine even when dirty. The other problem I had was that the overall design looked very bland to me. The car looked alot like a Saturn to my eye which I don't consider a good thing. Older Subarus and even my 02 WRX seem to have a lot more character which isn't always a good thing, but they grow on you after a while. Maybe the look of the Legacy will to, but my first impression wasn't so good, though by no means did I think it was ugly.

    So that's it. I was seriously thinking of trading in the Audi as early as this weekend, but I think I'm going to spend a bit more time looking around. I suppose it's a bit unrealistic to think that a $26K Subaru would match up to a $30K Audi, but that's what the reviews have been saying, so I thought I'd give it a look. Subaru has made quite a bit of progress and the interior design is right up there. There are just some things like the noise inside and the transmission that need some refinement before it can truely compete with these cars. I think if Subaru keeps going in the direction that they are, they can get there, but they aren't there yet.
  • I saw in another thread a post by an Outback 2.5i owner complaining that "the AC cycles every 20-30 seconds between cold and warm..." Has anyone else experienced this? I am due to pick up my new 3 OR VDC in a couple of weeks and would be interested in hearing comments from others. Thanks. Snowbird
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Excellent and well thought out writeup. Have you considered the Legacy GT? It's got the much better 5EAT, certainly has more power, and is probably priced much like the A4.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    So do you think there is room for the 225/55-17 tires on the US model? That's another 45mm on the diameter according to my math...

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Just confirming that in Australia - our Outbacks have full size spares. Our tyres are 225/45x17, and they fit in the spare tyre well.

    Are you sure? I thought your H6 Outback tires are 215/55x17, and H4 Outbacks had 215/60x16 tires.

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    The 0-60 time makes me think the hp numbers are off again.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    The Mazdaspeed 6 will be a limited model, right? Kind of like when Subaru introduces the Legacy STi. ;-)

    Any word of a wagon? The sub $30K sport sedan market is getting quite crowded. The choices are much more difficult in that space. I'm kind of glad I needed a wagon!

  • Craig, I was hoping I could get your opinion (and anyone else who wishes to contribute)

    I am trying to decide between the OB Turbo and the 3.0 VDC '05.

    It will be used mostly for city driving and occasional long highway trips (we live in snowy winters in Montreal). Your advice?

    Also, from reading comments here, the brakes on the OB are not great. Would that be a reason to pass on the OB, and perhaps go with the Forester (which is my other option).

    Thanks to all of you who have made the decision to this point much easier

  • This is redundant with what I have said before here but it may be worth repeating. I traded a BMW X5 3.0 for an OBXT. The X5 has a published 60-0 distance of 117 feet. At first I was anxious that the Outback's brakes weren't strong enough. After having driven it for 3 months now I am quite satisfied with the braking.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wow, a 225mm wide tire fits? I'm shocked.

    Still, 55 series is a lot taller than 45s. It might be too big in diameter to fit.

    Mazda6 MPS will come as a sedan only. Mazda's site said 274 hp, but you can't ever believe them, they have routinely over-stated HP.

    The good: HIDs, 18" rims, VSC, and 4 power up/down windows, plus the 6 speed.

    The bad: no full-time AWD, 100/0 default power split and only up to 50/50, side mirrors still don't break away plus no turn signals in them. 2.3l might feel weaker off boost.

    Still, competition improves the breed. I think it'll give the Legacy GT a run, but can't hope to match a Legacy STi.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487

    I think the brakes are fine, and are more than up to the task of reigning in the speed and acceleration I experience on my XT. The brakes are definitely better than the ones on my 02 Outback, for sure.

    Get the XT if you are looking for a sports wagon flair with rip-snorting acceleration, and can live with the characteristics of a turbo engine. I feel like the XT was made just for me, it's like the Outback I have been looking for all my life!

    The VDC's H6 engine will be a lot more relaxed and easier to live with than the H4 turbo. The H6 is also more refined than the H4. As much as I love the new H4 turbo engine, it definitely sounds a lot less refined than the H6 in my 02 Outback.

    And of course, you get a few more luxury touches with the VDC and stability control.

    I still think a test drive ought to help you decide, since the cars have a very different character. See which one you bond with more!

  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I have been debating between the XT 5MT and the VDC for weeks, but I wasn't planning to buy a new car until next spring when the lease on my 2001 Highlander expires.

    This afternoon my wife and I went to the local Subaru dealer looking for a small car for her. When we got there, they had a monotone champagne Outback XT 5MT, and the salesman caught me drooling all over it while my wife was checking out the Imprezzas. I told him the car was exactly what I wanted but I couldn't buy one until the spring because of my lease.

    Well he offered to buy back my lease and we ended up walking out of there the proud owners of not one , but two brand new 2005 Subarus! An Imprezza RS 5MT and an Outback XT Limited 5MT.

    I'm taking delivery next Tuesday, my wife gets hers in about 3 weeks. I can't wait!
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Congratulations! Sounds like that worked out great for everyone! Did you get the charcoal interior or taupe? My XT is gold/charcoal, and I really like the combo.

  • Thank you Frank, and thank you Craig, I will do just that.

  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I also got the charcoal interior, I think it looks great!

    My wife was quite impressed with the interior of the XT.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I'd like to find a nice picture of an Ouback XT to use as my Windows desktop.

    Does anyone know of a good place to find high quality Outback pictures?
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Do you have a digital camera?? Even a 2 megapixel (1600x1200) model will make a suitable desktop background for typical monitor resolutions. I used a larger, and slightly PhotoShopped version of this as my desktop for a while:

    One of these days, I'd like to take a similar pic of my new 05.

    If you take your own pic, you get the benefit of looking at your own car, in a place you like!

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Thanks Aussie Outback!

    Keep the H-6 reviews coming: I'll wager that the H-6 will be combined with a navigation system here to make a new premium model. The question is when. Next spring something may be needed to spike sales.


    The XT may sell better than the Bean and VDC primarily because of price. Subaru like VW is not yet (or ever?) a premium brand. My W8 Passat is an example of a failed up-market push. The W8 wagon at $39k is a near equivalent to an A6 Avant V8 at $56k.......but nobody cares!
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Here are some links to places for very nice photos of our vehicles:
    - Select the model type and then look for the image downloads
    - Sized for desktop backgrounds

  • Hello all. I have just purchased a new Outback Wagon, and would love to have one of these "magic" 3/36 Maintenance coupons, if anyone either has one or can tell me how to get one:-)

    Thank you all so much. Very interesting and informative forum.

  • To quote your illustrious leader - "I misspoke".

    Bob - you are right - the H6 Outback tyres here are 215/55x17.

    My judgment suggests that it looks like a 225/55x17 would fit - but I couldn't guarantee it. There are a few millimetres to spare between the tyre tread and the tyre well (you would need an extra 5.5mm to make up for the increased profile, right?), plus about 10-20mm to spare between the cover that goes over the top of the well and the tyre itself.

    It would probably be extremely tight. I wish I could be more accurate, but I wouldn't want to put you wrong.

    - Aussie Outback
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788

    We had 225 sized tires here on the last generation Outback too, only they were (all) on 16" rims. A 225/60x16 would not fit in the spare tire well. I'm hoping they corrected that on the current model.

    Only when someone here tries to fit one will we know for sure.

  • Four days ago I turned in my 01 LL Bean Outback for an 05 LL Bean Outback. My wife drives an 03 H-6 Outback Sedan. My 05 LL Bean is a dramatic improvement over the 01. I would make one suggestion to anyone who buys one and do as I did. My test drive before buying told me the car rode too rough and too stiffly and there was too much road noise. I had the dealer remove the stock Bridgestone Potenzas and had them put on the Michelin Hydroedge tires. My Beaner now rides like a limo and much quieter and actually handles better. The ride is almost plush. There is almost no road noise and most bumps are just not noticed. I did a lot of research before doing this and almost all Outback and Forester owners noticed a similar improvement over the stock Bridgestone tires.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Congratulations on the new Bean!

    I agree about the tires, too noisy.

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Thanks for the report on ride-easing tires for the Bean. My test drive of a Bean on rough city streets was rougher than in a GT I had driven ten minutes earlier over the same streets.

    Was it a problem to convince your dealer to make the swap? Or did you have to buy the Michelins?
  • Thoughts are turning to winter here in WMass. (Actually, for my 13 year old skier...winter has never been out of his head!). Anyway, looking for ideas on the best winter tires for the '05 3.0R wagon.

    Brief update on driving/ownership experience: nearly 10,000 miles (3 months!)...still a great pleasure to drive...quick, responsive, comfortable. Except drivers' seat. My biggest concern at purchase - besides VDC vs. XT Ltd. - was what felt like a narrow seat bottom, with the side supports. (Used to drive a Volvo.) No matter how much I move around, side supports dig into my legs. Just got a tempurpedic seat cushion that seems to do the trick, although it does lift me into a pretty high driving position. Other than that - great!

    Mechanical/design/build problems: lights on stereo disappeared for 20 minutes - only once; drivers window goes down with an occasional 'rattle'; protruding 'hook' - holding the drivers' floor mat in place (what were they thinking!!??) - has broken off. That's it. Not much, really.

    Also, no longer able to automatically get to this site. Now, I have to sign in each time. Anyone know why? How to avoid repeated sign-ins? Clicking 'remember on this computer' doesn't seem to work.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Apparently that login thing is a bug that is affecting may people. I think they are working on it.

    So where do you guys ski?? I went to college in Springfield MA. In addition to hitting Vermont frequently (Sugarbush was my favorite), I skied a lot at Brodie Mtn (apparently closed for skiing?), ocassionally at Jiminy Peak, and actually had a Phys-Ed ski class at Mt. Tom (also closed I hear). I think I probably had some of the best skiing of my life at Brodie -- we'd get in a ton of runs there. They had a $10 Monday twilight deal that was perfect for us poor college students. Looking back, I must have spent all my money on lift tickets in those 4 years....

  • I just purchased my first new car on Thursday, an Outback Limited auto.
    It is a beautiful car and rides well. It was built in April.
    Here are my issues:
    With 150 miles on it, the brake pads are scraping as I slow down. The rotors are getting grooved. It's like there is dirt stuck between the pads and rotors. I guess I have to bring it in.
    I am having a hard time adjusting to the hardness of the seats and the far away positioning of the steering wheel.
    Has anyone heard of a steering column being altered? They really should have made it telescope.
    The passenger seat is too low for tall people and needs height adjustment. I didn't want the turbo so I couldn't get the better seats.
    I was also thinking about getting a tempur-pedic cushion....

    Also, is it normal for so much wind to be buffeted into the passenger compartment when the side window is open? Opening the back window helps a little sometimes. Will wind deflectors help?
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