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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • Can you guys give some recommendations as to which model I should go for. I have decided to go with the '05 Outback but am having a really hard time deciding which model. I really like the XT but am concerned over long term added costs due to the turbo (added maintenance and 100K engine overhaul). I really like the dark interior, engine torq, seats and digital gauges. My wife thinks the interior is too dark and will be really hot in the summer.

    The Bean and VDC is nice but the light interior I would think would be really hard to keep clean. As long as I'm looking at the Bean the minimal added cost to get the VDC makes me think that would be the way to go.

    I spent a few hours at the local Subaru dealer yesterday and they only had light interior Outbacks on the lot. That makes me think everyone else is buying the dark interior cars. Such light interiors just doesn't look very practical with two kids.

    I'm really having a hard time deciding since all three model levels have something going for them. Hope you guys can give me some feedback on why you picked the model you are driving?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The Outback XT has a timing belt, which will need to be replaced at ~ 105K, which is probably what you're referring to. The H-6 models have timing chains which should last the life of the engine, if the engine is maintained properly.

    As you probably are aware, the power characteristics differ between the XT and the H-6s. There is a little turbo lag on the XT, then it comes on like gangbusters; whereas the H-6 has a more predictable and linear power delivery. If you like a 5-speed manual, the XT is your only choice, at least this year.

    My guess is that both engines should be very reliable, but only years of service will accurately answer that question. Subaru has loads of experience with turbos, so I wouldn't be overly concerned about that.

    As to the light vs. dark interior, that all depends on which exterior color you choose. It's not engine-specific.

    The VDC offers stability control, which is nice to have if your car is starting to skid, or at/near the limits of tire adhesion. It's a good safety item. The all-new larger Subaru B9X is rumored to have that feature as standard across the board.

  • dsattlerdsattler Posts: 135
    I have a Legacy GT wagon with the dark interior and four children. My wife has a Toyota Sinnea with a light (beige) interior. Both are leather. The beige, despite cleanings with Lexol, doesn't look that great. My dark interior, after five months/6,200 miles of kids, camping, dirty soccer shoes and uniforms, etc., looks fine. And it wasn't too hot in the summer (and my car is dark outside, Regal Blue).
  • I chose a black/black XT Ltd. because of the turbo and color combination. I wasn't too concerned with long term added costs that may be related to the turbo because Subaru turbos are proven and reliable. I preferred the dark interior because I think it's more luxurious/sophisticated than the light interior, and, when I got the car last summer I did not notice the interior being any hotter than my 2000 Outback (which had a tan cloth interior). However, my car was garaged most of the time, so this may not be a typical experience.

    I test drove the VDC before driving the XT, and I'm glad I did. The VDC is a bit nicer in terms of certain interior features, VDC, and the H-6 engine. However, in my view it was not as quick as the XT, and the taupe interior got dirty quickly. I don't have kids, but I agree with your concern about the interior. I did not drive the Bean because I thought it was nearly identical with the VDC in terms of the key features I wanted.

    I don't know if the presence of only light-interior Outbacks in your local dealer means that only dark interior ones are being bought. That might mean that your dealer did not order many dark interior cars (and there are far fewer dark interior Outbacks than light ones). Maybe the dealer will get a dark Outback soon, or maybe you can visit another dealer.

    At a minimum, you should test drive all 3 models to compare the power. It's up to you whether you can live with the risk of added maintenance of the turbo in the long run (which is a risk), or whether you can deal with maintaining the light interior (which is a certainty).

    Good luck with your decision.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I stopped by a Subie dealer today, and noticed that "finally" some Legacy 2.5 GT Limited sedans are now arriving without that optional rear spoiler. 'Bout time...

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I agree with the previous posts -- I think the dark intrior looks better and will be easier to keep clean. After having several cars with light interiors, I felt that the taupe interior on the 05 models was too light. In fact, several taupe cars I test drove were already showing some scuffs and dirt. My previous 02 LL BEan Outback had a tan interior, but it was more of a light brown (basically the color of dirt) and was pretty low maintenance. Compared to that, the 05 taupe is much lighter.

    I think exterior color is the largest factor on heat in the summer. I got a gold Outback XT with the black interior (excellent color combo by the way) and it wasn't any hotter than previous cars I had. In fact, my 02 Bean was dark green on the outside, and used to get pretty hot; the gold XT is definitely cooler than that.

    All of the Bean/VDC/XT models have the same handling and tires, so they will all drive similarly. They also all have the same 5EAT (auto trans), though you can get a 5MT on the XT models. The main difference is the engine. No doubt about it, the Bean/VDC engine is quieter, smoother, and more refined. The H6 is one of the smoothest engines around. It's also fairly powerful in the 05 models. However, the XT's turbo engine is the hot rod of the lineup, and stole the show when I was shopping. If you are after maximum fun, this is the hands-down choice. The power/torque of the turbo, combined with the rapid fire shifts of the 5EAT is totally cool.

    In my case, I was replacing my 02 LL Bean Outback and my 03 WRX with one car, and the 05 Outback XT was smack in the middle of my sights -- pretty much the perfect car for me. It's my third Outback, and I finally feel like Subaru made the perfect Outback for my wants and needs.

    Good luck! You can't lose with any of the 05 models in my opinion.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I'm going to chime in here even though I drive a Legacy GT Ltd wagon.

    From a performance perspective, the 2.5 turbo is the engine to have. Not only does it produce more torque than the H6, but peak power comes sooner and stays flatter through the RPM range. While the H6 is a great smooth engine (thanks to the near perfect balance of the H6 layout) many of us here believe it was offered to appease the USDM market's preference for more cylinders. I think you will be happier in the long run with the XT.

    The main reason to get the H6 in my mind would be if you absolutely needed the added safety of the VDC system. It's Subaru's flagship vehicle with one of the most advanced integrated AWD and stability systems.

    In either case, only a test drive will let you know which is for you. If you do go with the 5EAT automatic, keep in mind that the vehicles on the dealers lots are still not broken in and will not be as responsive as they can be.

    I'll also second Craig's post about the exterior color determining interior heat. My Legacy GT Ltd wagon is silver with black interior. During the summer, it was significantly cooler after sitting outside in the sun compared to my outgoing black Forester with light grey interior. In fact, I was surprised to not have blistering hot leather seats to contend with in my Legacy.

    Finally, the very large moonroof available with these models works wonders in giving the cabin an airy and open feel. My 1.5 year old daughter loves it when I pull back the shade and let natural sunlight fill the cabin. I love how the interior can go from bright and sunny to sleek and black at night, especially with the very chic instrument lighting scheme.

    Good luck and let us know which way you go.

  • snowbirdsnowbird Posts: 120
    I had test driven both the XT and VDC before settling on the latter (No Beans in Canada).

    I think they are both fine cars. IMHO, the XT is more fun to drive and better on open and windy roads; the VDC more comfortable and easier to drive on congested freeways (due to its smoother acceleration) and marginally safer with traction control.

    As to light or dark interiors, there is a bit of trade-offs. True, light color shows dirt and mud more, but dark shows dust very easily. (My previous car was silver exterior and dark interior).

    After owning my VDC for 2months, I am very happy with it. It has a very quiet engine.
  • rsq798rsq798 Posts: 35
    I noticed when cleaning my car today that what I thought was dirt on the interior door handle was really a chip/flake in the coating. I'm talking about the black hand grip between the silver plastic in a silver/black interior. I can definitely feel the coating layer after rubbing my finger across it and it looks greyish underneath. Anybody else experience this? Any way to keep it from flaking further?
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 857
    ...sees it a Subaru, they just wave it through.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I have heard of this from one other person -- you can get the dealer to replace that piece. It comes off pretty easily.

  • In a new IIHS study, the 2005 Legacy/Outback gets an "Acceptable" rating for head restraints, which is not the best but is better than most...

    The story:

    Full results:

  • Last saturday I test drove the 2.5i 4A AWD Outback wagon. With 3 adults on board, the acceleration was okay. I own a 95 camry (and also 00 Xterra, which my wife drives) and was not very thrilled with the Outback test drive. I am 5'10" and the biggest dissapointment was the legroom behind the driver seat. When I had adjusted the driver seat to a comfortable position, my wife who is 5' tall could not sit comfortably in the back seat.
    The steering wheel tilt is limited and I had to push the seat all the way down for a comfortable position. I drive with the steering wheel tilted all the way down and I can get in and out of my camry easily without having to adjust the tilt. But that's not the case in Outback, with the seat completely down, I could not see the hood and felt seated very low. The dealer was ready to go couple hundred dollars below invoice. I keep cars for atleast 10 years and I did not want to adjust the steering wheel everytime I get in and out. I think subaru could have done a better job with the interior space.
    The seating surface and cargo area look and feel very upscale, I was very impressed with the cargo area. I would definitely recommend the car for short drivers, lot of standard features.
    The doors are very light (which I liked), on a windy day, if you do not hold the door while you open, the door could easily bang the adjacent car.
    During the test drive, I also felt the seats were little firm and steering a little stiff. The stiffness will probably disappear after a while.
    Couple of features I have in my 95 camry LE and not in the Outback are:
    Adjustable head restraints
    Glass up and down after the engine is completely shutdown. I use this feature a lot in summer time, after I remove the key, I can still up the glass within a minute. I miss this feature in my Xterra too.
    The driver comfort and back seat space were the main reasons for not buying the Outback, otherwise it is an excellent automobile. So serious buyers, do check the driver seating position and the space behind the driver.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I am 5'11" and do not have the same problems you encounter. I am actually able to find the perfect driving position and have no problems with egress/ingress. To each his own I guess.

    I agree with you that the seats are a little too firm, but the head restraints ARE adjustable.

    The lack of residual power after engine shutdown is definitely one of the little details that Subaru needs to take care of, but not a show stopper. I would put the priority on "auto-up" power windows before that though.

  • If I had spent more time adjusting the seat, probably I would have found the perfect position. When I tried to get into the vehicle on the showroom floor, I could not get my legs in, ditto test vehicle and that must have made me think otherwise.
    The salesguy told me that the head restraints are height adjustable but not <--> adjustable (sorry, did not get the right word) and so I did not try to push/pull them to see if I can.
  • mfhmfh Posts: 37
    As aptosca and Ken and several others have pointed out to my embarrassment (LOL), there are only R1-R3 conditions.

    However, I have heard of at least 2 people getting 300 dollar citations for not carrying chains. One of these people was driving a front wheel drive without chains.

    As others here have suggested, a friend in Tahoe said to buy any old cheap chains and keep them in the car.

    The guy at Kragens said cables would also not work. Could Patty find out for us?

    Ken, I went skiing at Kirkwood. It waas great. A little warm and the snow is melting. But I cant complain for middle of November.

  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    On Friday, the service rep at my dealer made reference to a new Legacy which will be available in March. Anyone hear anything? Rob M.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nav is rumored, but that's it. The Legacy is already new.

  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    juice, the conversation was more in the context of "Rob, you might not want to buy your new GT just yet - you may want to see what is coming out in March". I'm thinking the elusive b-spec???
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Excellent! I heard that Tahoe was open early due to the recent storms. I long for the child-free days when I could just hop in my car and drive up.

    Don't trust the person at Kragen's. The main concern with traction devices other than fitting your tire size is if it will clear the suspension arm.

    Cable devices are low profile so they typically do not pose a problem for most passengar cars. The best thing to do is find a store that will let you try it out in their parking lot to make sure there are not clearance issues.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Could be and if so I think I lose my double-or-nothing bet with Bob. ;-)

  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    I agree the back seat room of the Legacy is not the same as the camry. The camry is a bigger car. But I have had full sized adults sit back there with no problem for several hours. But if you want to cross your legs back there, get a limo. ;-)

    I don't have any problems with position in the drivers seat, but I have power seats so it makes it easier.

    It just depends what you're looking for. I wanted something with AWD, safety, reliability, and quite a bit more excitement than a camry. (I also had a 96 v6 camry- excellent car- just no character) My Legacy GT fit the bill to a T. ;-)

    Good luck in your search. The new camrys are even nicer than the '95- but still boring. ;-)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Legacy is sized like the Acura TSX and Mazda6, slightly smaller but sportier than Camry or Accord.

    At least Subaru offers a wagon. That gives you lots more rear head room plus a ton more cargo capacity and versatility. Even the door opening is wider so it's easier to load kids and get in and out.

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694

    Want to bet the March Legacy will be the Liberty H-6 VDC? (in both auto trans lux and performance versions)

  • I want to thank everyone for your input on the model and color combination that you selected. I'm leaning toward the XT Ltd. with black interior. The wife still likes the LL Bean, Atlantic Blue with Taupe interior. Still have a week or two before I really need to pick something. Guess I'll need to make a few more visits to the local dealer to look at colors again. My wife laughs at me since I spend so much time in this forum. Guess I'm addicted!!
  • rsq798rsq798 Posts: 35
    How often do you 2005 owners change your oil? I think the maintenance schedule says every 7500 miles, but some dealers say every 3750 miles.

    In my case, I use Mobil One and I drive almost 1800 miles a month, 95% highway. The thought of changing my oil every two months is not that appealing to me. What do you all think?
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    The maintenance schedule up here in Canada calls for an oil change every 6000 Kms, or 3720 miles.

  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    Hope they come out with the Legacy with the H6...less torquey than the 2.5T but should be more reliable.

    I would prefer Legacy GT LTD with H6 engine + Nav + HID projectors at around 30K. H6 should make the car even more stable, since the entire weight of the engine sits low down in the bay (Flat-6 !), unlike the 2.5T that weighs almost as much an an H6 but has a lot more turbo related hardware sitting above the engine, thus raising the CG.
  • snowbirdsnowbird Posts: 120

    Not meaning to stir up trouble at home, but I have the Atlantic Blue with Taupe interior VDC. My agreement with my wife was that I got to pick the car and she the colors. As usual, she has better color sense! Jason
  • Greetings and Thanks to all for your posts. This forum has answered many questions and helped me in deciding to purchase a subaru.

    After extensive research and a couple test drives, I pick up my silver/grey '05 OBXT manual this Friday and I am very excited. This will be my second car and first subaru. I paid $400 under invoice plus the dealer thru in mirror, cargo nets, bumper guard and security upgrade at no charge. I paid 750 for an extended gold plus 5yr/60K with $50 deductible.

    Seeing that I would like to keep this clean and fast, your help in answering some questions would be appreciated:

    this is my first turbo, anything major I need to know? (aside from normal engine stuff)

    is synthetic oil after 15K pretty standard?

    what can I use to keep the weather stripping supple?

    can anyone recommend a good car cover? I drive on the weekend and on errands, but otherwise it sits in my lot during the week.

    is it difficult to add an mp3 player input to the stereo?

    a fork mounted bike rack is only available if I get the round cross bars from what I can see. Does anyone know any different?

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