Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Outback/Legacy Buying Advice



  • 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
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Looks pretty clean. Miles are high, though.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    What I seem to be finding are somewhat lower mileage '92s-'94s (108-125k) or 150-160k '98s and '99s. Any lower mileage '98s & '99s are beyond the budget I set.
  • wired1wired1 Posts: 45
    Well, it's been a while since I have been on these forums, but its a reflection of my satisfaction with my previous Subaru buying experience ('02 Outback LL Bean....presently with 124K miles and still going strong)

    My son is presently looking for a reliable used vehicle for his wife and their 2 month old bundle of joy...our granddaughter! AWD is great here in the Pittsburgh area.

    He is familiar with my Outback so that is tops on his list. He's also giving an eye to the Forester, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. His price range is the $12K range.

    Any advice? ateixeira....glad to see that you are still around the forums.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    $12k will get a good used Subie. Aim for 03 or later if it's a Forester. By then the gasket problem was behind them. Same for Outbacks. The new generation arrived in 2005, so I'd try to find a nice one of those.
  • 27K is way too much. Granted the car is new, but keep in mind while "new" it is not state of the art as it might have been in 2005. Some parts, like tires have a shelf life due to age in addition to mileage. I just bought a used 2005 Subaru Legact GT limited (awesome by the way, you'll love it) with 50K miles, new brakes and clutch, pretty flawless shape for $12K. The mentioned $21K is probably about right.
  • marsoundmarsound Posts: 9
    I've narrowed down my decision to an 08 2.5i or 09 2.5SE. Looks like the main difference, besides cost, is VDC. I've found 2 08's (in colors I like) that are basically new (less than 10 miles). Question: is it worth another $2-3K for the VDC? Is there something besides this that I would get?

    Thanks for any help.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    I bought an 09 SE 3 weeks ago and love it. The SE package includes fog lights, heated mirrors and washer fluid, cross bars, power driver's seat, heated seats, cargo cover and tray, upgraded Harmon Kardon sound system, splash guards, 17" alloy wheels. Some of these things are available as options on the base model, but the heated seats are very much appreciated. Good luck with your decision. I'm happy with mine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you price each thing, a la carte style, then add up only the items you would want, and see if it's worth it.

    VDC is probably worth about $400 or so stand-alone.

    The All-weather package is another $400, that includes the heated seats, mirrors, and wiper de-icers.

    Fog lights? Not sure, say a couple hundred or so. Call it $300 installed and wired.

    Cross bars? Another few hundred, $300.

    Power seats, I'll guess $200 or so.

    Cargo cover and tray are sold in a package, I bet that's $150 or so.

    Premium sound adds another few hundred, it really depends on what it includes.

    Slash guards - on all four wheel wells? Painted? $100 each, so $200-400.

    Plus One rims are worth a few hundred at least.

    All that plus a 2009 will have better resale later.

    Put it this way - if you really want the 2009, I think you actually can justify it as long as you want most of that stuff.

    If you want the 2008, probably would not have bought all those items a-la-carte.

    Personally I think the SE package is a bargain, and if you ask Car_Man the residuals for that model are actually higher, so you make up even more of the difference there, potentially.

    In the end, buy the one that brings you the bigger smile. :)
  • ttutttut Posts: 17
    Hi morin2, could you share the price that you paid? I'm in the market for a 09 SE. I'm in NE area.Thanks.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    ttut - see my message #1702 in the Prices Paid - Outback. I bought at FitzMall here in MD. Quartz Silver auto SE + floor mats, popular equipment group 2a (armrest extension & rear cargo net) and wheel locks. Total MSRP was 25901 & I paid 20999 (before tax) for one of their clearance cars (these are new but have been driven about 100 miles for test drives) no-haggle internet price; I could have bought one with 5 miles on it for 300 more - but bought the one I drove.
  • ttutttut Posts: 17
    Thanks a lot.
  • marsoundmarsound Posts: 9
    Thanks, that's helpful. For me, the two items that are most important are the limited-slip differential and VDC, so it's probably worth putting the extra money up front for the 09 SE.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Hey, juice,

    I wish I had those "slash" guards when I hit a curb hidden under the snow, when my Forester was new. It would have saved me a bunch of cash on new tires when I tore out the sidewall. (Sorry, couldn't resist!).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's the Rally heritage at work for ya.... :D
  • We're looking at a one-owner car with 104,500 miles. I'm not sure if it's gotten a new timing belt . . . I'm aware of hg problems. If we send mobile mechanic to check it out, what certain things need double- or triple-checking? We also plan to have our own mechanic go over it (there's a 3-day period when it can be returned). It appears to have gotten about 24,000 miles put on it for each of first two years of ownership, and then dramatically slowed after that (perhaps a new car?). It drives well . . . and it could eventually be driven by our two teenagers. It's priced at $7K. Is that a fair price?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's about what I sold my 98 Forester for 2 years ago, so it sounds about right to me.

    Check for signs of oil leaks - inspect the engine block at the head gaskets, the valve cover gaskets, and the front and rear main seal. Your mechanic can do a compression test, but that still won't reveal all gasket issues.

    Turn off the radio and drive it and listen for a quiet/smooth drivetrain. The one advantage is that if something is off you are likely to hear and feel it, by that I mean differentials, AWD, wheel bearings, etc.
  • hhmaxhhmax Posts: 44
    New to the forum and subaru. Thinking of buying a 2000-2001 outback H6. Are there any major items/problems (like the 2.5 HG) that I should be watching for? In general what are the cost of ownership compared with the likes of accord/camry? I would expect to be higher but how much? Appreciate your feedback.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nope, the H6 has been great. I would still inspect any car that age, compression test, check for signs of oil leaks, test drive with radio off and windows open and listen for drivetrain noise, etc.

    It'll cost more to own than a FWD Camry V6, but probably less than an AWD Highlander V6. Fair enough, if you think about it.

    Do what we did - get a Chase Subaru credit card. You earn 3% back and can pay for even service.

    We own a Forester and a Sienna. I worry about what the Sienna will cost me to service, not the Subie. For the Forester I have $500 saved up in Subaru Bucks (the rebates come in $100 increments) so I'm pretty much good for the next few years - free service. :shades:

    If you can do that I bet the operating costs are actually lower than for a Camry or Accord. I don't believe Toyota or Honda have such credit card programs (please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd probably get a Toyota card).
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    > I worry about what the Sienna will cost me to service, not the Subie.

    hey juice I just had my cat and 02 sensor replaced in my 06 sienna at 76K, good thing the emissions warranty is good till 80K cuz it cost them over a grand!
    and then there was my new tranny I needed at 43K. can't wait till I have no factory warranty of any sort left!!
    which is why I just got the better half a 09 OB so she can cut back on the mileage on the sienna (25K a year)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We had a chipmunk chew up the wiring harness on our 07 Sienna and that alone was $700 worth of damage. They didn't even replace the whole harness, that would have been over a grand.

    I'm hoping it's reliable over the long-term 'cause if not we may ditch it after the powertrain warranty is up. I'm sure it will be (it was the chipmunk's fault, not the van!).
This discussion has been closed.