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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I had those same reservations about the taupe interior and specifically sought out black for those reasons. I think it looks pretty good, in fact some of the controls blend in better with the black interior.

    Here's an interior pic of my car, not a whole lot to see but it's something (this is an OB XT-Ltd model):

    I also got the Champagne Gold exterior and like it a lot.

  • schulztt2schulztt2 Posts: 4
    One thing I have noticed in my '05 Leg 2.5i (with manual trans) is that the throttle does not seem to decrease smoothly when you slowly take you foot off the gas. I have noticable that when I am going along in a gear and slowly let up on the throttle there seems to be a sudden increase in engine braking just as you completely take your foot off the throttle. Then when you apply a little throttle (after having taken your foot completely off), the engine seems to surge - there may also be some slop / play in the drive train that compounds the problem. Net effect is that is almost impossible to drive the car smoothly when in a gear and you take you foot off / on the throttle. The problem is more noticable in lower gears, however it can be felt in 5th - cruse control has the same problem; control becomes jerky when going slightly down hill - it can't find the needed throttle setting, so it jerks on / off.

    Anyone else notice this? I have driven other cars with manual transmssion, drive by wire throttles with AWD and haven't had this problem (VWs, Audi's). I haven't talked to my dealer yet, but will after I hear whether this is a common problem or unique to my car.
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    i put a high premium on safety and the '04 forester test results helped seal the deal. but if something has changed in the side impact test, and the subarus fail across the board at that level, this would cause grave concerns on keeping this vehicle given these nj drivers.
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    You can try checking out either - that's where I picked up the Nashbar 3 bike trailer hitch rack; or has some racks that work well. Try checking out any of the online bike suppliers such as or

    Hope this helps.

  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I think a big deciding point would be whether or not you have small kids (who spill things) or teenagers (who don't seem to care if a car is clean or dirty). If it's primarily adults who will be in the car, then I don't think the light color is a problem. My wife got a Highlander in Feb with the beige interior and it's just as clean (after daily use and a couple driving vacations) as the day we got it. Of course, she doesn't allow anyone to eat in it<g>.

    I test drove a black on black Outback on a sunny, warm day and it never felt cool to me during the 15 min test drive, even though the A/C was on.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I am guessing that the rear passenger was "good" simply due to where the impact occurs in the test. I think they strike the vehicle at the B pillar, which is right near the seat for the front passenger. I think the fact that the rear passengers feet are near the impact point probably accounts for the difference.
  • rsorganizersorganize Posts: 131
    If I understand correctly, the '05 models, while new in the US, are not really 'new' models. That is, they were sold (and crash-tested and real world-tested) in Japan and Australia, before reaching our shores. Now, while good points have been raised about the possibility of different results when the OBs are tested, the strong test results in places like Australia suggest not only the possibility of differences in the tests' situations and standards, but also that we should be more cautious in raising alarms about the vehicles, SoA, etc.

    In addition, test results and real-world experience with the last generation of Subarus - and current, with Forrester, for example - strongly indicate well-conceived/designed/executed vehicles and a company commitment to safety. The 2004 and earlier OBs, for example, achieved high side crash results from the European NCAP and 5 stars from the US NHTSA (same as the Volvo S60, for example on side-impact and better, I believe, on front). And, I have rarely heard Subarus dicsussed as other than safe and reliable cars. The huge numbers of Subarus here in New England kinda/sorta indicate to me an appreciation that includes safety and crash-worthiness.

    Moreover, there seem to be some variation on comparative final scores/ratings in these tests, suggesting...what?? In the final analysis though, by all available measures, Subarus have been rated as very safe vehicles, comparable to Volvos, Toyotas, etc...and, definitely worthy of inclusion on the shopping lists of those significantly concerned about safety.

    Should all of this history/experience be forgotten because of this one test result? Everything I see leads to the conviction that the '05s are BETTER conceived/designed/executed vehicles...better structural design and integrity and better bags, plus the addition of the side curtains.

    It might, indeed, be the case that some improvements will need to be made in future models - brakes, bags, seat memory, nav., etc. But, it seems to me that a historically safe car has been made safer AND a lot more appealing in multiple other ways.

    My own tendency is to jump on political and corporate malfeasance, incompetence, disingenuousness and so on. But, some folks might need to cool their jets and look at the fuller picture on these issues.

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    Bob, agree with you 100% There will be no 06 MY in this family. Whatever new vehicle lands in our driveway, it will by an 05 MY, and if the OBW has similar results as the legacy sedan, chances are slim our next will be a Subaru. A bit harsh, yes, but that's the way I'm feeling at this point in time.

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    I'm dealing with the same issue. Currently have the beige interior on my 00 OB which shows dirt, but easily cleanable. I use a product called FOLEX...spray, rub it in, leave for a min, wipe off with a clean terry towel. I have removed lipstick, grease, pen, pencil, name it. Our child has been in the car since day one, yet after 4.5 years, my interior is [non-permissible content removed] and span. Black will show every spec of light colored dirt, flufs, dust etc (this will drive me nuts) the heat build up issue. Black is sharp but I think in general taupe is more upscale. That said, I noticed that the new taupe interior is very light, much lighter than my current interior, and not quite as appealing. Hmmmmm....
  • I purchased a 2005 Legacy two weeks ago, and I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am with the crash test rating the Legacy received. I purchased the Legacy solely because of Subaru's claims that it had top notch safety and would receive top marks when crash tested. Safety is everything to my family and me. A few questions:

    1) How do we explain the fact that it received the highest ever side impact test scores in Australia's ANCAP test? The Insurance Institute and the ANCAP appear to use the exact same test. Very strange indeed.

    2) Will Subaru recall 2005 Legacy models in order to improve the airbag and thus side impact safety?

    3) If not, is there any chance Subaru will let me return my vehicle? I have emailed them about the awful crash test results, and they have not responded to me.

  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    FWIW, I think you've made some valid points--articulately too!

    But I see a similar issue with this crash test that I did with the braking distance issue that was raised here a little while ago. The tests, in a sense, speak for themselves, and a rebuttal to them requires an official response from Subaru. There is a reason why our government and the insurance institute conducts these tests, just as there is a reason why car magazines conduct tests of stopping distances.

    No matter how much we on these boards may speculate as to the reasons for the results (and/or their "validity"), the fact remains that those tests have historically been seen as credible. I'm wondering if it's fair to see them as less than credible because, in this instance, Subaru enthusiasts may be unhappy with the results when, in past instances, an enthusiast who was happy with the result would accept similar testing at face value (e.g., "Highest rating" etc, etc,).
  • Very interesting, indeed. Does anyone know what the differences are between the US Insurance Institute Test and that of Australia's ANCAP testing group? The Insurance Institute website suggests that they are very similar in method (i.e., crash is done from the same angle and at the same speed). Perhaps they use a car to crash into the Subaru in Australia, while the Insurance Institute uses an SUV here? We need answers to these questions so we can assess whether the recent test here is a fluke or correct.
  • rsorganizersorganize Posts: 131
    FWIW, here's a selection from on the methodologies of IIHS and Eu/Au NCAP. You probably understand all of this better, but it seems like they are very similar tests. If so, how to explain the very different results??!!

    "...The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), recognizing the limitations of the full-frontal crash test used by NHTSA, uses a frontal offset crash test similar to tests used by the Australian and European New Car Assessment Programs (Euro-NCAP and ANCAP). Offset tests challenge a vehicle's structure more than full-frontal tests do, providing more information on passenger safety in the most common kinds of collisions.

    The IIHS begain using its 40% offset, 40 mph test in 1995, ranking results into four categories based on the amount of protection from serious injury...."

    (On Sise Impact:)

    "...Compared with NHTSA's test, the Institute test produces higher risks for occupants of side-struck vehicles: In the Institute test, a moving deformable barrier strikes the driver side of a passenger vehicle at 31 mph. The barrier weighs 3,300 pounds and has a front end shaped to simulate the front end of a typical pickup or SUV. In each side-struck vehicle are two instrumented dummies the size of a short (5th percentile) female or a 12-year-old child, one positioned in the driver seat and one in the rear seat behind the driver. This is the first consumer test program to use a dummy that represents small women.

    The federal government's side impact test uses a barrier representing a car's front end. In this test, there's no chance that the heads of the dummies in a struck vehicle will be hit by the intruding barrier. But in serious real-world side impacts, people's heads often are struck by intruding vehicles, especially if the striking vehicle is a pickup or SUV with a high hood. The Institute's barrier is taller than the government's to mimic the high hood heights of SUVs and pickups...."

    (and, this on the Euro and Australian NCAP side-impact tests:)

    "...Side impacts are less frequent than frontal collisions but their consequences are often more serious. In the Euro-NCAP side impact test, a stationary vehicle with dummies seated in the driver's and front passenger's seat is rammed by a moving trolley (with a crushable aluminum face) going 50 km/h (30 mph) directly centered on the driver's seating postition.

    There is a new provision in the Euro-NCAP protocol for a side impact pole test to be conducted at the manufacturer's expense. This only applies where a maximum head score is achieved in the side impact barrier test and a "head protecting" side airbag is provided. Until all vehicles are pole tested, we will not add this test to's ratings...."

    BTW, the Subaru DID undergo the 'pole' test and, as a result, reached 5 Stars. Subaru achieved a perfect score on this side-impact test, which looks to be essentially, if not actually, the same as IIHS's test.

    Very few of the cars tested in Australia achieved the 5 stars that Subaru did and, remember, Subaru recieved the highest total ever.

    So, what do you make of this?

  • rsorganizersorganize Posts: 131
    To muddy the waters some more:

    IIHS rates the Toyota Camry above the Legacy in the side-impact, with a 'Good' rating. Yet, this past Monday, Toyota announced that it was recalling 130,000 2004 Camry sedans "to fix faulty side airbags that might not properly inflate in an accident (New York Times).

    And, again, FWIW: Legacy rated higher than the following on the side-impact test with the 'Marginal' rating: Altima, Mazda 6, Freelander, Wrangler, Stratus. And, below: Camry, Tribute/Escape, Mailibu.

    On the frontal crashes: total scores, ahead of - Passat, Volvo S60, Mazda 6, Acura TSX, Infiniti G35; same as: Saab 9-3, Volvo S80, Honda Accord.

    Most cars have not been tested.

    Again, are we getting carried away here? A disappointing IIHS result,sure, but - as the other Subaru tests and comparisons indicate - still, a very safe car, near or at the top by almost every standard.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    As a new 05 owner, I can understand the disappointment, but I think people are blowing the results out of proportion. We're not driving in some death machine here!

    Let's look at it in a logical light. The 04 Legacy had good front and side impact ratings based on the NHTSA tests. The 05 is based heavily on the 04. Also Subaru has been focusing on vehicle safety so it would be a logical conclusion that the 05 should be as good as the 04 if it were tested on the NHTSA test.

    Now, the IIHS test is brand new and appears to be quite different from the NHTSA in several criteria. The most marked difference is the the IIHS uses dummies representing 5th percentile females whereas the NHTSA uses "average" sized adults. Even changing the test criteria a little can result in big changes in differences.

    So far we have two data points with the IIHS tests (RAV4 and Legacy). Before making any conclusions, it would be interesting to see how some other cars that scored well on the NHTSA test fare with the new IIHS test too. I have a feeling we'll see quite a variation.

    As for the 05 Legacy, we still need to see the NHTSA scores as well to make any meaningful comparisons.

    Will Subaru and other car manufacturers improve the test performance in the future? Of course they will! Since these are controlled tests, it is quite possible to tweak features in any vehicle to produce good results. It's great PR.

    Should Subaru allow people to return their 05s? No way. Unless they advertised that the 05s would score a certain rating on a given test that they didn't meet (which no manufacturer in their right mind would do ex-ante), or there's some regulatory criteria they don't meet, then there's really no case.

    We're driving in over-engineered vehicles that were unimaginable 10 years ago. Yes, it is disappointing that the 05 Legacy didn't fare well in this specific test. But not all accidents happen in the same controlled way the IIHS test occurs. There many other variables that factor into accidents, it would be impossible for any car manufacturer to take into account all of them.

  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 1,214
    The limited information available about the Australian testing methods makes a comparison impossible. We don't know:
    1. The weight and shape of the Australian simulated vehicle.
    2. The weight and size of the Australian test "dummy."
    3. The exact impact point in the U.S. test.
    4. The energy absorbing qualities of the barriers (Australian uses aluminum, which most vehicles are not made of).
    5. The height of the test barriers in both tests.

    With all the variables, you just can't make a comparison between the tests. What you can do is compare vehicles within the SAME test, e.g. the Toyota against the Subaru. Toyota clearly produced a vehicle with better safety characteristics for the conditions of this test.

    Regarding the Toyota Camry air bag issue, the recall doesn't affect all Camrys. The vehicle tested didn't have a problem with the airbags.

    We'll never have perfect information prior to any purchase of any product. You use what information is available and make the best decision you can. For me, until proven otherwise by further testing, I'll take the two IIHS tests at face value and conclude the Legacy protects occupants to a lesser degree than the RAV4.
    Tesla Model 3, 2015 Subaru Outback, 2013 Audi A4
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Also, note that even within the same test, the results are different. The IIHS website lists all the results from both of the Legacy tests. The first one, while it did not have an air bag, had less structural deformation than the second one.

  • Do you have a link for the results from the first test?
  • It's just astounding that two tests could yield such different results: it's the safest care ever in Australia!!!; it's a death trap in the U.S. Go figure. I wonder if the differences are the result of random "noise," or if instead one testing method is superior to the other. I wish Subaru would enlighten us on this.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    You shouldn't equate these results to being "the safest" nor a "death trap". Those tests only give you a basic idea of the safety of particular model under a very specific scenario. They by no mean relate to the real world.

    In fact, most car companies design their cars to do well in the tests, not necessarily to do well in the vast set of cirumstances encountered in the real world. The notable exceptions to that rule are Volvo, Saab, and M-B, all three companies spend a lot of money designing and testing for a wide set of circumstances that go well beyond the regular tests.
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    the car sucked at this test. period. it seems every car manufacturer who sucks at this test says it meets all standards and is safe and the iihs test is a narrow test of the possibilities for crashes.

    fact is, until an independent group crashes them in all those possibilities, this is all we have to go on.

  • Interesting posts on safety. I thought I would compare the test methodologies (too much time on my hands) and this is what I found

    If I am correct - there are 3 identifiable differences between the ANCAP test (Australia) and the IIHS test (USA) for side impacts:

    1) 950kg trolley (Aus) v 1500kg trolley (USA)
    2) The Australian test combines the scores into 1 rating, whereas the US test provides separate front and side ratings (although you can see the split scores if you follow the links below - and the Sub scores maximum points for side rating in the Aus test anyway)
    3) Infant and toddler dummies in the back (Aus) v 12 yr old child size (USA) - irrelevant because it seems there are no issues re back seat passengers

    Some other possible differences:

    4) It is possible that a different sized driver dummy was used as the IIHS test specifically talks about smaller driver dummy - the worst results were torso and pelvis - maybe for a taller individual that would be stomach instead = reduced impact injuries
    5) It is possible that the test barriers hit the car at different heights. The impact point could also be further along the car, but the pictures suggest the same location
    6) Could there be any difference due to ANCAP cars were Japanese assembled, whereas the IIHS cars were presumably US assembled? SOA obviously thought the airbag component provider was the issue, therefore the recall. Maybe investigations could prove the steel/aluminium is manufactured to different tolerances? Before anyone gets too excited - that is unlikely.

    ANCAP methodology is listed here:

    Full Aus test details listing compressions scores (for comparison with IIHS test)

    The actual numbers don't compare very easily, suggesting different methodologies or the noted differences above (especially the weight?) are the reasons.

    I don't think we'll ever get to the bottom of it - and I suspect SOA is as confused as the rest of us as to why the scores are so different.

    - Aussie Outback
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I will try to spend some time reading over the various test procedures and maybe give some comments from an engineering standpoint.

    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.

    It would really suck if we made comparisons between different models of cars with only 1-2 data points per car. Until someone can prove to me that we do get a fair representation of a vehicle based on only 1-2 tests, I really question all of the results. If the IIHS is serious about the work they do, they must have addressed this at some point.

    Also, given the large number (near infinite I imagine) of possible accident scenarios, I would really like to see how cars handle crashes with various ranges of angle, height, velocity, mass, etc... What if the Legacy was superior from a different angle or height and the other cars were poor? 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. What if somebody wrote off the Legacy because of the IIHS tests, and then bought another car that had other (unknown) weaknesses that were manifested in an accident??

  • bblachabblacha Posts: 160
    The car sucked at this test, sure. So do most cars currently. It's like 10 years ago when offset crashes were getting attention and "Marginal" would have been a distinction.

    Having said that, the Forester side of the fence looks safer all of a sudden...
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I would agree with those that have observed that the IIHS side impact test result is getting blown a bit out of proportion, but on the same token, Subaru should be paying attention to the reactions of its prospective customers.

    It is important to kee in mind that the test itself is incredibly demanding, representing a 3000+ lb. SUV crashing into the side of your vehicle. All things being equal, it would certainly be best to be in a vehicle that performs well. For me, the bottom line in this test shows that Subaru needs to head back to the drawing board with respect to the design/deployment of the side airbag mounted in the seat. The head curtain is doing its job, judging from the injury measures, and the structure held up well.

    Personally, I dont know why anyone even considers the NHTSA side impact test as a basis for safety evaluation. The star rating doesnt even include the head injury criterion, for Pete's sake (whoever Pete is...). Thus, a car scoring 4 or 5 stars in the side impact may actually inflict head injury on the test dummy in excess of 1000 (the threshold for severe or possibly fatal injury), without its star rating being affected.

    c_hunter- I understand your comments regarding testing multiple idential vehicles, but really, the concept in question in relation to structure in particular is the repeatability of deformation patterns, as opposed to the sheer varience in terms of mm, for example, that the B pillar was pushed inward, as long as that varience is within reason. I suppose I take a contrary view- unless someone proves otherwise, I cannot think of a good reason why one mass produced sample would not be significantly representative of another mass produced sample, within an accepted range.

    I remember watching many episodes of Dateline NBC in which repeat crash tests were shown, for example, and in all of them- the last gen. Infiniti Q and the Dodge Neon come to mind... the repeatability in deformation patterns of the vehicle crash structure was remarkable.

  • gentlegentle Posts: 7
    I got one in the mail today.

    I got one from Ken already, so mine is up for grabs. I'm really not sure if people are still interested, what with the crash test results hogging up forum band width :)

    But if someone is still planning on purchasing this death trap, first one to email me their address gets the coupon and one foot in the grave.

    [email protected]<y a h o o>. com
  • gentlegentle Posts: 7
    Coupon is gone.

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