Great car, but reliability hasn't been good
April 9, 2017
I drove a 5 spd Legacy GT wagon for 14 years after owning a series of AWD Toyota wagons. I love the concept of the car: It is just the right size, has sharp handling, decent power, and good gas mileage. The AWD system is phenomenal: I've driven right around AWD SUVs stuck in snow and ice. The cargo capacity is great for a vehicle this size. If manufacturers still made economically priced sport wagons in this format, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
My primary complaint about the car is the amount of engine and transmission maintenance required over the years. This vintage of Subaru is notorious for head gasket problems and, at 200k miles, the car is now in need of a second set head gaskets (the first was at 120k miles). The center differential was also rebuilt around 140k miles and the manual transmission started exhibiting gear noise at 190k miles. Given the prevalence of the head gasket issue, Subaru should have covered the first set of head gaskets (they did, but only for cars with less than 100k miles - most failed shortly after that). In my opinion, they don't stand behind their product. For a more recent example, Google for the problems with oil control rings and the related class-action lawsuit. I wouldn't recommend the car to a friend unless they were comfortable with the high maintenance requirement and die-hard Subaru fans. I believe the engines in the 2005-2009 cars are much more reliable.