Opinions on newer Subaru's

I owned a 1988 Subaru GL wagon, 4WD, 5 speed, no A/C, bought it new and did all routine and scheduled maintenance on time. I put 180,000+ miles on it and never had to replace the clutch, breaks or anything.

I gave it to a friend’s daughter (a new driver in need of a car) because it got “ugly” from the driver’s in the area I was living.

I have regretted giving it away ever since because it got great gas mileage and drove like a top. I made many trips cross country the Lower 48 and drove it down The Alcan from Alaska (where I had bought it new) in the winter of 1992.

I’d like to hear all opinions on new model Subaru’s, whether good or bad.


There are some dark years for the 1996-2002 with the 2.5L non turbo engine due to bad head gaskets.

Otherwise since then they have turned out to be above average for reliability according to consumer reports and seems on par with my family’s experience (10 in family).

I have a 2006 Outback that I love. I’m happy with the mileage (an easy 28 mpg average, in a pretty even mix of highway/inner-city driving, and 33 mpg on some of the longer trips I’ve taken), super reliable, fairly easy to maintain (even with the “complications” of an all-wheel drive system)…and last but not least I like the way it looks. I wouldn’t even mind jacking it up another couple of inches. And the interior is a vast improvement over the older models…they don’t even compare really.

I belong to a Rockly Mountain hiking group and we have 3 Subaru Outback owners and 2 Subaru Forester owners. A freind of my sone has a WRX and rallies with it! All are extremely happy with their vehicles. But all are very concientious about the required maintenance.

If the maintenance is ignored or tires are allowed to wear unevenly the repairs can be substantial. This may be one of the reason for all the horror stories we encounter on the site. Unlike your typical American car, you don’t just put gas in a Subaru and drive until something happens.

I am currently driving my second Outback, and I would not have bought a second one if the first one was not a very good car. In fact, Subaru is the only brand of car that I have bought more than once.

The quality and reliability of the current Subaru line is definitely “better than average” to “much better than average”. While there was a head gasket problem with Outbacks from circa '97–'01, those problems are behind them.

As long as you are willing to continue to be conscientious about service, a new Subaru should give you excellent service.

Thank you. That is the truth and as you read, I did all that and continue to do that with the curddy Ford trucks* which we now own, plus a nice little 2005 Hyundai (bought used this last summer), which gets 40 miles to the gallon, even when lead foot is driving it (that would be me) on the highway. Seems like all of you like the Outback, which I never thought of.

It is always true, no matter what make, that vehicles need to be maintained accordingly. My first husband, who is no longer alive, was a Datsun mechanic and he is the one who taught me the wisdom of keeping up maintenance, even though cobbler’s children have no shoes (same with mechanic’s wives and/or husbands vehicles sometimes). That’s why I bought that '88 new, so I could be stress free rather than driving a re-built which wouldn’t get maintenance 'til absolutely necessary.

We also have a home in Newfoundland, so I wanted a good little reliable 4X4 or all-wheel to get us up and back if needed in the winter months.

*As for the Fords: we have a 2001 F-150 4X4 which is a gas pig, but has been very reliable (so far) and has 108K on it, and a 2002 F-350 4X4, auto tranny, which has been re-built under extended 75K warranty twice. The warranty has since expired and the tranny is still messed up (with less than 100K). The F-350 was bought to haul a 5th wheel, which it has only had to do two or three times since it was bought NEW and the tranny is garbage. It has never even had to pull at max load. And, yes, we maintain our vehicles, including changing the tires every 50K (all 4 with top of the line brands) whether we feel they need it or not.

Thank you. Good info.

My first Subaru, also bought new, was a certified lemon, a 1986 wagon. The dealer gave me back almost the whole original price when I traded it back in for the 1988, which as I said was a fabulous car and I am depressed beyond words about not having kept it and just done the body work on it. I believe I would still be driving it today. But, that just shows how uterly important it is to keep up with scheduled maintenance and to fight the system when you have a lemon.

Back then, there were no lemon laws as we now know them, but the Subaru dealership in Fairbanks, Alaska, knew I had a lemon and treated me very very fairly…mighta helped that I had a Datsun, by then Nissan, mechanic in the family, but I don’t think so.

Thanks, to all of you for your responses!