Author Topic: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?  (Read 2366 times)

jaye_p

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Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« on: September 06, 2015, 12:05:34 PM »
Anyone have any experience with these for, say, model years 1997-1999?  I've been advised against them on a Subaru owners forum, but possibly because no-one there could understand why I'd be looking for such an old car.  So I figured I'd ask a Mustachian, for whom such a purchase is more normal.

Alternatively, what other car could hold 5 grownups, a couple of kayaks, four bikes, and enough camping gear for a week?  SUVs need not apply.

jaye_p

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Re: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 02:28:20 PM »
I've found my own answer to my question.  For $600 I can buy and install hitches for our (purchased used, long ago paid off) compact & subcompact cars, as well as two four-bike hitch-mounted racks, and an additional Malone Handirack and ratcheting tie-downs to attach the kayaks to the second vehicle (I have one Handirack already).  As long as we're willing to drive two vehicles when we go camping, problem solved - and for way cheaper than buying a new used car!

abiteveryday

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Re: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2015, 09:01:23 AM »
Glad you found a solution, but I'll still answer the original question.   I had a 99 outback, and while functionally it was a great car, it always needed something.   Never huge dollar amounts, but a couple hundred here and there.   AWD was nice, but not worth the fuel economy hit.     All told, I've been much happier with Ford Focus that replaced it.

Goldielocks

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Re: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2015, 10:17:00 AM »
Subarus tend to have expensive repairs for older cars.  I was also aggressively looking at them, but we ended up with a Toyota for our needs.

It appears that by 200,000 km, there are quite a few $2k+ bills for subaru owners.   They are fantastic in the first 8 years of life before that, then pfftt.

AllieVaulter

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Re: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 10:41:24 AM »
I have a 2000 Subaru Outback, we've had it for almost 4 years.  We haven't had many repairs, but there was a head gasket issue ($1k?).  It hasn't seemed bad to me, but I've only ever owned two cars, the other was a '95 Dodge Dynasty.  I don't actually know what's normal. 

I do love the hatchback, we can pack so much stuff in there.  We installed a hitch on ours so we can use a hitch bike rack.  But we've also put the seats down and thrown bikes in the back before too.  You can even get a person in the back seat with a bike in the back.  But all of these things might also be true in other styles of hatchback. 

RWD

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Re: Late 90s model Subaru Outback? Or alternative?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 11:38:19 AM »
I think the head gaskets were the main weak point with the older Subarus. Though my family has owned five Subarus (three of which were the late-90s style Legacy/Outback) and none have ever had head gasket issues.

One of the five was a 1998 Subaru Outback which my dad purchased new. I learned how to drive a manual in that car. I can't recall it ever giving us any trouble (though that is to be expected of a new car).