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Are legacy gt's good first cars?

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So I am 16 looking to buy my first used car. I have been looking for awhile now and found a 97 subaru legacy gt (sedan). The car has 183kms and looks to be taken care of. So just educate me on the car, how is performence, reliability, insurance cost, all those basic things you should know before buying a car. And secondly, do these cars look nice, it's hard to tell from the pictures and if they do not look that nice how is the aftermarket on them?



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In my experience, insurance is pretty cheap, as compared to that of typical cars driven by the elderly. Again in my experiences, Subaru's are reliable but temperamental, they frequently have bizarre issues if everything isn't just right. The good news is that they are a dime a dozen and parts are plentiful and cheap so repairs are usually cheap and easy. There are a fair bit of aftermarket stuff for that motor but not a whole lot of love goes to the N/A Subarus. For a good car you'll pay between $3k-4.5K and I wouldn't buy anything over 200k unless it's had a motor/trans rebuild or replacement but that's just my preference.
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For a first car, you may want to look at an L model also... I had a 1998 legacy L sedan and it was a GREAT daily driver. Took it from columbus OH to Pittsburgh, Chicago, Virginia, DC, etc never a single issue. I did do every preventative maintenance I could think of when I bought it used with 150,000 miles and didnt need anything out of the ordinary when I sold it to a friend with 190,000 on it.


insurance was cheap (I did liability only though). performance was not an expectation, being a N/A 2.2L ... but it was a really reliable car that gave me an average of 28mpg over the time I owned it.


I think this generation of legacys look nice, but thats a taste thing that differs from one person to the next. Here is a pic of mine from back in 2011:



Good luck with your search, and you're doing the right thing reading and researching before jumping into a purchase. Post up what you find and end up getting (even if it isnt a legacy... I wont be too sad... ) :)

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HI and Welcome,

The '96-'98 Legacy GT were OK cars and could be good 1st car.

- they all have the EJ25D -2.5 liter, 4 cylinder engine - that has Head Gasket (HG) issues. If they've not been done, they likely WILL need done before much longer - usually 200,000 KMs / 125,000 miles. If the owner states it was done, they MUST have PROOF or assume they'are not done. Costs $1500+ in the US.

- The valves in the cylinder heads need adj. @ 180,000kms, as well as it's due for a full timing belt, waterpump, pulleys, etc. service.

- They're not fast/quick but will get out of their own way and insurance should be reasonable.

- If you're buying it for aftermarket - keep looking for something more common. Plus, this is almost 20 years old, so not much out there.

- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; go check it out, drive it and then decide.

- Do you have a Carfax or Autocheck in Canada? If so, verify its history. More than 3 owners gets scary as you never know if one (or ALL) of them 'drove it like they stole it' and maintenance wasn't done.


REMEMBER - you're buying a USED car - somebody else no longer wants for whatever reason. Expect some repairs, so don't spend ALL your $$ on the car - keep some in reserve for maintenance and repairs.



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I had a '99 GT Limited, pretty identical to the '98. The way it looks in the pictures you linked to is the way it looks in real life. I loved the look, but as wtdash said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer cars with straightish lines as opposed to the used bar of soap look of the 5th and 6th generation Legacy.


I thought it handled well, and it had enough power for me. I pulled a 5x8 U-Haul trailer from New Mexico to Oregon with it, and except for a few places in the Rockies, didn't feel like it was being slowed down too much.


I traded it in 2010 with 185k miles (297k kilometers) on it, still tight and everything worked. It required a clutch and clutch master cylinder at 135k miles, and head gaskets and a timing belt at 165k miles. Other than that, all it needed was regular maintenance.


If the car you're looking at is as described in the writeup, I'd say it's a likely candidate for a test drive and maybe have a mechanic look it over. Having maintenance records back to day 1, plus a new clutch, head gaskets, timing belt, brakes, shocks all corners, and tires sounds pretty much like it ought to be good for at least a few more miles. At 183k kilometers, it's just getting broken in.


Based on the age, and the fact that it's a Subaru, I think the insurance cost will be determined more by the driver than by the car. It's not exactly a sports car, and isn't costing very much to begin with.


I think you'd enjoy the car, and I'd suggest leaving it pretty much stock based on age and the availability (or lack thereof) of aftermarket farkles.

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Yes they are perfect first cars! My first car was a 1995 subaru legacy LSi. It had almost 250k when I got it and lasted me for a year and a half. Theyre really nice to work on if youre learning. pretty easy. I learned a lot about working on subarus from that car.


My current car is a 1997 subaru legacy gt sedan. i got it with 140k on the clock. and after about 8 months or so i blew head gaskets and decided to swap in a 1996 2.2 engine instead of a 2.5 because the 2.5's are known for blowing head gaskets. the swap had about 120k and its running perfectly now. absolutely love the car and have a lot of plans for it in the near future.

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This ad shows some of the maint. stuff a twenty year old car requires...

I would suggest if you don't need awd a Lexus is300 or any other Toy, Lex, Honda. Acura etc. my buddies and I call them 'appliance' cars.


Any car will require maintenance.

I will also suggest for knowledge to take an auto shop class, and research some cars that are in your price range...by research I mean read every website you can find about two or three particular models.


Lastly talk to your uncles and friends who have mechanical knowledge.

And never forget, if the deal looks too good to be true, it likely is.


Good luck!





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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