Monday, January 13, 2014

Used Car Review - Subaru Legacy (1996-1999)

Myk Belmonte is giving out our second 90s vehicle feature in the form of a wagon, which now is a bargain nowadays.

1996-1999 Subaru Legacy

Subaru made a reputation of making quirky vehicles which were equipped with all wheel drive and at the same time, sturdy. They look pale, until the SVX coupe came along which prompted the brand to make some changes in the vehicle's design.

The second generation Legacy was available in either sedan (both low and high raised, with the latter called the SUS or Sports Utility Sedan) or wagon (this generation gave birth to the Outback) versions. Sales started in October 7, 1993 in Japan with the rest of the world having it the following year. Do take note that the chassis codes differ by body style: BD for sedans, BG for standard wagons, and BK for flat roof wagon.

April 1996 saw the addition of the Subaru brand by Columbian Motors Corporation and the first model to made available is the BG Legacy. It was the only available vehicle in the regular line-up, with the Impreza WRX being available on an indent order basis. Despite the firm having successfully selling the various Kia, Mazda, and even BMW vehicles, this didn't catch up the buyer's attention. It was discontinued in 2000 with the distribution rights handled to GM Automobiles Pilipinas and with Columbian's financial woes back then. There was only one variant available, the GL.

Value and Costs
For those interested in the Subaru Legacy, prices for a second hand unit falls between P145,000-P265,000. This is one practical wagon from the 90s, especially its Opel rivals face difficulty in sourcing parts. Do we see a 90s bargain here? Read on.

Despite being an old model, parts can be purchased at Motor Image in Greenhills. Regular maintenance can be done there, since they know even the oldest of Subarus. The boxer engine is bulletproof and the vehicle wouldn't give up on you if maintenance is done right. The AWD system may consume a little more gas but will give you stability at the worst situation. Paint fading is common, as with other vehicles done in Columbian's old plant in Bicutan.

Exterior and Interior
Even though this is a wagon, sporty touches such as the trademark frameless windows (water does not enter, definitely a good thing) are done to brighten up a dull vehicle. But overall, this is something that we would not discuss further.

Plastics that were used are very far of Subarus of today. Oddly, the controls for the air-conditioning is positioned above the radio but nevertheless, changing stations or temperature isn't hard since they are easy to reach. For more flicking fun, the knob for the AWD system is located beside the parking brake. Space for both people and cargo is adequate despite the propeller shaft tunnel passing through the middle portion. The rear bench can be folded to accommodate more items that are long in nature.

Only one engine reached Philippine shores in the form of an EJ20 1,994cc carrying 115hp at 5,600rpm and 170Nm at 4,400rpm. Call it conservative (the 626 has 118hp but the engine is fun to drive) but this one is a hoot to drive, that's if you know how to extract the power to enjoy every moment.

Driving Impressions
The standard AWD, less power from the engine, and a long body makes the vehicle something hard to drive for the newbie. With constant practice, driving one is just sisiw (easy).

Want a 90s wagon that is easy to maintain? The Legacy is one great choice. With the added security of AWD, as well as good support for spare parts, owning one is easy.

The Good:
  • Versatile wagon body
  • Tons of room
  • Comfortable
The Bad:
  • Poor interior trim
  • Questionable interior trim
  • AWD not for everyone
The Pick: GL

Engine: 1,994cc EJ20 flat 4 gasoline
Power: 115hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 170Nm @ 4,400rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear dual link strut

Price (New): P1,000,000-P1,100,000
Price (Now): P145,000-P265,000
Rivals: Opel Omega, Opel Vectra
On Sale: 1996-1999

Subaru Greenhills - (02) 727-3687

Photos from

1 comment:

  1. Hi Myk,

    is this model non turbo 96 wagon with EJ20 engine is still ok to buy at this point in time? 2/16/2017?
    saw one for sale for 165k. negotiable!
    just worry the consumption would be greater than a civic EK SIR B16A engine.