Tuesday, January 27, 2015

10k: Wedding Cake: 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Wagon

The Subaru Legacy was a wild all-wheel-drive family car available with a twin-turbocharged setup in Japan, but pre-2005, US customers had to live with anemic flat-4 power.  That all changed in 2005 with the introduction of the 4th generation model that was almost as hopped up on performance enhancers as Subaru's new spokesman Lance Armstrong, whose nuanced denial of doping rivaled ex-President Clinton's discussion of what the meaning of the word "is" is.  Doping Joking aside, you've have to be a dope not to want to pickup this 2005 Subaru Legacy GT offered for $12,000 on nasioc forums, located in Durham, NC.

The 4th generation Legacy was well received by the press and public alike, and sold in decent numbers from 2005 to 2009.  Even with a high MSRP (for a Subaru) a significant number were sold with manual gearboxes.

The 2.5 GT badge on the back means this Legacy is powered by a 2.5 liter version of the EJ25 flat-4 borrowed from the USDM Impreza WRX STI.  The Legacy version uses a smaller turbo and different tuning to push out 250 horsepower and 250 ft-lbs of torque.  The turbo wagon even maintains a 2700 lb towing capacity should you need to augment the ample interior storage capacity.

The Legacy uses the same hard plastics you will find in most Japanese economy cars from the early-mid oughts, but the cloth seats will look nicer longer than leather found in premium cars.  The only place you might find some wear is on the touch surfaces (steering wheel, shifter, window buttons), but otherwise the 10 year old interior should look like new.

See a better $10k turbocharged wagon? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Saw one the other day and thought I haven't seen one featured on DT. Looked on my local CL and no joy.

  2. Yes.


  3. I almost bought one of these 2.5GTs also. Hard to find a low mileage nice one that hasn't been ruined. The issue with these is the oil inlet tubing to the turbo--a small screen can get clogged around 75K-100K miles, starving the turbo of oil, and grenading the engine. This is common. There is a fix, however a lot of people just take out the screen to prevent the clogging...but that is not the right thing to do.

    I ended up instead buying the exact car pictured above--a 2006 Volvo V50 T5 AWD. Just as quick, more reliable, handles as good, AWD, looks cool, luxury interior...its a great car.

    1. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 27, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      The V50's a cool car, no doubt, but I'm not sure about "just as quick". Most car mag 0-60 tests of the day that I recall showed the Volvo about where you'd expect, in the upper 6 second range, whereas the LGT was a legitimate sleeper, with most results in the low to mid 5 second range. That's a noticeable difference to most people's butt dyno. As for reliable---my wife had an Outback XT as a company car.....for 90,000 miles, it was flawless, and then the problems quickly mounted.

    2. I've done not one but two LGT wagons from new, one 5EAT (electronically controlled auto trans - wife's car), and one 5MT (mine). I can concur with FTB's assessment of the mechanically identical OBXT. 90k miles are basically the life expectancy of these cars mechanically, earlier if you live in a snowy state. We lived in Ft McCoy, WI for the first 4 years of the life of the 5eat car and despite weekly undercarriage baths in the winter, the rear wheel arches were bubbling, as were the windshield corners where they meet the roof.

      At 93k the 5mt car needed head gaskets, at 101k the 5EAT needed "tumble generator valves". At 103k the 5mt car developed a cold weather fuel leak, at 110k the 5mt car blew up its stock TMIC, at 111k the 5mt car needed its 2nd set of wheel bearings. At 117k the rings on the 5mt car were shot and it needed a rebuild. At 120k I offloaded the 5mt car to a subaru master tech who replaced the engine, at 120k I offloaded the 5eat car to a carmax and ran like hell.

      Wheel bearings go every 50k miles like clockwork. We did a ~100mi / day commute for a while with each of these cars, all highway, and I had a garage-full of wheel bearings just in case. And don't get me started on the turbo oil feed banjo filter...

      Re: "ample" storage capacity. The taper / rake of the greenhouse aft of the C pillar means that capacity is quite limited compared to other wagons and even my non-wagon Volvo S70. A 36" x 24" box will barely fit with the hatch closed and rear seats upright, and then it will be dangerously close to the rear glass. And you'll be stuck with basically unusable areas on each side of the box where nothing else will fit.

      All in all, though it's stylish, the angle at which the roof tapers on the sides and in the back makes it less useful than a similarly sized wagon.

      I sold both for $6k each and feel like I got away with murder. Run, don't walk away from these things. $12k is crack-pipe allll day long for something that's great on paper but less than great in person.


    3. Nice Ryan. Some solid information. My Mom has a forester with 80k on it. I am always amazed when I have to drive it just how beat it is. The doors sound like a tin can, horrible road noise, and she has had lots of maintenance problems. I like Subarus, I just don't think they age well.

  4. Not better, not AWD and stretching the definition of wagon, but interesting nonetheless.








    1. ...other than the ones that are obviously AWD, of course.

    2. All turbos, tho...

    3. Ah, a 9-5 in its natural habitat - immobile, unregistered and with a large damp spot on the pavement emanating from underneath (despite all of that hate, I do very much want a 5MT 9-5 aero wagon).

    4. Out of all of the cars you posted K2 - I would have to rock the Pig-out. Put my bicycles on the roof and paint it like a team support car.

  5. It's got frameless door glass, which is probably the first reason why I don't own one. I think even a Tesla Model S is going to rattle like crap after 100K.

    Have had Subaru-owning friends who love them, got Subaru-owning friends who ended up hating them.

    Me, they're tempting but not quite there yet. As for the Volvos, that company more or less ceased to exist for me when they went DAF and gave up on RWD, before Ford bought them, and long before they got sold off to the Chinese. I've driven some recent products, some nice interiors, didn't much care for them otherwise.

    1. They rattled like crap with the windows down shutting the door or hitting a bump from day one. Bonus, after the first winter the door drains got clogged and whenever we rolled the windows down that following spring/summer, the musty odor of mold and mildew made its presence known immediately throughout the cabin. Dealer said "huh?" and didn't do anything. Had to pull the door cards, remove the tape on the 2x other door drains not in use (for some reason) and use 1/2 a spray bottle of diluted bleach per door on the front doors only. Had to repeat every 2 years for the life of the car.

  6. No Acura NSX for you, then!

  7. I am just amazed to see one for sale that hasn't exploded yet.

  8. Another turbo wagon that can be had at $10K or less:


    On another note, I've been having a long discussion online (somewhere else) about whether or not Subaru, unlike just about every other manufacturer, has ever produced a pretty, beautiful car. I contend that no, they haven't. Yes, they've produced designs that could be described as spunky, utilitarian, interesting, futuristic, racy, sporty, funky, cheerful or any other number of adjectives. But not pretty or beautiful. Never. The closest I ever got to thinking a Subaru was actually pretty was...


    1. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 28, 2015 at 6:49 AM

      The B11S concept might not be beautiful, but it's pretty. It raises another point though about Subaru....they do one of the worst jobs of any carmaker in translating the positive attributes of their concept cars into their production variants.


    2. Granted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I don't believe the B11S is pretty in any way, but that's just me! It's all wrong in just abut every way. But you're right, Fleetwood, in that Subaru seems incapable or unwilling to produce particularly attractive vehicles. There is absolutely no reason for it. If they don't have the talent in-house, then they should hire out. Meanwhile, I'm still searching for a pretty or beautiful Subaru (that isn't a concept)...other than that lovely airplane, of course.

    3. K2 -- No love for the BRZ? I think it qualifies as a pretty car....but is it a Subaru or Toyota?

      What about the SVX?

    4. Does this platform support a width attribute for embedded image tags? Not slamming the above images, just curious. Something like (img tag) "image URL goes here" width="400" (close img tag)

    5. Gianni,
      To be honest, I don't believe it does, but lets give it the old college try...

      [img]http://www.carthrottle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/subaru-svx-6.jpg width="400" [/img]

  9. Unfortunately, nope to both the BRZ and the SVX, though I love both to tell you the truth. The SVX is beyond discussion (nobody could get past the window treatment, for better or worse) and it appears that the BRZ design did not meet its' potential, Toy-baru or otherwise. I forget who it was, but I read that one of the designers said that it ended up being half-baked. It could have been great, but missed it by that much. Like I said, I like it. But I think it falls more in the "spunky" category than beautiful.

    This is what I'm talking about. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder...




    Granted, these cars were in a different price bracket. But a beautiful design doesn't cost much more than an ugly one to produce.

    1. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 28, 2015 at 12:39 PM

      Fair engough, and in line with the "eye of the beholder", out of all the beautiful Alfas ever made, I thought you picked a homely one, so c'est la vie. I gotta say though, making the E-type your litmus test for beautiful is a lofty standard indeed. It's a bit like the guy who ends up single his whole life because he's holding out for a supermodel. ;-)

    2. That's a logic impossible to argue with. The cars I posted above are generally accepted as some of the most beautiful cars ever produced. I didn't randomly pick them according to my own personal taste. They're in museums as permanent examples, which is a sign that it might be true.

      Subarus have also been featured in museums, it's true. But most often as examples of Japanese vehicles of the moment, not icons of style. I'm not knocking Subarus, by the way. I'm just making an observation about their designs historically. Pretty and beautiful don't necessarily sell cars or even make them any good. All three of the cars above are absolutely dreadful to maintain and nobody would argue with that.

      I like Subarus, personally. We've only had one and it wasn't the most Impreza car we ever had (ha ha!). The AWD bound up so bad when you turned the corner that my wife could barely drive it. Could we have fixed it? Yes, but we needed a larger car at the time and got rid of it instead.

      Though I get it, I worry about blind Subaru worship. In comparison to other manufacturers, their quality is rather poor. They don't get good ratings on surveys like JD Powers and they don't seem to be getting any better at it. Even the Koreans kick their butts in that regard. I hope Subaru gets its act together quickly, because that surely cannot help their bottom line in the future. They need to outlive their "granola" image and get to selling lots of cars or they're gonna join Isuzu and Suzuki in the "Hey, remember those cars?" category.

    3. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 29, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      I could take or leave Subarus....like I mentioned above, my wife had a last gen Outback, and it was a fantastic car, but unfortunately it was made to be a disposable car. It was a company car, and were here company not paying for it, I wouldn't have bought it for us, just because I just don't spend my money on cars with an overabundance of built-in obsolescence. I was just bringing up Subarus because that's what started the conversation, and I can usually find some beauty in some odd places (like that concept car) even if it isn't easy.

      Just for fun, I'll list a few of my personal automotive beauty icons that are a bit more from the modern era. (The first two of which, were actually in the Louvre.) Apologies to anyone who couldn't care less and just wanted to comment on a subaru wagon. :-)


    4. I doubt anybody will mind, as they don't seem interested in joining this particular discussion. Besides, it's already almost so buried on DT that nobody will bother. That's a little problem with DT posting so much; folks that don't come to the site in a timely manner are left behind. Even the email is too late for a lot of the discussions, much less the "What is it?" features.

      It's interesting that you picked the 6 and the CSL. While the 6 is nice and the CSL fabulous, I think for a lot of enthusiasts, it's hard to get anything better than Goertz's 507.


      Funny that you brought up Land Rover. I was just thinking about how that's another company seemingly and arguably unconcerned about prettiness and beauty, the Evoque notwithstanding. The Range Rover is featured for its design because it created the luxury SUV segment, not for its timeless gorgeousness.

      I'd agree that the 288 GTO is a good example, but then you really have your pick with Ferrari, don't you? But can you really compare it to the lines of the 275? Depends on your tastes, I will admit.


      The Maserati is a car I want to love. It is a stunning car. Only time will tell if their current designs stand the test of time. I think they will. But, honestly, which is more beautiful - the GranTurismo or the 3500 GT Spyder? I'm not talking about how it is to drive or own (it seems that no Maserati is particularly great to own), I'm talking about pure, aesthetic beauty? Of all the cars we've discussed thus far, this one is probably the hardest to choose.


  10. Turbo almost-wagon for <10k?

  11. We picked up a GT wagon auto recently and it's an amazing car. It had a few minor trim issues, and the turbo baked a few gaskets, just typical stuff that happens after 10 years. It's power is amazing, even faster than the BMW 540it we used to have. Very much a sleeper.

    1. Ian - I had a dissertation prepared much like the pedantic rants I've posted elsewhere on the topic but it's probably stuff you already know about (turbo oil feed banjo filter, auto trans valve body mod, 3250 mile oil change interval, wheel bearings, rust, etc).

      Enjoy your car, drive it like you stole it, and replace it when you hit 120-150k miles. When these things run right, they are an absolute hoot. And in my opinion they're one of the best looking Subaru products ever.

  12. RyanM's comments on this post are the perfect evidence to support my theorem that Volvo 245 is always the answer. If you want to go really anachronistic then get a pre-'85 Turbo K-jet model.

    Me, I'm plowing through a few other projects so I can stick a twin-turbo V8 into this old diesel war horse.


    1. Brother, I could write a book on the Legacy GT / OBXT problems I've encountered. But the reason I stayed in that abusive relationship and kept coming back for more was the fact that they were AWD, turbo, ridiculously fast, safe, stylish, fuel efficient (JUST KIDDING) station wagons. The payoff to the busted knuckles and $2000 dealer visits twice a year (X2) was having a station wagon that made most sports cars of its day look silly. Now, you can get a V6 Accord that will leave even a modified LGT/OBXT in the dust and get 30mpg while doing it.

      CAN NOT WAIT to see what you do with that 245. Please promise you won't do anything to the body... heh heh.

    2. If I do anything to the body, it will be a flat hood / single 7" round headlight setup. And it would need a bit of bodywork and a respray to be show-worthy. Currently it's perfect for a driver. Regardless, I'm keeping it in the current shade of medium blue.

      Already upgraded to 1993 245 seats and have the rest of the late-model interior ready to go in when I strip the car down.

      I found it in Olympia, Washington and drove it back to LA with a friend. Epic (but slow) road trip.

      My concept for the car is more of a "GT" wagon. Plenty of effortless power, manual trans, comfy interior, AC, nice stereo, etc. Long haul road trip machine. Like a '60s - '70s American cruiser resto-mod but using a 245 as the base vehicle.

      I know it's a tease for now but I promise I'll start doing writeups here on DT as soon as I get "stuck in" on the project.

  13. To be fair to Subaru, here are some numbers at you; the company is now the tenth largest car maker in America and outsells GMC, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW-Mini and Mercedes-Benz. They sold more than 500,000 cars in 2014 and aim at continuing their 20-percent sales increases. Source: Motor Trend, March 2015

    In comparison, Chinese-owned Volvo sold 56,366, Indian-owned Jaguar sold 15,773 and Toyota/Lexus/Scion sold nearly 2,374,000.


  14. I've enjoyed my conversation here on DT with Fleetwood and it got me to thinking...can a relatively cheap, newer (since 2010, say and sold in North America in large numbers) car be pretty? I'm talking cars that are under $50K MSRP. Given that our thoughts and opinions are only worth whatever we and whomever reads them decide their worth, what do you think?

    My mind always go to the second generation Ford Fusion. It's completely derivative of Aston, but golly they did a good job.


    The new Mustang also comes to mind, but it's more purposeful than pretty. The cheaper Audis are as pretty as ever, but feel stale to me. We've been there before - for the past 20 years, in fact. The new Mazda design direction works wonderfully on the new 6, maybe less so on other models.


    1. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 30, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      And to answer your question, if you'll spot me an additional $2500 or so for the MSRP, I think the current-gen Cayman is quite pretty, which is ironic considering how awkward I thought the first generation looked. Also coming out of left field, I think the Range Rover Evoque is quite an attractive design. The 428i Gran Coupe is more of what I'd call a "handsome" design, if that makes sense....a little too Teutonic and hard-edged to be "beautiful", but certainly nice to look at.


  15. You are spot-on with the current Mazda language, k2. For me, the mazda3 plays doppelgänger to Alfas most ideal modern iterations; except better because, you know, they actually run and drive nearly 100% of the time. I would be a happy commuter in a manny 3, in red of course, rowing the stick 2x as often as necessary because it's Just. That. Sweet.

    1. Mazda does seem to be on a roll lately. Which begs the question why Subaru can't do the same with their designs. It seems to me that they're so wrapped up in their rally-n-granola (sorry if that irritates anyone) image that they forget that attractive cars sell. They don't even have an "image" car (for example, the Viper). They can't possibly think it's the WRX...can they? I'm not saying it isn't a cool car, it just isn't pretty in any way. Nor is it intended to be, clearly.

      Still, what the heck do I know; they're obviously doing well! But for the sake of everybody's eyes, please spend ten bucks on some better design...go talk to Pininfarina or something.


    2. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 30, 2015 at 8:07 AM

      K2, one thing I was thinking of as I looked at your initial examples was that those cars couldn't exist today. Thin A-pillars, low noses, hoods that are only high enough to just clear the engine, taut bodies without chunky underlying crash structures-----------all styling elements that have been legislated out of existence. None of your choices could exist today, and of mine, only the Maserati could (and you KNOW they would have made that nose even lower and prettier if they could have). In short, I think we're forced to change our internal definition of what defines modern automotive beauty.

    3. I have a tendency to agree with you wholeheartedly, Fleetwood. That's why I find this recent quote by John Norman regarding the 2016 Acura NSX so interesting.

      "The original NSX revolutionized the packaging for the sports car industry. We had to make sure to keep that. We tried as hard as we could to keep the instrument panel low, to keep the cowl low. We worked on how to get the view out of the car as good as possible. We were able to shrink the A-pillars and still get airbags in them."


      So, I think there's hope one these issues that technology can and will solve. I believe the current pillbox designs are nothing more than that...style. To me, that's been popularized lately by Fiat/Chrysler and mimicked by other brands. You or somebody else may be able to be more precise with that, but that's what comes quickly to my mind. Or maybe it was GM, I can't remember.



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