Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2005 Subaru Legacy GT

In the used car market there is always something out there for what seems to be a real performance bargain. Most of those bargains have some deep dark secret that ties to a manufacturer defect or poor design, (ex early 996 Porsche 911s (99'-01'). The statement "If it is too good to be true it usually is" is accurate in the purest sense. So why should you look for one of these performance bargains? If you're like most people you can only really own one car. That car should be; reliable, easy/cheap to maintain, convenient, winter drivable and FAST!

Every so often there will be cars that don't hold value simply because of their image and associated demographic. This brings me to the deliciously under-valued Subaru Legacy GT (4th gen 05'-09'). The Subaru Legacy GT is one of those anomalies. The car itself has internals common to many perfectly normal and reliable Subaru's and is quite nicely packaged. It is also one of the most attractively styled Subaru's ever, (which I fear says more about how poor most others Subaru's look). So why the lower values? Well first off, they were primarily marketed to the older Subaru enthusiasts and a more mature audience in general. Any performance qualities were due to the shared components from the WRX and not employed by marketing to evoke much of a sporting persona. Secondly the car did share the chassis and many body panels with the Outback station wagon, thus condemning its memory to the "boring" file in most peoples minds. As a performance car in disguise this is shaping up to be quite the sleeper.

What you need to know about the Legacy GT!

The 05-09 Subaru Legacy GT used car values suffer from the immense success of its little brother, the Impreza, but there is no reason for it. The AWD is the Subaru symmetrical system that is an industry standard for capability and reliability. The motor is the same 2.5L boxer block as used in the top of the range Impreza WRX STI. To be reasonable the intake side of the block is equipped with the same turbo and inter-cooler as the slightly tamer WRX combining for a healthy 250hp & 250 ft.lbs of torque. So it's a Subaru with a bit more punch than most Subarus, right? Wrong! The 05' Legacy GT without Leather or a Sunroof would weigh in at an impressive 3300lbs. That is surprisingly light for an AWD car of that size and at 13.2 lbs/hp is lower than anyone would expect from such a politely styled 4-door sedan. Brakes are big and stop the car with great control and as fast as your eye sockets can handle. Sedans rear seats DO NOT fold down as there is a structure between the two seats to stiffen the chassis (wagons offer more convenience). So it's not fast, more of a "quick" car but has a good chassis, seating for five & common internals that should be easy to replace should anything go wrong. It seems like it really has become a deal for the knowledgeable consumer.

But what about the performance enthusiast? Surely the Impreza for grown ups isn't supported by the aftermarket. It's for the mature buyer who has no concern for how fast or how cool his car is. If that's what you're thinking you'd be wrong. While most Legacy GTs available are un-molested (unlike it's Impreza sibling) the common components underneath and worldwide market have let the aftermarket provide for a huge market of Legacy owners with minimal effort. The online community is full of support as Subaru owners in general are the most lively forum participants globally. If you'd like to tinker with your car and improve it to your liking, there are many reasons to buy a Legacy GT. Simple-to-use tuners can boost power to ~275hp without ever opening the hood or reaching for a jack. Because the motors are so common the tunes offered by companies like COBB have been tested on thousands of cars and are reliable (just use the right octane fuel). With that tuner and a $400 down pipe the dial can be safely turned to 11 on the turbo helping the car produce 300hp! Un-modified Legacy GTs are capable of hitting 60 in 5.3 seconds. With minimal modifications as mentioned above they can easily be around 4.8 seconds to 60. Remember this is a car that weighs 20lbs less than a new Impreza STI and 220 lbs less than a 291hp Mitsubishi EVO X GSR. Both of which are comparable vehicles but, if you aren't going to race around a track then Bilstein shocks and Brembro brakes are of diminished value in the pricier cars and simply increase the cost of servicing your daily driver. Consider that the 300hp STI and the 291hp EVO X both cost between $18,000 and $30,000 as used cars and are often abused by the previous owner. A clean elderly owned and well maintained Legacy GT can easily be found as they are the norm. Pricing currently (Aug 2013) for an 05'-09' Legacy GT ranges from $6,500-$15,000. A comparable WRX Impreza would likely be priced higher with less options, less HP and less cargo room! As an example, the 2005 Legacy GT with a 5 speed manual, that I own was purchased one year ago (Aug 2012) for $10,100 from a Subaru dealer with 55,100kms owned by a retired couple in their 70's. How's that for a performance bargain?

The Legacy GT is quite simply one of the best all around used cars available today. It has year-round capabilities, is convenient, reliable, cheap to maintain and with sub-5sec 0-60 it's FAST! What more could an enthusiast ask for?


  1. Thanks a lot for sharing such a nice information. I prefer to read this kind of stuffs and you have nice collections in it. Normally used cars are evaluated through by checking performance of a car, test drive, mileage, interior and exterior design of a car and car's manufacture date. These things are evaluated either by Used Car Evaluation tool or by car experts.

  2. This is very nice blog. The junk car dealers and their customers should have faith in each other for further process of junk car cash.

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