1998 Subaru Outback Sport

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Rants

I purchased this car for my wife to learn how to drive.  No, I didn’t marry a child.  She’s from a place where people don’t need to drive.

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It was a completely rust free example from a less than reputable local dealer.  Of course as soon as I drove it off it had a check engine light and multiple small issues, but I didn’t pay much for it and I was prepared to deal with them.

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As I tend to do, I immediately debadged the rear and took the stickers off the sides.  I installed swaybars, adjustable shocks (with stock springs) and taller snow tires for added ground clearance.  Of course I did the obligatory DIY autozone air intake and an APEX’i N1 cat back exhaust.

For the summer, I used BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp tires, which are a solid summer tire for street use.

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For the winter, I chose Firestone Winterforce.  These are studdable which means they have a slightly stiffer sidewall than a standard snow tire, although I never studded them (because a studded tires performs worse on all surfaces other than ice).

I went an entire winter without plowing or shoveling my driveway.

Here’s the thing with Subaru’s AWD system – its schizophrenic.  It understeers on entry, oversteers on exit, and arbitrarily switches between the two during sweepers and transitions.  Now, obviously this car isn’t an autocross (or even a rallycross) car – but the lack of predictability from the AWD system was infuriating in my daily driving.  As you know, flat out – that is how I drive.

The nail in the coffin for this car wasn’t the haphazard handling.  Rather, it was the deplorable build quality.  This thing was built like a tin can.  I simply did not feel safe putting my child in the car – and I’m notoriously cavalier about my children’s safety.

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