Having read all of these reviews, I'd have to say that the car isn't being represented in full. For all the prospective buyers, keep in mind that this car requires A LOT of money, regularly. I bought this car a year ago with only 60,000 miles on it. I thought it was a blessing. About 6,000 miles into it, I began to smell burning oil. I brought it into the mechanic and it had some severe oil leaking and axle problems. Apparently oil leaks are only too common among Subarus and this was a major disappointment. I was surely not planning on spending $1000 every six months or so. My mechanic said that hopefully it will go another 12 months before another oil leak happens. Think about it. GOOD LUCK.
The hatchback, and size of the car.
More power, BETTER GAS MILEAGE! It's horrible on mpg. Better overall mechanical reliability. Make them like they used to!
Bought used and added 60,000km in 16 months. Now have 228,000km (Aug '06) and still get GREAT fuel economy - 7.5l/100km on the highway. Really enjoy the road holding and performance. The engine can feel underpowered, but using the 5-speed well will get you around the twists pretty quickly. Very stable at highway speeds. Great commuter car.
I bought this car to replace a 4WD and a very fuel economic Japanese car. It does both well, but obviously compromises come from both. Good fuel economy in the Impreza, but the AWD and 2.2 hinder it a bit. I'd rather have AWD and extra power than 2 extra miles per gallon. I average 24-28 or so. On regular gas, the 28 was highway miles at about 75mph avg and the tires aired up to about 34psi (fully loaded with gear mind you). The 24-26 mpg is combined city/highway driving with the tires at a bit more "cushy" 30psi. I've owned this car for 12,000 miles and have had it 8 months. The first week I did a 2500 mile road trip, the car was a blessing.
I'm too tall to sleep in the back with the seats down so this car, like my last (1991 Sentra), is very sleepable with the passenger seat laid all the way back. I also like the auto headlights that turn off when the ignition is turned off. Finally I love the ease of working under the hood (tons of room!).
I wish the back seats folded flat; that the car was available with a sunroof, and the factory roof rack didn't seem like an afterthought. The factory racks on Legacy Outbacks are much easier to add aftermarket components to. Standard limited slip differentials would be nice, as would a full size spare tire.
Had very good luck with my Outback Sport purchased new. Had to replace the rack and pinion and other minor repairs. Suggestion -- do not let anyone but dealer replace timing chain. Having trouble with vibration at idle last 10K that I don't like. Do not like the antilock brakes, they come on if braking and I go over a bump in the road, also come on at low speed hard braking where locking brakes would work better. Other than that, very reliable, fun to drive.
In the poem "The 100-Year Shay," a legendary horse-drawn sled performs perfectly for a century, then disintegrates. Similarly, my Outback Sport performed flawlessly for 100K miles, then required replacement of ALL the major seals, the steering rack, and cam cover caps, repainting and clearcoating of the hood scoop and vents, in addition to the normal 100K service, to the tune of $2650, half the Edmunds private-party resale value. Shame on Subaru.
Handling on curves, ventilation system - A/C is great!
A cooler-running engine, seals that need staggered replacement, better gas mileage (23-25 combined city/hwy).