This car replaced a beloved 2001 VW Golf GLS 1.8t. I was hoping to find something as fun and comfortable as the VW, but with AWD to get me up our steep Vermont hills in winter in the places where the VW failed to make progress. The Outback Sport has turned out to be much more entertaining than I expected. It doesn't have quite the zip of the VW turbo, but it's plenty fast. The biggest surprise was the excellent steering and handling: quite an improvement over the somewhat squishy VW. The next biggest surprise was the fuel economy; I'm getting 28 on average, and as high as 32 on some off-freeway road trips.
Excellent handling, fairly responsive engine, AWD, decent fuel economy, heated seats, good legroom for tall driver.
As others have noted, the passenger seat is a bit low.
I also miss the telescoping steering wheel and sunroof of my old VW.
The VW also had galvanized steel body panels, so I'm sure the Subaru will rust out sooner.
The external styling isn't quite as clean as the VW, but it's an improvement over the previous generation of Impreza.
However, all of this is nitpicking since this generation is due to be replaced in a few months.
I've had this car a couple years and plan to keep it for a long time. Handles great, comfortable, lots of features, solid, great visibility and performs! It may have "only" 170 Hp, but a very broad power band. This car flies up the Colorado mountain passes. I could easily do 20 over even the steepest grades here, while many cars struggle to hold the speed limit. AWD is extraordinary in the winter, in all but true off road and deep snow(say over a foot) this car does better than my truck. Its economy is rated at 19-22, but I've NEVER been close to that low. I consistently get just under 30 mpg combined driving. I've had it in the mid 30's on the highway.
Performance. Handling. Extremely roomy. Comfortable. Reliable. Well built. Does great in adverse conditions. Great MPG for AWD (I get close to 30mpg consistently, and as high as 37 on the highway).
Styling takes some getting used to. Road noise a little high. Front passenger sits really low, something short people might not like (the driver seat can be raised however).
I've had my Outback for 34000 miles and I'm very, very happy with the purchase. Better than expected mpg's-- 25/30 and better performance than I thought I'd get from the 170 hp. This is my first Subaru, but certainly not my last. If at all possible go with the 5 speed--better performance and much better mpg's than the 4 speed auto. All I've done so far is change the oil. The only downside would be the paint and the radio. They should be able to do much better in the radio despite the low price of the car. I'm glad I went Subi instead of the Mazda 3--especially when there is snow on the ground.
I really like the mpg's for an AWD car. The handling isn't bad for a raised chassis and the 170 hp isn't as sluggish as anticipated. Exterior styling is much better than the competition out there. I like the heated windshield and heated seats-- nice touch for an entry level car.
Need to improve paint quality--chips easily. The stereo is very poor.
This is my 3rd Subaru: 04 WRX (wish I never sold it!), 07 Forester XS, and this car. I'm driving 45,000 miles a year (crazy!) and averaging 30 MPG at usually 70-75 MPH, which is beyond the EPA reading! Cruise control is my friend. Can't beat the AWD in any weather. I HIGHLY recommend any Subaru model to anyone looking for a vehicle. No issues whatsoever with this car. -- If you're car shopping, just take a moment to drive some Subaru's, especially in a downpour or bad weather... I bet you'll be amazed! For comparison, do the same with other brands. This is when you'll notice more about the true feel of a vehicle versus a bright, dry, sunny day.
Manual transmission (auto was too weak); smooth ride (though it was too "washy" until I adjusted to the ride height) after having sports cars; Premium Pkg & lower seats (for the shifting); Body Style; AWD; Because Subaru makes awesome reliable products.
Better paint! I've never had a car's hood chip so easily before. This is my 6th car and even the other Subies didn't chip like this one. Rear hatch rattles. Using tape on the metal ring helps. Sunroof in the Outback version? Better factory roof rails. These are noisy. Diesel? Please?!?!
I bought this car brand-new in September 2008 to replace my 2005 Impreza RS wagon. I love the looks of the new car versus the old - it was long due for a ground-up remodel and they (IMHO) got it right. Upgrading to the outback sport was a no-brainer considering what the package gives you; roof-rack, larger 17" alloy wheels, a far better stereo, 4 wheel disc brakes, upgraded suspension and the very slick VDC. Oh, and you get to say 'Outback' even though it's also an Impreza. :) So Subaru calls it a wagon. Why? It doesn't look or smell or taste like a wagon. With the seats up & even with a mild trip to the market, it can't even stuff like a wagon. Call it what it is. A great little 5 door!
Well thought out interior. Nice two-color paint schemes in this model. Keyless entry. Trunk release on the remote as well. Good stereo. Larger alloy rims are visually well designed. Rubberized pad on the bumper for the 5th door. VDC is amazing in the snow. Hood even stays open all by itself. :)
With the best financing incentives tied closely to in-stock vehicles Subaru should make both the subwoofer & the iPod accessory cable standard equipment. Find a way to get some more engine noise into the cabin - I miss that. Lastly, a one-touch up and down button for the driver window.