It's strange... Looks like a Jeep Cherokee on the outside, feels like Honda on the inside, & drives like a Sherman Tank. The Pros outweigh the Cons, as this is one of the most reliable, safest, & unstoppable vehicles ever made. (Just youtube the words "Outback/Snow/Ice")
The AWD (All Wheel Drive) is an experience in itself. You may wonder why all cars aren't AWD after owning one. It does take a slight knock on the MPG's - but just in case you ever have to pull a Bison up a mountain that has ball bearings rolling down it...except no substitutes.
The boxer engine makes some maintenance challenging. - Overall it's a great value car. It helps that 97% of Subaru cars made 15 years ago are still on the road today. 97%...think about that. Subaru has a reputation for durability. The guy I bought mine from had another with half a million miles. Literally 550,000+ They have a cult-like following, & most people refuse to buy anything else after owning one.
Purchased 2.5L Legacy Outback 10/09 - 156k - w/o inspection. W/in a week $1400 transfer case repair...had no AWD. Wonderful AWD now, BUT has cost $4500 past 2 yrs incl transfer case, timing belt, radiator + bi-mo. repairs. A/C has never worked. Ck eng light on constantly altho turns off by itself several days later. Recently a long-standing misfire issue became full blown problem. Car barely started making noises like a starter problem, shook horribly, probably only running on 1 cylinder. Today, it does start, runs somewhat smoothly, engine sounds odd. Blown engine? Will miss my beloved Outback. R.I.P. Now allocating my Suby repair budget to buy new car.
Such a champ in bad weather! Extremely dependable til recently.
Lived in Colorado mntns. Used studded snows.
Job required driving on treacherous, icy mountain back roads.
Sure footed car never failed me. Co-workers driving 4WD pickups did not fare so well.
Several slipped off the road...although they were very experienced 4WD folks.
I like how the car is solid and suspension isn't "mushy".
Yet the ride is good.
Comfortable car and seats. Interior in perfect cond, no rips, tears.
Dark green paint still glossy.
For a 4 cyl, zippy on major mountain highways, even passing.
Very dependable car til the misfire issue went downhill into a probable blown engine.
Since this was the first year for the Outback, it has many mechanical issues with the 2.5L engine.
My car has had just about all of them, although didn't need to replace head gasket.
It may have already been done since purchased at 156K.
Too bad first year models always seem to be a guinea pig and aren't such reliable cars.
The only improvement I'd suggest is that the mechanical issues be resolved.
I believe Subaru has proven they have with subsequent years.
I have been very satisfied with the performance of this car, even with all the problems it's had in past 2 years.
I live in Maine and needed a car that could withstand our weather. I bought my '96 in December because I had heard good reviews about Subaru's. My dad was unsure about it because he had never worked on a Subaru before, but quickly changed his mind when he drove it in the snow. It doesn't shift very smoothly (for an automatic) anymore and the 2.5 likes the liquids a little more than I prefer. The check engine light has been on since I got the car (the previous owner said it was because of an oil leak) and the gas mileage is comparable to a half ton Dodge pick-up truck, but I still love this car.
Heated seats, mirrors, cruise control, upgraded stereo, and block heater. Subaru dependability with 196,000 miles and no sign of stopping anytime soon. Great in all weather conditions.
After years of owning American made SUVs, and still wanting the roominess and 4wd of one, I settled on this. I am single and have no children, so friends and family thought I was crazy at first, but what a great car it has turned out to be! Am trading it in, 80k miles and no major repairs later, for a much newer Outback tomorrow.
AWD, AWESOME fuel economy, comfortable, even for a guy who is 6'5", 275 lbs.
More power is needed, when loaded down to go to camp for a few days, doesn't have any passing power at all. Trade- off for fuel economy I guess. Drove v8 Explorers before this though.
I've had Subarus because I need a reliable wagon. Few choices in the decadent SUV era. Bought our Outback when our beloved '90 Legacy w/205,000 mi got stolen. Glad we got a '96 5speed, the only 2.2 L Outback ever. Great for camping/biking/ski trips but not so fun in town: too long for many urban parking spots, HUGE turning radius made tight spots even harder, big blind spots in the rear view. Would drive the smaller, nimbler Forester or Impreza if got better mpg (they don't!) and didn't have the troublesome 2.5 L. I'm a skilled winter driver & use winter tires, so I'd even do without AWD for the extra 2 mpg. Subaru's fuel economy will be unacceptable in the future era of $5 gas.
140 hp is plenty. Great shifter. Hill holder. Huge cargo floor. Great ground clearance! Rock solid reliability, maint cost only 6 cents/mi over 4 yrs. (My Jetta wagon has been 22 cents/mi!) Tight as a drum: NO squeaks and rattles even at 150k mark. My Subarus have been even better built than my Hondas.
Tighten up the turning radius. Improve handling w/load. Widen rear view mirror's scope beyond the D-pillars. Outback's mpg is OK for its size, but smaller Subarus should do better! Bring back the 2.2 L! Better mpg, and doesn't have the head gasket problems plaguing ALL 2.5 L Subarus up to present.