Brakes go bad very fast, probably rotors are not big enough for the car, the 2.5 Ltr engine is a bored out 2.0 engine and I think that is the reason for damaged head gaskets. Check for compression regularly, and change the oil as well as keep some antifreeze on hand. People do get 250,000 miles out of these, although Subaru made their mark with the slightly smaller engine.
Go anywhere at any time, snow means nothing
Suubaru should have offered a special deal on the head gasket or figured out a fix - I think the rotors should be made bigger, and possibly the cooling system made bigger.
I have had my 1998 Subaru Outback for almost 10 years and 235,000 miles. It has been an excellent, dependable car. I have just been rear-ended for the 3rd time. I am afraid the insurance company will total it. I enjoyed this car because it was very dependable (it never broke down on me), good gas mileage (over 25 mpg), four wheel drive, and carrying space. My only complaint is the front seats were not very comfortable for long trips.
This car is still mistaken for a newer car by friends, it is still solid and rides like new. Minimal problems in the last nine years. It has been 100% reliable, never any major problems. Goes through any snow or mud with ease. ABS system works great. Would buy another one and will. 139,000 miles so far.
AWD, sunroofs, cargo net and tray, smooth engine, reliability.
More hp, which has been rectified, and better gas mileage, which is a challenge, I know.