I have had this car for many years and it has been a great car. Sure it is underpowered compared to new cars out there but the Fuel eco is pretty good. Handles great in the snow. Now has 112K and had to replace a leaking header but thats expected with this many miles. Comfort is good and I have taken this thing on some pretty hairy dirt roads and it really does well. The look of the car really seems like its timeless.
I purchased this car used in September '09 with approximately 41,000 miles. Since then I've driven 10,000 miles in different conditions, including ice and mud, and I've found this to be a solid and reliable vehicle. It has the four cylinder engine. I get 23 to 24 mpg with 50% highway and 50% in town. I admit that I'm not an aggressive driver. Most others would probably get a lower gas mileage reading. The suspension is very much like an SUV when traveling off-road or over rough pavement. The all wheel drive gives a secure feeling when the roads are slick. I can see why Subarus are popular in northern states.
I like the simplistic design of dashboard (stereo, air conditioning, etc.), the long travel suspension, all wheel drive and the ability to fold the rear seats into a deck that is completely flat.
Much of the improvements that I can think of have been made to the later models. For instance, I wish I could lay one side of the rear seat flat. I cannot due to the lower seat cushion being a solid piece.
This car was great in SLC where we bought it, but as soon as we headed east in 2008 the trouble all started. 85000 miles & middle of Iowa and catalytic converter blew and needed replaced. Which we just replaced AGAIN a week ago due to check engine light. The car has 112,000 miles and has had 2 catalytic converters, knock sensor, 2 O2 sensors, and a cracked valve repaired all this to the tune of about $8000 in 18 months. Our Toyota Corolla from 1992 runs better than this car. We bought it based on the great ratings of 200000 or more miles... this won't make it! Back to a Toyota owner after this experience.
Better emissions system!!! Less road noise when driving on the highway.
We bought our 2000 Subaru Outback Wagon as second owners over 4 years ago & the engine has slowing been declining since then. Great looks and reputation, but I wish we had researched the engine a little more. Head gaskets are known for blowing at under 100k miles on these Subarus, and our was no exception. The front sway bar also sheared off. Never had this problem with my Toyota or Hondas in the past. We also had an oil analysis performed by Blackstone Laboratories three years ago. Their results came in good, but that was before the gasket blew. We maintained the engine regularly with a new belt, synthetic oil, new plugs & filter.
Sleek style, sporty drive, AWD. Upholstery and paint held up well. Runs quiet on synthetic oil.
Research these motors; they will blow head gaskets soon, even though properly maintained. Needs better gas mileage & factory willingness to fix a defective sway bar design. More room for people over 6' in height.
I highly recommend this car to anyone who regularly drives in not so good road conditions. This car was my first real purchase at age 18 and I love every second with it. With the winter weather conditions of 8 feet of snow in Southern Oregon, this car has had no problem it it. It is comfortable in long road trips and very reliable. Nothing has gone wrong with it (knock on wood) but even if something does, the performance I've had so far already makes up for any future errors. It doesn't get the best mileage, although for all wheel drive it's pretty good. I love my Subaru Outback and wouldn't make a trade for anything.
All wheel drive, heated seats, sound system, reliability, spacious cargo, heater/ac works great and easy access to anything mechanical.