Yes, this car has been wonderful to drive, however I have struggled with the maintenance end of the car/owner relationship. Since my purchase in March, 2003, I have averaged 9 cents/mi in maint costs since this car came 'into the word' - highlighted by a head gasket replacement in 2005 ($2200) (might as well also do the timing belt at the same time!) Also, I am now after increased fuel economy based on my daily commute, thus feel it is time to part ways.
Sporty-ness, roominess, storage capacity, maintains 'styling' even though now 8 yrs old (Thank- you 'Subbie!).
I had wished the front bumper was a little more resistant to rocks.
My daughter wanted to buy my 2001 Subaru. I told her "over my dead body" and I meant it literally. I have had my share of unreliable transportation over the years, one car's transmission even gave up, when we were driving it out of a showroom. When we went looking for a new car (this car was a demo so it was practically new), my husband (who takes care of our finances) almost didn't buy it. The salesman wasn't ready to budge another 100 dollars off. If we would have walked away from this car, I would have been heart broken. It is now 2008 and I think it has been in the garage maybe 4 times. I can depend on it day after day to get me to work, shopping, wherever. I will never take it for granted.
The fold down seat in the back. I go to flea markets and I sell baskets at craft fairs, I can fit them all in. Keep doing what you are doing Subaru. I stop and ask people if they like their outbacks. So far, everyone raves about how many miles they have on them.
Wonderful car. The boxer 4 has a unique sound and feel. It's a bit thirsty - the best mileage I've gotten is 28 mpg. Build quality is first rate. Suspension is soft enough for comfortable distance driving but firm enough for the twisties. Seats are very comfortable. After all these years that car still cleans up and looks like new. The all wheel drive is very comforting on long trips in poor weather. This is a car that car be driven long distances in great comfort, I've covered 800 miles per day on many occasions.
The build quality is outstanding. It's really fun to drive for a medium size wagon. Lots of room for hauling stuff.
I really wanted the H6 with a manual transmission but settled for the H4. They made the same mistake with the SVX model back in the 90s. I don't know why Subaru can't offer manuals in all their cars, BMW does it.
The Outback was our first "new" car, and we can certainly afford anything. This car has been completely troublefree, aside from the cupholder in the back seat that my kids stepped on (and broke). There is a lingering concern regarding head gaskets with the 2.5 engine. We have had no trouble at all. I do not know what incidence exists for these engines. We have a Subaru fanatic nearby who will change both sides for about $1500. Would I buy again? You bet - in fact, we're shopping right now for a Forester for her, so that I can start driving the '01 Outback - my '91 Loyale has 209k on it, and running fine but a bit of an embarrassment in this neighborhood.
Still some work to do on the "hillholder", but it's a minor irritation.