First wind, then engine noise make this car a problem on the highway. The wind noise can be fixed with a fairly simple repair (the frameless windows are at fault). The engine noise, however, is a result of the manual gearbox. The fifth gear has to rev high to allow the cruise control to pull the car uphill. As a result the car revs at 3-4000 rpm at highway speeds and makes a real racket. The raspy, unrefined 4 cyl. doesn't help. It is a deal killer. Other than that, pretty good car. Secure on dirt roads and in snow and fun to drive on both. The exterior is distinctive Subaru and the interior is well executed.
Great in the mush. Nice beige cabin. Distinctive Subaru exterior.
Bad drivetrain. Unrefined and noisy in a raspy way. 6 cyl. fuel econ but 4 cyl. power. Do not get manual transmission. Jerky with rubbery shifter. Wind and engine noise almost unbearable on highway.
My previous car was a Nissan Pathfinder which I finally retired at 308,000 miles. I bought this as a Subaru certified, used, at 60,000 miles, hoping I would get the same performance. Not so. The engine had to be replaced at 90,000, the clutch went at 110,000, as did the entire transmission. Check engine light comes on regularly just like an old friend. The fuel smell inside the car in the cold weather is awful. Wind noise is terrible, and the seats are uncomfortable for long drives, with limited leg room if you are taller than 5'7. Junky plastic parts. This car has cost me $11,000 over the purchase price so far. CS at corporate & dealer rude. Shame on Suby for this sub standard machine.
Heated seats are Nice in cold weather, colors both inside and out are attractive, but the paint doesn't wear well.
Improve reliability. What use is having a car that is advertised as outdoorsy and fun to drive if it is spending more time in the repair shop than on the road?
With the exception of the lack of interior legroom front and rear, wind noise and engine issues, this is a good car ;). I had no problems for the first 30,000 miles. I had an independent dealer replace the coolant and my problems started. A small coolant leak developed. The dealer put in the Subaru coolant conditioner and told me that it should be fixed. A couple of months later, there was a big puff of steam from under the hood. The driver's side head gasket was replaced at less than 60,000 miles. No problems until about 80,000 miles. This time an oil and coolant leak from the passenger side - head gasket and cam seal. Out of warranty and out of luck. Likely my last Subaru.
AWD, heated front seats, side mirrors
Better mileage, more legroom, fix the wind noise (which I was told was fixed in the 2010 model), improve engine quality.
This is the worst car that we have ever owned. We have replaced the head gaskets, catalytic converters and constantly have brake problems - primarily warped rotors. They say we need new valves now. We have taken care of this car and we have 130,000 on it. Subaru obviously has problems which they refuse to stand behind. We would never buy another one and just hope we can sell this one.
I've had many Subarus, and this is my last one. After replacing the head gasket 4 times, I'm done. (The tranny went on another one I still own). These cars don't spend much time in the shop but when they do, it costs me 5-6 car payments. Also, after reviewing options now (in 2009), the OB has not kept pace with other maker's improvements. It's still the same car in 2009 as it was in 2002 with a few different options. Same engine, same power train, same reliability issues until someone proves otherwise. Also, the engine is underpowered for its size.
All wheel drive makes it seem like you are driving on rails. Very secure feeling.
Get rid of the flat four engine. It's outlived its usefulness, IMO.