2002 Subaru Outback Wagon - Consumer Reviews

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Road Noise
By Carter on 02/15/10 09:21 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

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.
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Avoid this model
By Ridergirl on 06/26/09 16:51 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

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.
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Good, but...
By BT Roseville on 06/08/09 19:24 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

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.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Head Gaskets, Catalytic Converters
By a20366 on 06/08/09 16:23 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

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.
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This is my last Subaru
By Doug on 04/29/09 14:13 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

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.
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Review after having it a few years
By Subaru Tank on 03/07/09 10:36 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I thought I'd provide a review after having the car 6+ years. I have the 2002 Base Model with the All Weather Package. I commute 25 miles to work along a treacherous 2 lane very windy and icy mountain road and so my main concerns when buying a car were safety and all wheel drive. I drove it for 4 years and it was great but I then also bought studded snow tires for the car and it's a tank. Downsides are right in the driver's side of the windshield there's always a streak, no matter which wipers I use. The headlights go out a lot and I've had to replace the brakes more than my past cars. I wish it was a hybrid too. I was getting 24 mpg but in the last year it's dropped to 22.
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Too many problems
By StrictlyMediocre on 02/02/09 08:45 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I have 122,000 on the car. I plan to keep it until 250,000 if it will last. I am on my 4th set of replacement head gaskets (5 sets total). After the dealer did the first 4 HG jobs, I found a mechanic who says "use the turbo head gasket, it will never leak again." Question: why doesn't the dealer do that? Also replaced the pistons at 122K because originals had seized rings and were so noisy I couldn't hear myself think on a cold day. Now using 3rd party pistons as well. Car handles great. Reset the "learning" engine computer for better performance. Wind noise in driver/pass. window can be fixed by squeezing molding together where side mirror is mounted. This will probably be my last Subie.
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Not a reliable engine
By Baxter on 10/17/08 06:42 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

Don't expect this vehicle to last and last. I've had two of these and the first the engine ate itself at 125K. Head gasket blew on the highway. I thought it was a fluke so I bought another. Replaced three head gaskets in this one and the engine ate itself because of a blown head gasket at 175K. Probably spent over $3K on this problem. They go through everything but this engine has a major design flaw with their head gaskets. If your leaking oil REPLACE THE HEAD GASKET! $700 plus repair.
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Wanting to Love My Car
By alyonsd on 05/03/08 14:00 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I did a lot of research and test drove many cars before settling on the Outback. I liked the reputation Subaru had and the smoothness of the ride was very important for me with some medical issues. The Forester was a little too rough. I took great care of it but brakes went at 30K. Trunk cover/shade broke at 60K despite being gentle and not used much. Headgasket went at 90K. Catalytic converter went at 106K. I'm done now with Subaru, as much as I want to believe in them. I spoke with my mechanic about them and he said his experience is that they are either great for you and last, or you end up with one that's not up to par.I'm in the later. Sadly, I think this is my last Subaru.
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Don't think I'll buy another Subaru
By lilrhody on 03/24/08 12:47 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Outback Wagon AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

This vehicle was my first new car (2000 miles on it when purchased). The "all weather package" is sort of a joke. When the icy weather comes it doesn't clear/keep clear the ice from my windshield. The wipers completely don't touch the windshield after spraying fluid. Heated seats are a plus though. Has been leaking oil/coolant since 90,000 miles +/-. I was told I have a head gasket seal that is failing. I'm at 111,000. Oil smell is disappointing when at a light/in park with engine running. Recently had a fuel line leak. Window gaskets are horrendously loud! Front windows only. My husbands 98 Forester had to have the engine replaced at 50,000 miles! I don't know if I'll buy another Subaru.
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