2002 Subaru Outback Base Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2002 Subaru Outback - Consumer Reviews

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2002 Outback Consumer Reviews

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Going strong at 74,000 miles
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Laura
on

Vehicle

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


Review

Just started reading about all the bad reviews on the engine head gasket. We have 74,000 miles and have no engine issues so far! We have had minimal wind noise from the window, no big deal! Also brakes wore rather fast and dealer fixed before warranty end. We bought at 12,000 miles so not sure why this car was traded in! So far this is a great little car. Fair miles 21 around town/mixed and 26 on the highway. Awesome in the snow! We have the triple tread assurance tires. Awesome!! This car is great compared to an SUV except it is only a 4 seater. Very hard if not impossible to get more then 2 kids in the back unless you buy the radian carsets which are hard to install/narrow


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Good car, but...
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jim F
on

Vehicle

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


Review

Had this car 5 years & like it. Really like the way it hugs the road & handles curves with low center of gravity due to "pancake engine". 4 cyl engine a little lacking in "get up & go." Love the AWD; I've driven in snow and sand, NEVER put on chains. Interior comfort just OK; still find myself wanting better place to put my elbows while driving. No one wants to ride in middle of back seat. No major mechanical repairs in 5 years, but have had minor oil seepage for last couple years - not enough to drop oil level, but enough to produce burning oil smell from engine & can't find source. CHECK ENGINE & AT OIL TEMP lights keep coming on though no malfunction & no one can figure out why. Annoying.


Favorite Features

All Wheel Drive. Holds good amount of cargo, especially with rear seat folded down. Sporty body styling.


Suggested Improvements

Just a few more inches in width would be nice - and I'm not a big guy. More torque for better acceleration. Wind noise can be annoying.


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My subaru
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By seabeewife
on

Vehicle

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


Review

This is the best car I have ever owned. Handles awesomely in the rain, snow, ice and dry pavement. I can't think of a better car I would want to own.


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Not very reliable
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Dakota Joe
on

Vehicle

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


Review

We purchased our vehicle new in the summer of 2002. Except for a lack of front-seat passenger leg room it is a fairly comfortable car. Performance is good and with good snow tires it is an amazingly good winter/snowy road vehicle. Furthermore, no trim pieces have fallen off or broken and the build quality seems pretty good. Our problem has been with vehicle reliability. We live in rural North Dakota and out here vehicle breakdowns can be downright life threatening. The Outback will leave you on the side of the road and it will leave you there often. During the 4.5 years we’ve had the Subaru it has broken and undriveable at least 10 times.


Favorite Features

Great snowy road performance. Great dealer service. They always fix it.


Suggested Improvements

Improve the quality of the parts. There in no excuse for a ball joint that wears out at 60,000 miles.


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Look elsewhere
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By folledOnce
on

Vehicle

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


Review

At first I thought that dealer(s) were the problem, but car proved me wrong. Everything was a problem. There is no dealer service in NJ and corporate culture is basic arrogance. The car proved to be completely unreliable. I changed oil myself and performed all recommended maintenance, but car started overheating after 38K miles (guess what the warranty period is?). The fact that it was engine overheating and it is theoretically has a warranty for 5 years or 60,000 did not change the fact that I paid for the changing of relays and electrical components on the engine ($400). Brakes: first time changed at 8,000 miles at the dealer. The second time I shelled $400 out of pocket.


Favorite Features

All wheel drive: works OK in a winter.


Suggested Improvements

The paint is vintage '50s: peeled off the bumpers after 18 months. Exhaust: dealer explained that it was stainless steal and should not corrode, which was proof that it was defective. I could not pass inspection with it. Local mechanic soldered it and slapped on an inspection sticker.


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So far, so good
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Sun195
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I've had this car for three years - no problems yet. Performs well in snow/wet weather. AWD is idiot-proof. Hauls a ton of stuff with seats folded down. Decent gas mileage -- 30+mpg on one recent long trip. Comfortable for longer trips. Adequate power for freeway; not too zippy around town. Short enough so that roof rack is easily accessible. I wish I would have got all-weather package w/ heated mirrors. Car has survived two minor accidents fairly well. This is the "Swiss army knife" of cars.


Favorite Features

AWD, cargo capacity, gas mileage, flexibility.


Suggested Improvements

Needs more power, some problems with driver-side window sealing, fog lamps are expensive to replace, cruise control seems odd.


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Excellent car
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jim
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I bought this car for dependable commuting in all (snowy) weather. It is the most sure-footed vehicle I have ever owned. It has averaged 28 mpg or better under all conditions. Visibility is excellent. It is comfortable on long trips as well. This is a convenient and useful vehicle.


Suggested Improvements

Stock wiper blades have poor longevity. The rear bumper tends to collect road sand. 6 cylinder, and hybrid engine options should be offered in the base model Outback.


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3rd and Probably last Outback
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Gary B
on

Vehicle

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


Review

This is the 2nd of three Outbacks I have owned with a head gasket failure. Drivers window does not seal. Engine knocks when cold, acceleration & transmission are sluggish, gas mileage is mediocre. Handling on snowy road not the best. Interior material somewhat cheap.


Favorite Features

AWD, size, appearance, heated seats, wipers, etc.


Suggested Improvements

Improve build quality and materials. Better tires to improve handling on snow covered roads. Improve transmission and gas mileage.


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So long, Subaru
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Tsquared
on

Vehicle

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


Review

This was my second Outback, my first being a '96 5 speed manual I traded for the '02 4 speed automatic. I wish I had held on to my '96. The '02 quality did not seem to be as good and was disappointing. Most recently, the engine sporadically idled poorly or hesitated on acceleration--even on the Interstate. My biggest concern was a leaking head gasket, which is apparently a common problem on 1999-2002 models and there was a recall for some--not all (Google "Outback head gasket"). The "fix" involved adding a conditioner to the coolant to seal the leak. Seems like a stop-gap to me. Between the head gasket and the sporadic acceleration problem I decided to it was time to trade.


Favorite Features

AWD, Winter Package (heated seats, heated mirrors, etc.).


Suggested Improvements

Improve quality. Deal with head gasket problem. Make car wider to accommodate a larger back seat that can handle three child seats.


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2002 Outback Wagon
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jim
on

Vehicle

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


Review

After twenty-six months, this wagon is as much fun to drive as it was when purchased. It is comfortable, economical to operate, and handles wellin any weather and on any surface. Cruising at highway speeds all day is noproblem, but it really stands out duringa major snow storm. We look forward to many more years with this vehicle and will very likely belooking for another Outback Wagon when it's time to trade.


Favorite Features

Choosing one feature over another is nearly impossible. This car was designed with the driver and passengers in mind and provides everything that is needed in a straight forward, clean format.


Suggested Improvements

Heated exterior mirrors and windshield washer fluid de-icer should be standard features rather than options.


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