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.
AWD, lots of cargo room, very comfortable seats in front and back, very practical. Downside is that it is practical and not very exciting.
Get rid of the streaking on the driver's side windshield. My mom bought a new 2007 Forester and it does the same thing. I even bought $50 Bosch windshield wipers and it didn't help, took it to the dealer, etc. Also secure the headlights so the bulbs don't go out so often. Make it a hybrid.
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.
4WD. Handles well in all conditions, when you have the right tires.
Make the engine more reliable. The pancake design is lousy for reliability, but good for low center-of- gravity. There ought to be a way to get the best of both worlds.
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.
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.
Nice ride, decent mileage, good in the snow, storage aspect. Great for active people.
Reliability and parts. I've had to put too much money into it. I had planned on keeping it to 200K but it's not worth it with my particular car. Good luck with yours! My fingers are crossed!
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.
Heated seats. Runs great in the snow.
Leaky engine problems bad and costly. Window gaskets loud-pricy replacement. $400 to replace.