2003 Subaru Outback Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Subaru Outback

How do you feel about these results?

Anything else you'd like to add? We're listening.

Contact Me No Thanks
Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 165 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Subaru Outback

  • A versatile alternative to mainstream wagons and crossover SUVs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    The security of all-wheel drive, comfortable on pavement, capable on dirt, well-appointed interior.

  • Cons

    Not as capable as an SUV in terms of pure off-road capability or interior volume, four-cylinder models lack verve, upscale models are expensive.

  • What's New for 2003

    Only minor changes have been made to the 2003 Subaru Outback. All models have freshened front-end styling and revised front struts. The struts feature internal rebound springs that are said to reduce body roll when cornering, as well as brake dive. In terms of features, the four-cylinder powered Outbacks gain the formerly optional All-Weather Package as standard equipment. The base Outback now has a standard CD player, and Outback Limiteds have an upgraded audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. All six-cylinder Outbacks now have the OnStar communications system. Finally, the Outback H-6 3.0 VDC's premium McIntosh audio system has been fitted with an in-dash six-disc CD changer.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (129 total reviews)


Its taken me to the

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback H6-3.0 AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Ok. So I am a died in the wool subaru fan but will make no bones about the fact that the H4 (2.5 liter models during these years and current models) have a BOATLOAD of head gasket problems. Their failure rate is very high. I happen to be lucky enough to have the 3.0 H6. I have just about 270k now and it still runs great and burns no oil. I maintain it well and do all the maintenance repairs myself. Have had no major repairs as of yet.




03 outback 2.5l sohc

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback Limited AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

great car very reliable recommend changing the factory head gaskets their junk and upgrade them and youll never have the problem again ik i havent other than that the tranny and engine runs great havent had any other issues with the car other than minor stuff here and their like tube seals and blown dash light 10 yrs old so i thinks shes done me good still gets me from a - z fires up EVERYTIME one lesson i learned for anyone looking to do spark plugs though only run ngk plugs and wires amazing difference




A lesson learned the hard

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Outback two years ago with 115,000 miles on it. In over 200 cars that I've owned I've never owned an Outback, but everyone that I talked to that had one loved it. This car ranks as one of the 3 worst cars that I've owned. It's the only car that I've owned that would break just sitting in the driveway. It's been a real money pit. With the chronic head gasket problems I'm surprised that anyone buys these. I sure wish that I had researched it before I bought. This was definately an expensive lesson learned the hard way.




200,000 miles and counting!

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback VDC AWD Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I bought this car brand new in 2003. It has been problem free and reliable, I can honestly say this has been the best car I have ever owned. I would gladly buy another new 6 cylinder Subaru without a second thought.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I may have been unlucky

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback Limited AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Bought car used at 140k (as such this could reflect the previous owner's handling of it.) Week 1: Head Gasket, Oxygen filter, timing belt, Radiator leak Week 4: New Tires, New brakes, CV Joints, Bent Axis joint, oil leak Current: Week 8: Headlight electrical system failure. Paid: 4,500 for car. Repair bill: 5000 I may have bought a bum car but I'm really not impressed with the outback--It's hardly been reliable or cost effective. Even as a temporary commuter car (I bicycle for most of my work) it's cost me a chunk of change. I really wish I had stuck with my old Honda CRV Cons: Gas mileage in cities loud noise from exterior Bumpy ride From what I've experienced, unreliable




Nice car, be good to

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Subaru Outback AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

We have owned this car for about 5 years,bought the car with 60k and have put a little over 100k on it. The car has been quite an investment to buy and service but has never left us stranded.Head gaskets were replaced shortly after purchase under warranty and have been fine since. I was told subarus can be considered a specialty vehicle and I agree as they are built different than a lot of cars. Still starts right up,shifts smoothly,rides nice. If you are hard on your vehicle and used to putting very little money into it in the meantime, probably not for you.



Full 2003 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2003

Only minor changes have been made to the 2003 Subaru Outback. All models have freshened front-end styling and revised front struts. The struts feature internal rebound springs that are said to reduce body roll when cornering, as well as brake dive. In terms of features, the four-cylinder powered Outbacks gain the formerly optional All-Weather Package as standard equipment. The base Outback now has a standard CD player, and Outback Limiteds have an upgraded audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. All six-cylinder Outbacks now have the OnStar communications system. Finally, the Outback H-6 3.0 VDC's premium McIntosh audio system has been fitted with an in-dash six-disc CD changer.

Talk About The 2003 Outback

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 18
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs