2003 Subaru Outback - Consumer Reviews

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Average Consumer Rating 129 Total Reviews
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Guess I got the lemon
By Jane on 10/30/09 21:53 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

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

Review

Immediately post-purchase, I noticed the car hesitated on acceleration & had slow & clunky gear shifting. I was told that was just "the boxer engine"?! The car chews thru the brakes - been replaced & repaired every year. Wind noise has been a constant irritation & I can't read stereo settings on bright days due to glare. Today, I was told that the head gasket is blown and the brake pads are gone again. In spite of having routine maintenance, this 6 year old car has had a long history of expensive repair, gets poor mileage & requires more expensive gas. I would never buy another Subaru but from others' revus, clearly I'm in the minority?! Must have been the lemon?!
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Very Solid Car
By Skinney on 09/04/09 07:14 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Review

This has been a great car for me, I've put on almost 100,000 miles. Now have 122,000 and the car is still running strong. I haven't had any issues except with the door/window moldings, which lead to the wind noise everyone talks about. Two were replaced by dealer, one for free after warranty ran out (thanks Subaru!), and one more that needs fixing. Transmission "pops" when it downshifs from 4th to 3rd but has not created any issues except annoyance. Mileage is not bad considering the weight of car and full time AWD. I average 18-20 for everyday driving and get from 24-26 on the highway (with the H6-3.0) and I don't drive lightly. Out performs many trucks/SUV's in 12"+ snow in the mountains.
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Reliable
By Sorin on 07/18/09 03:52 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

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

Review

I bought it brand new and now I have 140.000 on it. Drives like the first day. Have not had ANY engine/transmission problems. Wasted money on extended warranty. Did oil change myself, fuel filter only changed a couple a times, transmission fluid drained twice, Serp belt went at 100K. Changed spark plugs (major pain, buried deep) at 100K, looked like new. VERY reliable in all kinds of weather. Cons: wind noise (only if you want to drive above 80, and then I guess it's a good thing, it keeps you alert). Not enough leg room. Those who think a 6 cylinder will accelerate faster forget about it, it doesn't, because it's heavier. It is friendly, though, once you get to know it.
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OMG OMG Giddy I am
By BURU CUBBY on 05/25/09 07:48 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Review

Got this 02/09. I can only say OMG! Never had a Subaru before... I got 2 independent mechanics I keep, they said GET IT. It's a steal!! Had 79986 on it, 1 owner, is fave color green, it's got things I didn't think a car would dare have. I need it for the Chicago winters!! I'm in luuuvv!! I can NEVER drive an American made car again. Love passing by storefronts with windows & seeing it. I'm still in awe. The dual sunroofs are the bomb!! From what I hear these things just don't break down. I need that security driving alone a lot. The salesman thought I was gonna pass out from jumping around when he showed it to me (0: My Buru is all I could ever ask for. Everything is a perfect 10!!
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So so....
By d.c.meyers on 05/13/09 11:14 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

Bought this used, with 9500 miles... the dealer failed to ensure proper alignment.. back in it went... biggest disappointment, the mileage, averaging about 20mpg, on PREMIUM gas... I was not forewarned that this 2.5l '4' would knock like crazy without higher octane gas... otherwise I would NOT have purchased... also had major piston repair, thank god for the extended warranty, almost 1800 bucks of damage... note that the car has been meticulously cared for...
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Improve MPG and Wind Noise
By Curtis Culwell on 12/26/08 18:36 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I purchased my Subaru used in 2004. I have been extremely pleased with its handling and performance. However, its mileage is abysmal. I got a SCAN II computer and began hypermiling last April, and started to see decent numbers (30-31+) but with a lot of effort. Then I noticed winter temps and (I've read) winter fuel mix REALLY brought numbers down, to around 23+. Also that wind noise is a nuisance. By just tapping the switch a bit I've achieved prompt, temporary relief. Buy this car for snow and ice, but for warmer climes, a lighter FWD car might be better.
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2nd Subaru, might be last
By Tim on 12/20/08 09:15 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback Limited AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Review

My car was babied from day one. I upgraded to the Outback from a 2002 Impreza 2.5. I really enjoyed the car, until I started to notice a few sounds as I accelerated from toll booths, etc with my window still down. The dealers could never hear it. I noticed the transmission was always searching between 3rd and 4th gear. The wind noise has me going nuts. The paint has faded in different spots, and I am afraid to use the windshield wiper heater because when I replaced the cracked one, the replacements seem to have a defect with the heating element and it cracks the glass when used. I love Subarus, but my wife makes a good point when she says I need to stop buying someones bad design.
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It's been really good to me
By Velella on 11/22/08 10:33 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Review

I am at 167,000 miles with synthetic oil and it is still clear and engine is going strong. Average 22 MPG in Los Angeles with mixed freeway and street and some offroad. Only failure was an air conditioning hose. Michelin Hydroedge replacements went 105,000 miles. The interior shows little wear and leather seats are still in great shape. Put on new tires and intend to keep it going until it dies... and then I might rebuild the motor and keep on.
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High mileage, still runs like new
By Snow shredder on 10/17/08 09:05 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback VDC AWD Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Review

No major mechanical problems. Routine stuff like brake calipers and pads but nothing major. Still is rock solid, lots of power (V6), great in the snow, slush and rain and fun to drive. Presently have goodyear assurance tripletred tires and recommend them on this car. All in all, still love the car.
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Luv our sube!
By Drifter on 07/24/08 16:37 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Outback AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Review

Knock on wood, car has been good to us. 2.5 4-cyl has plenty of pop. I've found a good (ex) Subaru mechanic who has his own shop. I don't need him much. Passenger side CV joint boot let go @ 60,000 miles. You know when it's gone, grease drips on the cat and you can smell it burning. Its adjacent to the exh sys so heat breaks it down over time. My mechanic also says I can look fwd to head gasket leak @ 100k miles. This is because of the Boxer flat design, it stresses the head bolts. All in all, he says the 4 cyl is solid, but the 6 cyl is usually $$ trouble after 100k miles. Wind noise was an issue, common problem, he tweaked the front window corner piece with screw driver.
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