I've owned several 4x4's in the past, but never an AWD. I bought the Outback after extensive research and test drives against several other comparable mid to full size SUVs. I have not, for a moment, regretted my decision to purchase this little gem. I bought an 2.5FX Limited wirh all the options and an auto 5 speed Sport Shift transmission. I still haven't gotten over the power this vehicle exhibits. When the turbo kicks in, it's like going into hyperdrive. The interior is excellently finished and ergonomic. The exterior fit and finish is like cars costing much more. The only problem -- gas mileage goes down when you hit the turbo, who cares? It's too much FUN!
Turbo charged 250 hp/250 ft. lb. engine; 5 speed, sport shift with 3 options. Interior amenities are as good as a vehicle costing much more. Finish is excellent. Power moon roof is very functional with multiple open settings. This vehicle is FUN to drive but does not get enough press.
Key unlockable rear hatch and passenger door. Turbo boost gauge would be nice to have, but maybe not necessary. Halogen headlights would be sufficient. The Xenon Projector beams tend to cause an awful lot of high beam flashes from oncoming traffic and people in front have even pulled over.
Car has been great in rain, ice and snow. I have never been stuck. Comfortable seats and good view of the road. I am not looking for a race car but the four cylinder version needs more lower end torque.
AWD and ground clearance. Seat heaters.
The gas mileage is surprisingly poor even for AWD. After 10,000 miles, I have averaged 18.5 in mixed driving. Get rid of the seat belt chime - even in park it's ringing away. Also a gallon of milk sets it off on the passenger side.
This is our 6th Subaru and this time subaru has really outdone themselves. I've always loved their reliability and longetivity with my 98 have 230K on it and runnig strong. We decided to replace our WRX with something more Family orientated. The outback XT was it. We have all the luxury and comfort of our other outback but a style and the power to blow you away. Saidly to say my WRX would be left behind by our new family wagon. The turbo is much smoother than that of the WRX but it has more power. What a great combination of the family wagon and a sleeper sports-car. Gas mileage is a bit different then our previous outbacks but the performance makes it all worth it.
I would have to say everything the great new look the confort style and performance Subaru has given me a refreshed feel for loving my subaru's besides long-lasting I now can have a good looking vehicle to go with it
As far as improvements. I would like to see a little more leg room in the back especially as my children get older. A Navigation and DVD would be a nice touch and a more effective way to get the rear of the vehicle cool without freezing the front row. Not necessarily a rear-air system but something.
Advertised to have you believe that it is rugged. Because of fragile details, IT IS NOT. The paint on the plastic bumpers, wheel opening/lower door trim and the door protection strips is chipping from light bumps and dings and looks like heck particularly because of light colored paint over black plastic. Some interior plastic items are way too fragile. Two items have been replaced because of cracks or breakage and snap-in retainers for rear deck wont stay on place. Drivers seat position and adjustment is barely adequate for my 6' 2", 200# size. Anyone over 6' 0" might want to look elsewhere. Gas mileage for the 2.5L non turbo is not as good as our other car which is a '95 3.0L Maxima.