Traditional AWD Subaru features and handling. Slightly softer suspension than my 2001, but quicker steering ratio, a bit sensitive to driver input, but you get used to it. The BEST EVER in the snow and rain. (I have owned 11 Subarus since 1983). Very good noise isolation and body integrity. 360 degree visibility is excellent.
AWD, visibility, power adjustable drivers seat and heated front seats, winter defrost-deice package.
Parking brake handle encroaches into drivers right leg, left of console. Fan speed knob should be blade style as other knobs. 2.5i should be available with either optional or standard six CD player. My 2001 had that option! Very bad move. I almost purchased an Infiniti because of that lost option.
This is my second Outback. My first a 2001 was fun to drive - handled well and made me a Subaru Believer. Alas, the flat four was not powerful enough when I needed it. Now the 2005 LL Bean is a different story. The 6 cylinder at an improved 250 horses is just what the doctor ordered. It is slow off the line, but once moving, look out. I am not into a lot of auto froo froo. The leather seats are more of a nuisance than fabric. It is a shame that the Suby execs in their (in) finite wisdom insist that the "good" engine only gets installed in the uberdeluxe models! Some of us need the real utility of a workin' wagon!
Ah the little flat 6-cylinder! And the ability to lay the back seats down without removing headrests. The sound system is excellent [no MP3's :(]. I got the subwoofer and it improves all.
The driver's seatbelt needs a better retraction tension. Taller drivers seem to get the belt latch slammed in the door. Did ya'll ever hear of MP3's? Subaru seems to have been out to recess for that class! About 1" of seat depth seems missing from the driver & passenger seats from earlier models.
I owned my Honda Accord for almost 10 years and wanted another car that I could keep that long. I researched safety, performance, reliability, value, mileage, everything. I thought I was going to get the Forester, until I drove it. Too "trucky" for me, and the dealer suggested I drive the Outback. Smooth ride, nice interior, fun to drive; I was sold. I chose the 2.5L engine for the mileage and the fact that it is a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, at least in California. The option to shift it into Sport or Manual while climbing hills is huge and really helps the engine performance. It's nice to drive a car that you don't see every fifty feet on the road!
The heated seats, by far. Yes, I live in San Diego. No, I can't explain it, I just love them! Also I'm very pleased with the gas mileage: the car is fun to drive and I get 28-31 mpg highway, 23 around town. The fold down split seats/cargo area are great for trips to Home Depot or the garden center.
Better audio system. I'd prefer deeper, richer sound; it seems lacking to me. Love the 6-CD changer though. I'd like the doors to lock automatically when the engine starts and the headlights to come on at night. Other than that, it's perfect.
Have 3 Subarus in family, two 2005s - the '05 Outback with 5 speed is a wagon, SUV and sports car rolled into one. As with all my Subies, this one has almost 20k on it and no problems; great handling, superb in snow & comfortable. I am in sales and spend a lot of time in the car driving. Living in snowy winters you get the comfort as well as absolutely superior handling in all weather conditions. I trade them every 3 years or at around 40k, always buying Subies. I only consider Subies. Why change to something else when they work so well. Great looks, great handling, great reliability, comfortable and finally great value.
AWD, handling, exterior and interior looks and features, decent mileage, heated windshield, peppie with 5 speed.