I have a love hate relationship with my Outback. It has been into the dealer 9 times in six months. So far problems with the AC cycling every 15 seconds (hot to cold), defective radio, excessive rattles and squeeks in the drivers dash, coolant leaks, and the final straw, a cruise control that won't stay engaged. Performance wise, the car is great. Average 28-29 MPG highway roundtrip from Reno to Oakland and back. Handles great in deep snow and wet roads. Subaru is working the problems but I am about ready to give this one back! Must be the "one" defective Subaru. Would suggest a better stereo as the speakers are marginal at best for long drives.
All wheel drive and fuel economy
Fix the cruise control problem, better stereo speakers, use better plastic on dash that won't scratch so easily, go back to old AC condenser system that doesn't cycle every 15 seconds from hot to cold.
This is our 1st Subbie and we're hooked. Heated seats, mirrors and wipers. This is a car designed for folks who live in the Great White North! Comfortable ride coupled to the security of AWD is a winning combination. The versatility of a wagon is a plus as well. Would not hesitate to recomend a test drive on a foot of freshly fallen snow!!
AWD is the feature on which this car is built. The 5 speed manual has a slick and positive feel. The rubber mat in the cargo area is "sticky" - things don't slide around. Get the thick rubber floor mats, they keep snow/mud/sand off your carpets. For an entry level model there are many surprising extras.
Miss a center arm rest? Seat fabric is nice to look at but gets dirty easily. The power with the manual transmission is adequate but that's all. If you like performance I'd suggest the XT model with the turbo. Personally I'd like a sixth gear to lower cruising speed engine noise as well as increase MPG.
I've had the car for a month now and LOVE it. Everyone who rides in it can't believe it is a base model and how much it costs. It really feels like a luxury car. I went from a minivan to an Outback Wagon and the space has not been an issue as of yet. I have 2 kids in car seats and can fit a third booster seat in the middle in a pinch. Power is sufficient for me and have only felt a very slight lag when the car is loaded with firewood and all seats full with folks. Best feature - cuts through snowy roads like butter! 7" yesterday was no problem for this car. We are now die hard Subaru family and would never purchase anything else. My husband is looking at the Impreza or Outback Sport.
Luxury feel, high quality material, comfort and AWD capability
Memory power seat settings (only because my husband now drives it all the time!).
Traded in a 2004 Honda Civic EX at a LOSS to buy this car. At the time we bought the Civic this was our first choice, but the cost was prohibitive. Too bad we did not go with our first choice. If you live in the north this car is the best. Heated seats, wiper de-icers - all designed with us in mind but the AWD is INCREDIBLE! Have had it in 12 inches of fresh snow with NO wheel spin at all. Complaints of lace of power are not as apparent on the manual transmission. Fit & finish are excellent as are the extras such as heated mirrors and seats. No air leaks into the cabin on windy days. If you live in the Great White North and you are considering this car (in any form) BUY IT. You will NOT be disappointed.
Without a doubt it has to be the AWD. Otherwise nothing shakes or rattles. Already have performed 1st oil change with ease. Service is easy with plenty of room to get to things under the hood. We were surprised at the smooth ride and handling. Love the slick, positive feel of the shift lever.
Get rid of the hydraulic clutch. No feel at all. A cable works better and weighs less. Needs an arm rest on the center console. Cup holders need to be moved out of the way of the shifter.