After 100k expect to spend a lot of money. I hear this is typical of most American made cars of this price range;however, so I can accept that. SUbaru Inc. has always been extremely supportive and very fair about fixing mfg. problems, until air bag incident....that was a huge disappointment. Didn't fix for six months! And told me not to allow a jump seat passenger! What?
To start, the Subaru was my mother's car for almost 10 years and she had bought it barely used with less than 2000 miles on it. Though this is not my car, I have driven it for several thousand miles over the past decade. My biggest complaints with this vehicle are its atrocious steering feel, terrible fuel economy, sub par reliability, obstructive visibility, and cramp inducing seats. Other than that the Outback is pretty average in all other categories. The steering feels loose and the wheel rotates several degrees before the wheels respond. It is a feeling similar to large sedans like a Lincoln Town Car, or offroad capable SUVs like a Jeep Wrangler. If the steering was looser for offroad purposes I would not mark it down, but the Outback is not capable of tackling anything more than a dirt road. The owners manual also warns you that it is not designed as an offroad vehicle. As a result, the car feels a lot heavier and less nimble than other vehicles in the same size category. Second, fuel economy is terrible. It averaged 17 in the city and 26 on the highway for average fuel economy of 22 mpg. This is 2 mpg better than the epa rating, but still worse than contemporary RWD V8s or AWD cars with similar power. Speaking of the AWD, it takes a huge toll on the suspension and steering elements after 10 years. We had to replace a part of the front axel shaft and cv joint as it had worn down and was creating a grinding noise at highway speeds. Parts like that should not wear out in under 60k miles. All other cars we have owned have not had any mechanical failures until reaching over 100k miles. This car was also subject to the Takata airbag recall and the dealer says that we will need to wait another 6 months before it can be fixed after waiting a year already. The final issue is the interior comfort and design. The materials of the interior are mostly cheap hard plastics with a few soft touch panels. The seats were as uncomfortable as you could get in a car. I would develop pain in my lower back and legs after driving or riding in it for about an hour. It is the only car I have experienced this even though I have done 5-11 hours non-stop (except gas) in other vehicles. Blind spot visibility is also poor as the front head rests and side pillars make it difficult to see anything out of the back seat side windows if you are backing out of a parking spot or checking the blind spot. To conclude, the 2006 Subaru Outback 3.0R is a very average wagon that I did not look forward to driving.
This is a good car- except that it sacrifices function for design. C'mon Subaru- We like you because of your functional cars! I bought it because unlike my Forester, it has enough leg room for my husband in the front when the child seats are in the back. I like it because it drives good, it looks good, it's all wheel drive, it has reasonable gas mileage, and has decent cargo space. If it weren't for the leg room issue, I would stay with the Forester, which I think has a much better design. I am writing this review because it has two features which annoy me to no end. 1. The shape of the rear door/window makes it near impossible to buckle a child in and out of a rear-facing child seat. My poor baby has sustained more bumps to the head getting in and out of the carseat than I can count. 2. The seatbelt chime is about to drive me over the edge- and I'm an avid seatbelt wearer. It also has several features which definitely get the thumbs down. 1. The slant of the front door/window makes it very awkward to get into the front seat. 2. There is very little storage space in the front. 3. The control panel for air & heat are not nice and straight-forward like those on the more basic subarus without dual climate control. 4. The rear cargo area is limited by the inward slope of the rear windshield. Of all of these complaints the only one that I feel is actually important is the rear-facing child seat issue. For me it is the deal breaker. I've still got a few years of rear-facing child seat use ahead of me, and as much as I hate to do it, I am now looking for a new car.
My '06 2.5i Ltd. (118,000 mi.) blew its head gaskets for the second time in less than 3 yrs. today. Replaced all 4 sets of wheel bearings at least once, broken front axle, wiring harness on back hatch, door handle, console cover broke off completely years ago, rear defrost never did work properly, etc. Never had a car in the shop as much as this one. Loved the traction - absolutely hated the total lack of quality in this vehicle. Not feeling the love... If you insist on a Subaru, but a model from '08 or newer - they are supposedly much more reliable.
Traction, handling, appearance.
Much better materials and workmanship. More cups holders and storage. Bigger, peppier engine. MP3 input (already on newer models)