My wife and I purchased a 2006 LL Bean Wagon as our family car. Herein lies the problem; it seems to have been designed by people without kids. 1) The LATCH system is recessed so far in to the seat that is it very difficult to reach. 2) Rear facing car seats require that the front seat is forward to the point that my knees almost touch the dash (I an 5'11"). I drive a VW GTI and, because of its larger passenger compartment, we often take it on trips and leave the "family car" at home
This is a nice car for a family with kids either out of car seats or at least out of rear facing seats. The interior design and quality far surpasses it's peers Rear cargo space is great and well thought out. AWD (especially with snow tires) is fantastic.
Reliability; at 15,000 the car began to start with difficulty and was very rough. Fuel economy (poor to begin with) dropped as did performance. Our local dealership was great, but it spent over 30 days in the shop and required the regional tech spend 3 days tearing the car apart. Seems ok now.
I've had my 2006 Outback 2.5i auto for over a year, and am generally satisfied. I commonly drive offroad and in heavy snow conditions, and the AWD performs well. The car has done well under some bad conditions, and the AWD system has probably kept me out of a few snowbanks due to bad driving. The car is super comfy, and with a Yakima roof rack, you can haul plenty of people and gear. My primary complaint is the shoddy fuel mileage. I average about 21 mpg, with MPG dipping into the 18 mpg range when driving in the mountains here in WV.
PLENTY of space for gear. Stable car offroad/in snow. Interior is very comfortable, and spacious.
1) Improve fuel economy. 2) Real belly skid plates (I had to add them). 3) Additional lighting. 4) More powerful engine. 5) Integrated mounting points for aftermarket (Yakima) roofrack.
I purchased 2006 Outback because of price and ride quality, also reliability. The transmission started slipping at about 5,000, dealership tested and it was normal, and kept driving. Shortly after, the air conditioning wasn't cooling very well. Dealership replaced the expansion valve... works fine. Wheel bearing had to be replaced at 15,000 miles last year. Then recently, the window switch had to be replaced. Lastly, the torque converter, which is part of the transmission is bad and new transmission probably will be needed. The car is in the shop. I have had the car in the shop on/off for about twenty business days and counting.
I bought the Outback for our growing family and Im impressed. Nice interior, big trunk and lot of storage. Outside sporty wagon with AWD Do you need more - No. When I drive Subaru I have a lot of fun a specially when Im using sport driving. I have always wondering whats make Subaru Subaru now I know.
Sporty young interior and exterior. A 22 mpg in city this is something for AWD.
My 2006 outback is my 3rd vehicle. They say 3rd time is a charm. I am a former pickup truck lover that hated the gas mileage of trucks. I wanted AWD (better for dirt roads and bad weather), better fuel economy, better handling and reliability but also use for utility. The Outback covered all those grounds. 26-31 mpg on highway. Yes, folks I hit 31 mpg on highways of Montana and Maine. Excellent on dirt roads and deep snow. Handles better than my dad's '04 Acura TL. Performance rocks... beats both my old 6 cylinder trucks. Not bad for a base 4 cyl. Only complaints is that the oil filter is surrounded by exhaust piping, so it is a pain to remove, and tranny upshifts to early.
Performance, sport car like handling, utility use (has hidden compartments, power driver seat and heat warmers standard! Over 28 mpg on highway under the optimal conditions. Excels on dirt roads. It's a trail runner.
Relocate oil filter away from hot exhaust pipes, literally an inch from pipes. Stay away from stock Bridgestone Potenza tires, bad in bad weather. This is for winter outdoor peeps: DO NOT drive Outback (w/o chains or snow tires) through deep slushy snow. You will get stuck.