2006 Subaru Outback 3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
This is my third new Subaru and there are noticeable improvements from model to model. The only real negative I see is a hesitation to accelerate. This is a real problem when coming onto a road past a blind curve or pulling onto a parkway with fast unforgiving traffic. Otherwise the car has amazing handling and is the best foul weather car I have ever driven in. It is a little closer to the ground than my 2000 Outback Limited offering excellent stability in the wind. I particularly liked the sport shift when I went over the 16% grade of the Sonora Pass in California this year - I really feel safe in this car under almost any condition. 19/25 mpg traffic/highway.
I was hoping my Outback would be a reliable, safe car for me and my kids to drive. This car has been a nightmare. The inside door panels had to be replaced because if you used the arm rest the fabric came up, the front seat handle broke off, the mud flap in the back was missing screws, the air conditioner made horrible sounds and had to be replaced, went through a "minor" puddle and had to have the car towed, abs and brake light comes on and to top it off the car died and oil began to come out of it. Roadside assistance won't come, unless I pay for the tow and have it towed to my house and then towed again in the morning to Subaru. I'm so glad I bought this car -- NOT. What a LEMON!
The bad outweighs any good that this car could have had.
This is our first Subaru and I'm happy we made the purchase. The turbo + AWD makes this a fun and spirited ride, particularly on wet on-ramps and on gravel roads. The leather seats are firm and comfortable for long trips, and the height off the road gives a good view to the surrounding traffic. The Subaru extended warranty was quite reasonable - as it should have been since the 3 yr/36,000 mile new vehicle warranty is inferior to most other manufacturers in this space. The handling is responsive, particularly when you realize how long and heavy this wagon is. The car is quiet -- both in the city and at highway speeds -- despite the large, open cabin. Fuel economy is reasonable, but low.
Huge sunroof makes car feel like a convertible; beefy steering wheel feels great; low rumble in first gear between 3000 and 4000 rpm; immediately responsive in first two gears; spacious storage area behind rear seats; get the cargo nets to keep "stuff" in storage area from tumbling around.
Optional manufacturer's navigation system should be available for manual transmission; glove compartment way too small - owner's manual takes up 40% of space; cruise control stalk seems flimsy - should be wheel mounted; front headlamp washers needed.
I like my new Outback 2.5i. The only problems I have had with it so far is a malfunctioning airbag system and mediocre (but EPA accurate) gas mileage (I'm getting between 23 and 24 mpg in mixed driving). I did average 31 mpg on a recent road trip to New York, though, which was impressive. People don't buy an Outback for its sportiness, but a little of that would have been nice. The cargo area is extremely useful.
I went to a friend's mountain cabin a month ago. I had to travel on a dirt road for about 2 miles to get there. The Outback felt very sure-footed all the way.
Improve accuracy of trip computer...it exaggerates the Outback's gas mileage by at least 2 mpg. Create more storage space for front seat passengers.
I've had my Outback for a month now, 1000 miles. We have the 2.5i auto with Navigation. Vehicle feels very solid and confident on the road, feels as safe as a tank, but has a surprisingly smooth ride. You won't win any drag races with this car, but it has plenty of power for normal highway/city driving. I'm averaging 26 mpg in mixed driving, not bad for 1000 miles. I never thought that I could be happy with this type of vehicle, but I am. Has a unique feel behind the wheel, you sort of feel like you're in a SUV, without being as high up. Before you shell out big bucks for a 4Runner or Explorer, drive an Outback, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Navigation system is cool, but takes a while to figure out. The guy has a slight Australian accent. I love how it feels on the road. Smooth, easy to drive, but has the solid, safe feeling of a tank. Car has amazing traction, no snow yet but drove through a huge rainstorm, it was awesome.
Some interior materials on the console feel kind of cheap. Sunvisor is too thick for a garage door opener.