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.