I traded an Audi A6 Quattro for my outback. The Outback costs 1/3 less than the Audi to replace. The Outback is virtually the same vehicle. I lost heated rear seats and the ride is more stiff. The first day I owned the car I drove in a 8" snow storm and the car handled every bit as well as the Quattro. I have owned 3 Audi's and I am a convert. This is a tremendous car for the money.
I like the dual pane sunroof. You can actually use the sunroof as air is deflected over the top. Fantastic extended warranty. Build quality fit and finish are excellent.
I would like better interior storage for small items and loose change.
This is a nice little car that is designed perfectly for those who live an active life. It hauls skis, hiking equipment, bicycles, etc. very efficiently. The Outback 2.5i drives smoothly on the highway while getting 23-26 mpg (actual mpg with 5-speed manual). If you put four snows on it, the car will go through snow just as if it were on dry pavement. We have driven it through 10 inches with no problems. Snow stability is great and braking is good with the right winter tires. Overall, the car is perfect for our active family. The major problem with the car is the California emissions. Buy your car outside of New England to avoid bucking and surging on the highway.
All wheel drive, heated front window and washer nozzles, rubber cargo mat, rear cargo net, 8 inch ground clearance, drives like a car.
Seatbelt chime goes off non-stop unless you buckle (need to unbuckle at the bank drive-up), manual shift lever is noisy when cold, dome light comes on when ignition is turned off, engine is rough and unrefined, tire pressure monitor flashes constantly even when pressure is correct.
We traded in an 01 Outback wagon for a sedan for my wife. Kid's in college, time for a fun car. This thing handles! The "small" engine is 175HP and it has some legs. During the test drive I took a 90 degree turn on a back narrow road at 30 mph. ABS kicked in for second then hit the gas and she never missed a beat. The car is fun to drive (not that my wife has let me get my hands on it since the test drive). Sharp looking too. Inside nice with leather, moon roof, 6 CD player, and many other features. I think the taupe leather is going to be tough to keep clean but other then that, we are happy. This is the last year for the sedan, grab one while you can.
Handling, looks, stereo, gauge package, gas mileage, ground clearance.
One more color choice for interior like light gray that's easier to keep clean.
Bought our 2.5i wagon a month ago. Good value for the money but I have stumbled upon an existing problem which is apparently being kept quiet. We live in Colorado, and our brand new Subaru starts slowly in cold temps and barely started when we have gone into the mountains (9000+ feet of altitude). This seems to be a common problem around here, though I haven't read of it anywhere. The programming parameters for the car's electronics somehow don't properly take into account the effect of altitude. Mountain owners (say the dealer) have trouble starting Outbacks all the time. Called Subaru of America and was assigned a case number. This should have been fixed years ago. New battery had no effect.
AWD, nice features for the money inside, like the rugged styling (apparently going away in 2008!).
Fix the slow/no start up problem; this is a car made for mountain snow - why won't it start there? Wider (not longer) leg room in driver seat.