2008 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Subaru Outback

  • Although still a good choice for smaller families seeking an all-weather wagon with strong crash test scores and polished performance, the 2008 Subaru Outback loses ground to roomier crossovers that offer better overall value.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fine ride and handling balance, enjoyable power delivery from XT Limited's turbocharged engine, excellent build and materials quality, sure-footed in snowy or light off-roading conditions, outstanding crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Tight backseat for a midsize car, automatic transmissions sap performance, stability control not available on lower trim levels.

  • What's New for 2008

    For the 2008 Subaru Outback, the sedan version is dropped, a few new standard features (including tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack) and updated instrument panel debut and a minor face-lift updates the front and rear ends.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (24 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Subaru won't stand behind its

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

My air conditioner compressor failed in my 2008 Outback after 45,000 miles. The compressor was no longer covered by warranty. It cost me over $900 to replace the compressor, including parts and labor. My mechanic suggested I write a letter to Subaru of America to ask for reimbursement. I wrote a detailed letter to Subaru of America. Subaru of America wrote back with perhaps the lamest correspondence I have ever received, stating that "Subaru is not responsible for defective parts or workmanship from subcontractors." Needless to say, I will never purchase another Subaru product. My Outback is average or below average in every way, from handling to craftsmanship to fuel economy.



8 of 9 people found this review helpful

Poor craftsmanship

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

We bought our car new 3 years ago. Although not a head turner, it looked sturdy and had better gas mileage than a SUV. Some standard features a plus. Steady on the road and safe in snow/rain. Poor built quality... Cheap cabin materials. The engine went out at 38000 miles and it took 2 weeks to repair shorted cable in the engine block... I was very disappointed with it this week - took it to the dealer to have the heat shield repaired - not covered by warranty, although the dealer said every Outback gets this problem at our mileage (49000). Door handle broke - not covered. The handle actually fell out...




Disappointment

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Annoying things with this car. The power window makes a scraping noise when it rains. Poor gas mileage after ecm reprogramming for wvm23 recall. Seat belt doesn't retract quickly and gets stuck in door jam. Serious safety issue, Passenger air bag stays off with passenger in seat. This has been "repaired" 4 times still not working right.




1st on many subaroo to

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Love at first sight, grow old together after test drive. Just the right performance and features for me here in TEXAS. Great cargo room, great gas mileage for a big car with 4 cylinders. Great for bike rides with friends as SAG support vehicle. VERY COOL, Cat like performance, you should see the look of other drivers on the road with all my gear mounted.




My first & last subaru

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

I have owned at least 7 brand new cars in the past 15 years; Will not buy a Subaru again. My car is less than 2 years old & only has 8000 miles on it, the rattling noise while driving is very disturbing and annoying. I read the same feedback from another owner too. And when you fist turn on the engine, for the first 3 minutes, it sounds like a diesel truck! Is this because the engine is tilted 90 degrees and there's no oil around the pistons going side to side? Very disappointed, not to mention that there is hardly any room in the back! I will definitely stay away from Subarus. This was a worse experience than my last new car (Nissan Sentra 2.0).




Great wagon

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Have owned this 2.5i for 2 years without any problems. Bought new and has only been to dealer for maintenance checks (oil change, tire rotation). Fun to drive. Back seat passengers are a little cramped, though front seats are very comfortable. Mileage is better than EPA. Gets at at least 20mpg in town and 29 on the highway. Cargo area is wide and long. Have hauled a Hoosier cabinet and a large entertainment center. Would be nice if hidden side storage compartment doors would stay on (only thing on OB that is flimsy). Love my Outback. Best decision ever made! My OB 2.5i is a PZEV and it is not loud. In fact, my neighbors call it the stealth car because it is so quiet.



Full 2008 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2008

For the 2008 Subaru Outback, the sedan version is dropped, a few new standard features (including tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack) and updated instrument panel debut and a minor face-lift updates the front and rear ends.

Introduction

With its too-cute commercials featuring Paul Hogan a distant memory, the Subaru Outback is left to get by on its own merits. But not to worry, mate, this old gal has been holding up much better than Mr. Crocodile Dundee's acting career.

Starting out in the mid-'90s as a interim measure for Subaru to grab some of the then-rapidly growing SUV segment, the early Outback was essentially a toughened-up version of the Legacy wagon. Two-tone paint, a raised suspension, all-wheel drive and beefy tires gave the proper "go-anywhere" look.

TV commercials showed the Subaru Outback deftly zipping through twisty, muddy trails, with midsize SUVs left struggling in its wake. This "stopgap" vehicle carved out a niche of its own, serving those who wanted a measure of all-terrain capacity without the needless bulk, clumsy handling and dismal fuel mileage of a traditional SUV.

Today's Subaru Outback has dropped the awkward SUV styling cues of yesteryear and now embraces its midsize wagon body. In fact, for 2008, Subaru has discontinued the Outback sedan. As the Legacy and Outback are essentially the same car, it simplifies things. Want a sedan? Look at the Legacy line. Looking for a wagon? Then consider the Outback offerings.

Although there are three available engines, our favorite is the powerful yet smooth turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-4, which is available only on the XT Limited trim. Standard on this trim is Subaru's SI-Drive system, which allows the driver to tailor engine performance for economy or performance by choosing from three modes -- Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp. We've found that the Intelligent mode makes for sluggish response, while the Sport Sharp mode provides rapid yet smooth response to throttle inputs.

Firm suspension tuning along with responsive steering and the grip afforded by the all-wheel-drive system give the Outback a nimble feel through the turns while still providing a comfy highway ride. On the downside, rear-seat room is tight compared to those of rival wagons and crossover SUVs.

We still like the idea of the Outback, as it does indeed offer a likable compromise of wagon and SUV attributes. However, with crossovers such as the Mazda CX-7 or Toyota Highlander offering more room and power, the 2008 Subaru Outback just isn't the value it once was. And if you don't need the Outback's nearly 9 inches of ground clearance, you might also consider other wagons, namely the all-wheel-drive versions of the Volkswagen Passat and Dodge Magnum.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Subaru Outback comes only in a midsize wagon body style with increased ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. Instead of offering a dizzying amount of option packages like some other carmakers, Subaru offers a dizzying amount of trim levels. For the 2008 Outback, there are no less than seven trims: base, 2.5i, 2.5i L.L. Bean, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Limited L.L. Bean, XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean.

Standard equipment on the base trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a satellite radio-ready audio system with CD player and an MP3 player jack, keyless entry, an outside temperature display, and full power accessories. The 2.5i adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, roof-rail crossbars, heated exterior mirrors, deicing wipers, a power driver seat and front-seat heaters. The 2.5 L.L. Bean is a little more upscale and features dual-zone automatic climate control, an in-dash CD changer, a navigation system and specialized floor mats. The 2.5i Limited drops the nav system, but adds a double-panel sunroof and leather upholstery. Spring for the 2.5i Limited L.L. Bean, and, as you'd guess, you get all of the above features as standard.

The Subaru Outback XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean models feature more powerful engines, but are equipped basically the same, meaning loaded, with the exception of a navigation system, which is optional. The XT Limited has a dark interior with faux aluminum interior trim and red electroluminescent gauges, while the 3.0 R has faux wood accents complemented by a real mahogany/leather steering wheel.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2008 Subaru Outback trim features all-wheel drive. All the 2.5i models are powered by a 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine rated for 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. Base and 2.5i models can be equipped with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic; 2.5i Limited and L.L. Bean models are automatic only.

The Outback XT Limited boasts a potent turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine good for 243 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. It's available with the five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The luxury-themed 3.0 R L.L. Bean features a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Known as the H6, this engine is capable of 245 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque, and is matched solely to the automatic transmission.

Safety

Antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints are standard on every 2008 Subaru Outback. Stability control is available on all trims except the base and 2.5i. In NHTSA crash tests, the Outback earned a perfect five stars across the board for its protection in frontal- and side-impact collisions.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Outback's cabin has an uncluttered and classy ambience thanks to simple controls, tasteful faux wood and aluminum accents and high build quality. Seat comfort is generally good, though adults may find the backseat tight on legroom and shoulder room compared to roomier wagons and crossovers. Car seats are easy to install, as that rear seat is broad and flat. With the rear seats up there is 33.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, flip them down and 66 cubic feet are available.

Driving Impressions

Something of a cross between a billy goat and a luxury sedan, the 2008 Subaru Outback provides sure-footed composure on trails and snowy roads while keeping its occupants comfy. The base engine is just adequate while the turbo four and H6 provide rapid acceleration and stronger passing and merging performance. Unfortunately, the Outback's automatic transmissions still leave much to be desired, as they sap power by upshifting too early. Automatic-equipped XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean models fare a little better in this regard, as their SI-Drive system offers the Sport Sharp mode that quickens throttle response and delays upshifts.

Talk About The 2008 Outback

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs