2008 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 243 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/24 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


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great car! fun to drive.

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

This is one of the best cars I have ever driven. The performance of a sports car in a functional everyday vehicle. We need to purchase another vehicle which will be another Outback, but I am not happy that Subaru stopped making the XT model. If you own one and would like be able to buy another one, call Subaru and complain. If enough of us do, maybe they will bring the XT back. In the meantime I guess I'm stuck with the 6 cyl.




I came back to subaru!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

After having Mazda buy back my 1st CX 7 and now finally getting out from under and trading in my 2nd CX 7 with many problems, my 08 Subaru XT Limited is GREAT. I get 23 miles to the gallon and yes it takes premium but what would you expect when buying a turbo? I drove home in a snowstorm and the car handled like a dream, unlike the car I traded in. I don't know why I didn't stay with Subaru. I would definitely recommend if you are looking for an AWD buy a Subaru!




A really fun car to

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

This car replaced a 2001 Nissan Maxima. We got the manual with turbo and VDC. It is such a fun car to drive! It handles great and when you kick in the turbo you pass cars so quickly the drivers mouths are open. Could that be a Subaru wagon? I like the firm ride and tight handling. If you don't like really "driving" your car, buy a Honda Accord.




Best outback yet

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

My third Outback and by far the best. Wanted a fun mid-life car, needed a practical car for the fam and the mountains. Subaru hits the mark with the XT turbo! Far more fun to drive than my H6 2002 LL Bean! It drives very tight and solid, very smooth and quiet, turbo kicks in nicely and pulls you along beautifully. I love wagons and the XT is the best combination of any brand/model. Steering wheel feels good in my large hands. Still trying to find the best seat position for my tall self. Skip the nav and add your own portable, upgradeable Garmin or other. Looked at SUVs (Tribeca, Highlander, RAV4, CR-V, RDX) and prefer XT. Great car for my wants and needs!




Second review after 3 months

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Great fun to drive. Mileage is better than expected, 24 mpg in SI Drive - "S" mode driving up and down canyon 5400 to 9200 feet on weekly shopping trips and local mountain driving daily. Handles great on curves, highways, dirt. One exception: factory Bridgestone tires squirm excessively on grooved pavement. Road noise is a bit high, but crank up the great stereo with SRS-WOW, MP3 CD and jack. Can't wait to see the VDC work on snow and ice this winter.




Still great cars, more fun

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Great vehicle, moving upscale to compete with the likes of Audi and Acura in the AWD crossover arena. Too bad they got rid of the steering wheel buttons/paddles on the limited, went to other controls for stereo and cruise. The iDrive system is cool, maps the throttle response and upshift points to economy, sport and sport sharp. If you keep it in economy, expect mixed driving mileage at about 22-23. In sport or sport# mode expect maybe 16 mpg and lots of tickets!



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

  • 18
  • cty
/
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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