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 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/26 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 (8 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Love this car

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I love the way this car does what it does. Traded out of 1/2 ton full size pick up. I am very impressed w/ interior design, layout and comfort. I have big feet so the pedals could all use some more spacing but is not a problem. I like the aux audio jack but wonder why its hidden the console compartment. This does make it easy to "hide" what you have plugged into it. Hmm. The engine power is adequate and fuel economy is great for AWD vehicle of this size. Handling and ride comfort are excellent. Note on the cruise control... would like to tap the accel/decel buttons a number of times and have the speed change the corresponding number of MPH.




Happy outback owner

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I've had my Outback 2.5i 5-speed manual for about 6000 miles, and I'm very happy with it. It gets good gas mileage, is fun to drive, handles well, deals with lousy weather very well, has plenty of room, and looks great. My mileage has averaged 25.4 mpg overall since I bought it, with a low of 22.2 mpg and a high of 30.3 mpg. That's good for an AWD vehicle. With the 5-speed manual it feels lively and energetic, and the manual transmission shifts very easily. It's a great all-around vehicle that can handle pretty much anything thrown at it and do it very well. It's a practical car that's enjoyable to drive.




Great find!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Had a 1995 Legacy wagon that aspired to be an Outback. Years later, I bought the car I always wanted! My big feet took some getting used to in the footbox, not to say that it is cramped, but pedals are closer than my Honda. I am no WRC racer, but I do like how easy the clutch engages and shifting action feels great. Is surprisingly responsive when passing, especially for a four banger that is a bit heavy in the hips. Excited for the snow and rain, I'd like to see how the AWD handles it. Mileage is better than expected, 27+ in 50/50 city/hwy (as long as the dash computer is correct).




None better at this price

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

First 4500 miles impressions: good handling, comfortable, quiet, decent stereo, sufficient (not great) power, averaging 28 MPG. For around $21K - $22K I believe this car is a bargain compared to other all wheel drive vehicles.




Great choice

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

I did a lot of research and really wanted to buy my 4th Honda. I looked at the CRV and didn’t like the interior. I am a fly fisherman and like to have a vehicle in which I can lie down and take a rest. I have a serious back problem and need to take breaks in my fishing day. The CRV just wasn’t able to provide a long rear floor space. When the rear seats are folded down there is plenty of room for me at 5’9”. Interestingly enough, the Honda dealer sent us to Subaru! The Subie us everything I wanted. I am an environmentalist and biologist so my carbon footprint and controlling pollution output is important. So far we have gotten 25 mpg in mixed driving short trips (a bit disapointing).




Computer, oh my!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

This is my first Subaru and perhaps my last. After having a fun and wonderful drive home to Michigan from Virginia my Outback gave me a full "light show." Most of the warning lights came on, the most interesting being the "check engine" light. Computer problems. It has been back to the dealer service department 3 times now. It has been in the shop for more then 2 weeks. I bought it on 12/12/07, it has approx. 3100 miles on it, and I just made my first payment. The service department has been great, but my first Subaru experience has been a headache and a heartache. Will be using the lemon law if the car returns to the shop for a 4th time. Otherwise, a great and fun car.



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

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs