High ground clearance, but not a tall car. All-wheel drive has help me out so much these 8 years. With great traction for going or stopping, I can not praise it enough. Though, with all-wheel drive, the gas mileage suffers.
After One Year I have owned this car for a year, now. Would I buy it again? Maybe - due to the clearance and AWD technology. Do I love it? No. It has started to rattle in the dashboard. Wind noise is still there. Rear door is still annoyingly slow. Computer screen is still functionally obsolete (I just want an image of my phone and I want to see the time and temperature larger). Gas mileage has never hit 33 for any length of time.
Original opinion I had the 2008 2.5i. This vehicle has a lot of good - the engine seems to have more power, the continuous shifting makes for a smoother ride and better acceleration. On the "just ok" is the control screen. It's big, it catches dust and glares, the weather is useless for me because I don't live in a select city. Why would I use the navigation when I have my phone with all the addresses and a voice that talked me through the directions? The two data points that I do hunt for (literally) are the time and outside temperature. These are small and tucked at the bottom of the screen. I started with the good, to be fair.. However, there are two things I hate (hate) about the car. Unfortunately, they are in your face, all the time. #1: wind noise, wind, wind, wind. It sounds as though the window isn't closed so you are constantly trying to close the windows. #2: the rear gate is sllllooooowwwwwwww to open and close. I am constantly standing by the gate , waiting for it to open or close. I hate that too. Really hate it.
This 2008 subie is my 3rd subaru experience. I was reluctant to leave a review because I have been told I am too critical so you be the judge.
1998 subaru was very noisy engine wise other than that a head gasket failure at 135000 miles
2001 subaru brakes once every other year at the dealer. Coolent leaks at the heads of the engine maintained by conditioner.
2008 Head gasket leaks at 68000 miles needed replacing. wire harness broke to tail lights. Noisy catalytic converters replaced but they left off the shielding. replaced under recall which is good. 75000 miles has a skip. plugs and wires.
7/30/16 96000-113000 owner replaced timing belt and tension pullys, coolant water pump and timing belt, oil pump seals , cam shaft seals as normal maintenance items. valve cover gaskets Wheel bearings x3 as they were noisy. dealer replaced one air bag and another takata air bag is due under warranty control arm bushings and front and rear sway bar links. intermediate pipe and resonator with seals (noisy) Still drives and handles great. has not left us stranded yet. that is good. brakes hold up well.
2008 outback we bought new when our 1998 outback head gaskets failed at 135000 miles. We were unsure if another Subaru was in our future but after driving other alternatives we returned to this manufacturer. Very stable sure footed in even the worst conditions and very easy to drive. We are impressed with the design and body integrity. update 3/28/16 107000 miles same engine and transmission. suspension bushings are a common failure but major components great. Some interior panels develop waves and pockets that look like the thin foam under the imitation leather. Recall on air bags just completed. Letter from manufacturer stated dashboard may develop symptoms similar to mentioned in detail before about interior panels.
We had a 1998 Ru Outback that we gave to our son and bought our 2008 Ru in July of 2007. The Ru rides great, has good mileage, 25MPG around town, it also looks great. Our Ru has been very reliable. Only problems so far has been a power steering arm that was leaking when we bought the car new. That was replaced under warranty. We have had an intermittent rattle under the car, especially when cold. Took it to two different Subaru dealers and they could not duplicate the problem. Went to our Subaru dealer in Flagstaff and they finally found the problem, something about the catalytic converter which will be replaced under warranty.
Great ride, once you are in the seats are very comfortable.
My wife loved the 1998 Ru so much she did not test drive the 2008. It is much smaller inside than our old RU. Little leg room in the back. I cannot get my knees under the steering wheel when the tilt is fully raised and the seat lowered. There is more room now with later models.