Needed a 4 door wagon due to the new addition to my family. So I test drove an Audi A4 Avant (2.0T and 3.2 versions) and the Subaru Outback 3.0R was on par with the Audi Avant 3.2. Went with Subaru and saved $14K over the Audi. Also, plan to do a lot of outdoor family stuff (biking, camping, etc) so the additional ride height with the Outback made sense. I still have yet to open it up cause it's still in the break-in period, but this an excellent overall value. This car feels like I'm still driving my BMW. Subaru got this Outback right. Can't go wrong with Japanese build quality and a German driving feel at a Japanese price tag.
The Outback handles great in every day driving around town or on the highway. Steering is light and responsive. The Outback's 3.0R engine delivers plenty of refined power with a hint of growl. The transmission delivers that power unobtrusively. I normally leave SI drive in Intelligent mode but when necessary "sport sharp" mode (S#) provides that extra punch. The Outback's raised ride height means more suspension travel (take that speed bumps!) and it has a smooth ride over rough surfaces. I think the Outback looks the part of a luxury wagon. The interior is upscale and comparable to my 2004 Passat. The materials feel substantial and fit and finish are excellent. Braking is very sure.
Subaru's legendary AWD is clearly my favorite feature even if it seems to get little use in everyday driving. The electroluminescent gauges are another favorite. The full sweep of the gauges on startup always brings a smile to my face. The multifunction display contains copious information.
(1) driver's window controls should include both the auto down AND up functions; (2) doors should have an auto-locking feature; (3) better sound system with comprehensive satellite radio controls; (4) bring back the weatherband radio; (5) deep tinted sunroof glass; and, (6) a full size spare tire.
I owned a ML350 of very questionable quality and performance and two discoverys before. I pick an Outback looking for a smaller confortable car paying almost one third of the money I paid for the other cars. A big deal! Great off road and fast in road, a lot of space in a not-too-big car.
A fast car, almost a sport car undercover in a family car. Good in both off and on road.
Maybe some more space to put change and small stuff.
Traded our 2002 Bean Outback. This one is a much better performer but the interior has been redesigned for the worse. Controls were moved around to accomodate the opt. Nav. screen (which should be mounted on the dash). Climate controls placed low behind gearshift, audio controls lowered. You used to be able to adjust with a glance, now you have to take your eyes off the road. No storage for cds or loose change. The ashtray barely holds a chapstick. Rear seats no longer fold truly flat. Parking brake lever intrudes on drivers right leg. Odometer/temp/etc multigauge is useless and annoying.
Great engine. SI Drive is fun. Handles well in all conditions.
Redesign the interior from scratch with emphasis on human factors ie. practicality instead of flashy electronics. Subaru should do some focus groups to find out why folks fell in love with older Outbacks.
This is our third Outback H6. We bought our first Outback H6 in 2003 . This was our introduction to Subaru's Line. Since then we purchased 2005 and 2008 H6 model versions of the Outbacks. It is most reliable and fun to drive vehicle and it seems that Subaru just got it right all the way. Every model year gets better and better.
Power, fuel efficiency, size and versatility are awesome combinations.
Features like Home link, night driving auto adjusting rear mirror should be standard features in H6 models. Exterior and interior colour combinations are inflexible.