2009 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Subaru Outback

  • Straddling the midsize wagon and crossover SUV segments, the 2009 Subaru Outback offers more off-road chops than other wagons and better handling than crossover SUVs. Keep in mind, though, that a third-row seat is unavailable.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Secure handling, excellent safety ratings, standard all-wheel drive, zesty acceleration in 2.5 XT and 3.0 R trims, distinctive styling inside and out.

  • Cons

    "Cozy" backseat, lacks the third-row seat of crossover SUVs, not as fuel-efficient as you'd expect.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Subaru Outback is no longer available in L.L. Bean trim, but stability control is now standard across the lineup. Additionally, the 2.5i Special Edition makes its debut, and all models except for the base 2.5i receive an upgraded nine-speaker sound system.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (1 total reviews)


Nice but needs improvements

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

So far I would say that this car is good but not great. The boxer engine lacks torque. Going up hills requires lots of down shifting. My other cars have way more power and they have similar or smaller engines. The AWD is excellent and is the main reason I bought it. The OEM tires are not that good. They lasted about 18,000 miles before needing replacement. The gas mileage is not good. I get around 23 mph and for an engine that lacks power it adds injury to insult. The build quality is very good. No problems so far and seems tight. I like the way it handles. Very responsive and the steering feels tight. I think many of my issues have been addressed by the 2010 model.



Full 2009 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Subaru Outback is no longer available in L.L. Bean trim, but stability control is now standard across the lineup. Additionally, the 2.5i Special Edition makes its debut, and all models except for the base 2.5i receive an upgraded nine-speaker sound system.

Introduction

The 2009 Subaru Outback has come a long way. A decade ago, Crocodile Dundee was serving as this jacked-up wagon's pitchman in a series of campy television commercials. Today, the Outback has moved decidedly upmarket, with refined exterior styling and a sleek interior layout that rivals that of some entry-level luxury cars. At heart, of course, the Outback remains a Subaru Legacy wagon on stilts, so its premium pretenses aren't entirely convincing. Nonetheless, the Outback offers a unique combination of good looks, SUV-grade ground clearance and a midsize car's handling characteristics -- as opposed to the supposedly "carlike handling" of 4,500-pound crossovers.

Of course, not many Outback owners are going to put those 8.4 inches of ground clearance to use -- but since the Legacy wagon is no longer sold in the U.S., the Outback's the only game in town if you want your midsize Subaru to hold more junk than what fits in a trunk. Happily, the Outback doesn't feel like it's teetering on tiptoes while cornering. Indeed, it feels very much like the Legacy sedan on which it's based, which means sharp steering, sure-footed grip and noticeable but easily managed body roll. Those Legacy roots also help keep curb weight down -- the Outback weighs in at approximately 3,350-3,600 pounds, depending on trim level. That's hundreds of pounds less than even the lightest crossover SUVs.

So what's not to like? Most glaringly, the lack of passenger capacity. There is no third-row seat, which is available on most crossovers, and the backseat is rather tight. The Outback may technically be a midsize wagon, but Subaru markets it as an SUV substitute -- and in terms of passenger accommodations, it doesn't measure up. Then there's the fuel economy, which isn't as high as you'd expect given the Outback's relatively light weight. In fact, if you go with either of the two optional engines -- the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or the 3.0-liter six-cylinder -- your gas mileage will be squarely in crossover-SUV territory.

That said, the 2009 Subaru Outback has a lot going for it. All-wheel drive is standard, impressive power is available in 2.5 XT or 3.0 R trim, and it's among the safest cars on the road. It doesn't hurt that the Outback boasts unusually sophisticated styling for a midsize car. But we'd still recommend taking a look at competing wagons and crossovers as well, including the Volkswagen Passat wagon, Ford Taurus X, Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander and Toyota Venza. Premium alternatives include the Saab 9-5 wagon, Volvo V70 and Volvo XC70.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Subaru Outback is a midsize wagon with standard AWD. There are five available trim levels: base 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition, 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R Limited.

Standard equipment on the base trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, keyless entry, an outside temperature display, full power accessories, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning and a satellite-radio-ready audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary input jack. The 2.5i Special Edition adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, roof-rail crossbars, heated exterior mirrors, a power driver seat, front seat heaters, an upgraded 440-watt audio system and a 12-volt power outlet. The 2.5i Limited tacks on a dual-pane sunroof, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and an in-dash six-CD changer.

The 2.5 XT Limited comes equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine as well as the 2.5i Limited's roster of features, and adds a hood scoop, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and a power front passenger seat with lumbar support. The 2.5 XT Limited also includes SI-Drive, which allows the driver to adjust the electronic throttle's responsiveness and -- if applicable -- the automatic transmission's shift points. The top-of-the-line 3.0 R Limited comes with a six-cylinder engine and adds faux wood accents, electroluminescent gauges and a steering wheel with leather and real mahogany trim.

A navigation system is optional on 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R Limited models.

Powertrains and Performance

The AWD 2009 Subaru Outback has three available engines. The 2.5i models are powered by a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that puts out 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5 XT Limited gets a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine good for 243 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. Powering the 3.0 R Limited model is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that generates 245 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition and 2.5 XT Limited models come with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic; 2.5i Limited and 3.0 R Limited models are automatic-only.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg city/26 highway and 22 combined for 2.5i models; 18 city/24 highway and 20 combined for 2.5 XT models; and 17 city/24 highway and 20 combined for the 3.0 R.

Safety

The 2009 Subaru Outback comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints. In government crash tests, the Outback earned a perfect five stars across the board for 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 bigger 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 are 33.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Flip them down and 66 cubic feet are available.

Driving Impressions

If you're that rare Outback owner who elects to venture off-road, we'd recommend keeping to light-duty trails. Nonetheless, the 2009 Subaru Outback acquits itself surprisingly well in the grass and dirt, thanks to all those inches of ground clearance. On paved roads, the Outback does a pretty good impression of the now-discontinued Legacy wagon -- only enthusiastic drivers will detect the Outback's distinctly higher center of gravity. The base engine is just adequate, and it's a real snooze when paired with the slow-witted four-speed automatic. The 2.5 XT's turbocharged-4 is downright quick, however, and the 3.0 R's six-cylinder power plant provides broad-shouldered passing power.

Talk About The 2009 Outback

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs