This is truly a great car. It is versatile, safe, reliable, and fun to drive. With 44.4 cu/ft of cargo space, 60/40 fold-flat seats, the car can handle anything I throw at it. With the car's AWD system and 6 standard air bags it offer's a level of confidence on the road unlike any of the other cars I test drove. Lastly, Subaru has found a great balance between ride and handling. The car rides completely different then it's predecessor with a subtle ride, yet still contains the prowess to be tossed into a turn. The car is not without it's faults, though, as the hard plastic that completely covers the interior and tires seem to amplify the little road noise that find their way into the cabin.
This car replaced a beloved 2001 VW Golf GLS 1.8t. I was hoping to find something as fun and comfortable as the VW, but with AWD to get me up our steep Vermont hills in winter in the places where the VW failed to make progress. The Outback Sport has turned out to be much more entertaining than I expected. It doesn't have quite the zip of the VW turbo, but it's plenty fast. The biggest surprise was the excellent steering and handling: quite an improvement over the somewhat squishy VW. The next biggest surprise was the fuel economy; I'm getting 28 on average, and as high as 32 on some off-freeway road trips.
This is my first Subaru, I bought it because I wanted a fairly inexpensive car with AWD and a manual transmission and I liked the style of the hatch. The car is a pleasure to drive and gets decent fuel mileage but service and build quality is pretty poor. The car has a large number squeaks and rattles. The paint on the car is terrible, the lower parts of the rear doors and the are behind them have been chipped away so badly after 16,000 miles I already have rust forming. This has to be a design flaw since the front wheels kick everything up on the side of the car and the cheap thin paint chips the second anything touched it. Fuel door release broke has broken twice.
I had a 2004 and had to replace it after I was hit and just not thinking got another hoping it was better as it changed---it didn't, it was NOT better. It gets just pathetic gas mileage to the point where I chatted with other owners that were sure that something was wrong as the mileage was so bad! Then the fantasy.ITs a car that you buy based on the fantasy that you will be 4 wheeling all over the place and plowing through 4 ft snow drifts and lake sized puddles. Reality= trip to grocery / gas station . Not much "fun' to drive . Its not quick and peppy as the 4wd has its drawbacks . Then at high speeds when passing it would lunge in 3rd to 4th and make aloud CLUCK* sound both years. let-down