The lower interior design rating is due to bad cupholders, and some of the controls, cruise control on/off master, fog lights, are hidden behind the steering wheel. Rides really well off road, drove total of 8 miles near Holy Jim Trail, orange County, CA. The 2.5 Liter has plenty of acceleration for my driving style. Some road noise at freeway speeds, but NOT too much. Clutch pedal seems to behave differently in LA traffic, maybe due to heat, (does not affect operation of vehicle). A little excessive body roll on turns. Car still handles VERY well despite the roll. I am 6 ft tall and it could use just a little more leg room. I love my Outback!
Unlike many of the reviews, I bought my Outback brand new. It currently has 87k miles on it and has never stranded me anywhere. I change the oil religiously and keep up with the maintenance. When you buy a used car, you never know how the persons) before you have driven or maintained the car. As old as she is, I still enjoy driving her. Too bad the new Outback's do not have manual transmissions. I guest I will have to keep driving her until she blows up.
Performance isn't bad, has some trouble with high speeds, engine struggles to accelerate when RPMS is above 4. But enough with the bad, the car has a decent sound system, is quite reliable, and gets you all the use an SUV would give you with much better gas mileage.
We have now had three Subaru Legacy/Outback wagons. We purchased our first Limited about a year ago with 155k on the clock. This car amazes me even more than the other 2 ever have. This 14 year old car performs perfectly. All the "luxury" features work flawlessly. It cruses around corners and along highways like a BMW. Take it down a dirt road and you'll fall in love. Whenever it snows, I know I am going to get where I need to go without a doubt. These cars are incredibly safe and not one function was overlooked by Subaru. Truly a quality, do-it-all luxury wagon! Only wish it had the dual sunroof..
I bought my Outback Wagon (OBW) in April of 03 with 42k on it. At the time I was unaware of the dreaded head gasket problem! Mine had the AT and the "Rocky Mountain Edition" package which included heated seats, mirrors and wipers. About that: the only seat heater that worked was the driver's side. As near as I can tell the mirror and windshield wiper "heaters" do absolutely nothing. Either that or mine were broken. Lots of fun to drive, especially on dirt roads - it's fun to play rally racer in this car! Ground clearance is better than average at about 7.5" but this is not an off-roader. Mud can get packed into the driveshaft tunnel. Has a lot of capacity. Good car for the money.