Ok. So I am a died in the wool subaru fan but will make no bones about the fact that the H4 (2.5 liter models during these years and current models) have a BOATLOAD of head gasket problems. Their failure rate is very high. I happen to be lucky enough to have the 3.0 H6. I have just about 270k now and it still runs great and burns no oil. I maintain it well and do all the maintenance repairs myself. Have had no major repairs as of yet.
Owned for 10 years, now at 175k miles. It loves the rain and snow... this AWD beast is simply unstoppable no matter the weather. In the winter, I put on Blizzak WS-70's, and it just sticks to the road (snow/slush/ice, bring it!). Driver position on wet freeways is like Goldilocks, just right, and you're above the tire spray. I'm now spoiled with having seat heaters, fog lamps, and wiper defrost. Power has always been fine - I didn't buy it to be a muscle car. Only problems have been occasional oil leaks - valve cover, then oil pan seal. The brakes need changing about every 15 months, but it only takes about 20 minutes per axle and is dirt simple (yay disc brakes!!!). A bit of wind noise at freeway speeds, but some window seal restorer helps. I've now handed her off to a college bound kid without worry; I'm certain this ride has at least another 125k miles in her. My only real complaint was that I stayed with the stock speakers for the first 5 years - what a difference aftermarket makes!
Subaru has long been the go-to for reliability and dependability for those who know of it. Perhaps these vehicles are the best kept secret or perhaps I'm the only one who needs a car monday-friday and a capable awd vehicle with ground clearance which can hold two kayaks and go anywhere in all weather conditions on the weekends. Set aside its diversity, these vehicles are incredibly safe and undoubtedly reliable. Add in heated leather seats, dual sunroof, premium sound, de-icing wiper blades, the torque of the 6-cyl engine coupled with the handling and some all weather mats, this granny wagon is capable of anything and loves a rough stretch of road! 220k miles and counting.
Nice car, be good to it and will probably be good to you.
written on 02-11-2013
We have owned this car for about 5 years,bought the car with 60k and have put a little over 100k on it. The car has been quite an investment to buy and service but has never left us stranded.Head gaskets were replaced shortly after purchase under warranty and have been fine since. I was told subarus can be considered a specialty vehicle and I agree as they are built different than a lot of cars. Still starts right up,shifts smoothly,rides nice. If you are hard on your vehicle and used to putting very little money into it in the meantime, probably not for you.
This is our second Subaru Outback. This car is built so well, no problems, always reliable. I love the handling, the feel of the steering, great brakes, wonderful amenities. I highly recommend this car. This car is refined enough to take to the city for the latest opera, yet tough enough to cross steams and go where I really waant to take it.