Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan

2003 Subaru Outback
List price range
2003 Subaru Outback


  • The security of all-wheel drive, comfortable on pavement, capable on dirt, well-appointed interior.


  • Not as capable as an SUV in terms of pure off-road capability or interior volume, four-cylinder models lack verve, upscale models are expensive.

Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan for Sale

Subaru Outback 2003 Limited AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
162,867 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Outback
ListNot Listed
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Edmunds' Expert Review

A versatile alternative to mainstream wagons and crossover SUVs.

vehicle overview

Introduction: Regular readers will know we've been fans of the Outback since its inception. Little did Subaru know that back in 1995, when the tiny Japanese automaker introduced a gussied-up Legacy Wagon called the Outback, that it was about to revolutionize the way Americans thought of sport-utility vehicles. Essentially a trim package that included gray tape, white-lettered tires and a catchy name, the Outback became a phenomenon in 1996 after it was billed "The World's First Sport-Utility Wagon."

That's the year Subaru raised the suspension, added large headlight-size foglights, boosted power and tacked on more substantial SUV design cues like an optional metal bar on the tailgate and a raised roof section aft of the front seats. Further improvements during successive years included the addition of a leather-lined Limited model, dual sunroofs and powertrain refinements.

No doubt you also recall past commercials for the Outback wagon. Good 'ol Crocodile Dundee (Aussie actor Paul Hogan), flails an Outback through Australia's Outback, outrunning the bad guys. Admittedly, the advertising never showed this Subaru traversing any seriously rough terrain, but the message was simple: The Legacy Outback will outrun the competition when the pavement disappears because it's actually a tall, nimble car rather than a bulky, overweight truck.

With responsive handling, a choice of a flat-four or flat-six engine, a well-appointed interior and oodles of sheer chutzpah, the 2003 Subaru Outback is one of our preferred crossover vehicles. Furthermore, it has a solid reputation for durability and quality. Recent entries from Honda and Toyota (the Pilot and Highlander, specifically) have eclipsed the Outback in terms of versatility, but the Subaru is still certainly worth considering.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: Like the Legacy that it's based on, the Outback is available as a sedan or a wagon. There are seven different versions: base wagon, a Limited sedan and wagon, an H6-3.0 sedan, an H6-3.0 L.L. Bean Edition wagon and an H6-3.0 VDC sedan or wagon. Even the base and Limited models have a high level of standard equipment, including air conditioning, a six-way power driver seat, heated front seats and side mirrors, cruise control, a CD player and keyless entry. The Limited also features dual power moonroofs (just one on the sedan), upgraded audio and leather upholstery.

Above and beyond the Limited, the H6 models automatic climate control, an air filtration system, an eight-way power driver seat and woodgrain-pattered trim. Order an L.L. Bean Edition, and you'll also get special leather trim and a three-year scheduled maintenance package. The VDC sedan and wagon come with Subaru's stability control system, called Vehicle Dynamics Control, as well as an impressive McIntosh audio system.

Powertrains and Performance: Every Outback comes with standard all-wheel drive. Powering the base and Limited models is a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine producing 165 horsepower. Acceleration is barely adequate with this engine; those planning on frequent hauling of people and cargo will likely want the more powerful 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Like the four-cylinder, it's horizontally opposed, and it brews up 212 horsepower. The only transmission offered with the larger engine is a four-speed automatic.


Interior Design and Special Features: Cabin aesthetics have never been one of Subaru's strong points, but substantial improvements over the past few years in both design and material quality have turned the Outback into a legitimate near-luxury contender. The wood trim is convincing, the leather is supple and there's plenty of soft-touch material where it's needed. The rear seat is comfortable, but three adults will find it very cramped. In wagon form, the Outback can hold about as much cargo as an SUV; with the rear seats folded down, there's 68.6 cubic feet of room available.

Driving Impressions: Thanks to the AWD system, the Subaru is sure-footed on both dry and wet roads. The H6-3.0 VDC, with its stability control system, is even more so. A tight, responsive steering rack, along with a decent-riding suspension, allows Outback owners to overtake SUV owners quickly when the road gets twisty. While no match against SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Nissan Xterra in terms of hill climbing, the Outback can hold its own in light off-road situations without losing an oil pan or cracking a differential.

2003 Highlights

Only minor changes have been made to the 2003 Subaru Outback. All models have freshened front-end styling and revised front struts. The struts feature internal rebound springs that are said to reduce body roll when cornering, as well as brake dive. In terms of features, the four-cylinder powered Outbacks gain the formerly optional All-Weather Package as standard equipment. The base Outback now has a standard CD player, and Outback Limiteds have an upgraded audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. All six-cylinder Outbacks now have the OnStar communications system. Finally, the Outback H-6 3.0 VDC's premium McIntosh audio system has been fitted with an in-dash six-disc CD changer.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Subaru Outback.

03 outback 2.5L SOHC
great car very reliable recommend changing the factory head gaskets their junk and upgrade them and youll never have the problem again ik i havent other than that the tranny and engine runs great havent had any other issues with the car other than minor stuff here and their like tube seals and blown dash light 10 yrs old so i thinks shes done me good still gets me from a - z fires up EVERYTIME one lesson i learned for anyone looking to do spark plugs though only run ngk plugs and wires amazing difference
200,000 miles and counting!
I bought this car brand new in 2003. It has been problem free and reliable, I can honestly say this has been the best car I have ever owned. I would gladly buy another new 6 cylinder Subaru without a second thought.
My first Subaru
After having driven Ford products for my entire adult life I have purchased a brand new Subaru on an impulse. I was drawn to its sleak design and sporty appearance. What brought me to the Subaru dealership was my interest in trying an AWD vehicle. So far I am very impressed with the ride and the handling. I certainly hope this vehicle will continue to perform as one would expect from a Subaru.
High mileage, still runs like new
Snow shredder,10/17/2008
No major mechanical problems. Routine stuff like brake calipers and pads but nothing major. Still is rock solid, lots of power (V6), great in the snow, slush and rain and fun to drive. Presently have goodyear assurance tripletred tires and recommend them on this car. All in all, still love the car.
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Features & Specs

17 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
212 hp @ 6000 rpm
17 city / 23 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
212 hp @ 6000 rpm
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2003 Subaru Outback
Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan Overview

The Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan is offered in the following styles: VDC AWD Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A), H6-3.0 AWD 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A), and Limited AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan?

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Which used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedans are available in my area?

Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2003 Subaru Outback Sedan.

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Can't find a used 2003 Subaru Outback Outback Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Outback for sale - 2 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $11,267.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $14,567.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Outback for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $11,950.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,900.

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Should I lease or buy a 2003 Subaru Outback?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Subaru lease specials
Check out Subaru Outback lease specials