Check its service record. This is not a maintenance-free car, but its build quality and service requirements are much better than I expected. After almost 12 years of ownership and more than 150,000 miles on the odometer, I am still rewarded by the excellent driving experience this car provides. I consider it the "Swiss Army Knife" of vehicles because it handles much like a sports car, its ergonomics are superb, and it carries (along with its roof-mounted cargo box) enough camping gear for an extended road trip. While the manual transmission isn't the world's best (shifting isn't exactly snick-snick), the mere fact that it HAS a manual transmission is exceptional and rewarding. At about 95,000 miles, I invested in a significant update to a number of components, so at 152,000 miles it still handles much like a new car, and I always look forward to opportunities to take road trips with it. The seats in this model are superb, as is the instrumentation. The large sunroof is excellent. The sound system produces very satisfying acoustic quality, even though I did not buy the optional sub-woofers. In today's world, in which far too many vehicles suffer from huge blind spots in the rear-quarter areas, this Outback has superlative 360-degree visibility. At the end of the day, my wish is that Subaru would produce this exact-same car again, updated to incorporate current technology. I'd buy it in a heartbeat. But if you're looking for a rewarding used car, and if you love "the driving experience," I'd highly recommend a close look at a 2005 Outback 2.5XT Limited (with manual transmission, if that appeals to you).
I loved my turbo Outback. It was absolutely bulletproof in the snow--unstoppable with snow tires. It was fun to drive with lots and lots of power. The interior is super comfortable.
Unfortunately it did not love me back. Over the last year it was in the shop overnight at least 5 times for major engine and transmission repair. And on the turbo model, everything is more expensive to fix. A lot more expensive. If it would just hold together I would drive it into the ground. But in the end, it's just not worth bankrupting myself. It was great for a fling, terrible for the long haul.
Now I read reviews from Honda drivers complaining about a $700 timing belt replacement and just laugh.
We bought this car in 2009. For a 2005, and it had low mileage for a 4-year old Subaru (65,000). It looks great (for a station wagon), and the build quality is typical Subaru. No problems so far at 65K. Subaru's flat 4 cylinder engine was re-designed in 2005 and is great! Quiet and smooth. Past Subarus (besides the WRX models) had poor acceleration, but this one really goes! It's very fun to drive this car. The all-wheel-drive is great! Subaru took everything good about the Outback and in 2005 made it better! Brakes- Great Steering- Great Handling- Great Features- leather, huge sunroof, performance tires, 17" wheels, turbo engine, power everything, heated seats/mirrors, AWD.
Turbo engine, good performance and handling. Lots of cool and AWD convenient features. Subaru quality, comfortable seats. Lots of room inside for you and your stuff.
Bad gas mileage (average 20 or less even when driven carefully). Rough ride. Numb steering. Grabby brakes.
This is our 5th Subaru, 2 Legacy's, 1 Justy and 2 Outbacks & this car has been the worst of the bunch. On the positive side, the gas mileage is good, it runs well and the problems have not been anything serious. BUT, we've had trim pop off repeatedly, carpet come loose & handles break. In 4 years/77,000 miles, we've put in 5 headlight bulbs, all front & rear brake pads (my '88 Chevy truck had the original pads and bulbs in it when I sold it in 2004 w/130,000 miles), replaced the interior bulbs 2x, both rear wheel bearings (under warranty at least), put 3 O2 sensors in and now the car has a new whine in the rear. The nearest Subaru dealer is 50 miles away and difficult to deal with.
Good mileage, peppy, headlights that turn off w/the ignition.
It would be nice to be able to lower the windows in "Acc" mode. Who needs their windshield wipers sitting w/the engine off? DRL's are too bright and are easy to confuse for headlights at night. Maybe automatic headlight's/DRL's to prevent DRL's at night?
Still fun to drive but, not thrilled with dealer service which is what I hear from a lot of other Subaru owners. Had to replace tires for the second time earlier this year. Original Potenzas were lousy but, the Goodyear Eagles I replaced them with handled great. Had bearing noise problems which keep my car in the shop for a week around the 25K mark. Car started to die on me at stops earlier this year. Had to spend $360 to have valves cleaned and it runs fine now. Went on trips to Utah and Arizona the car performed great. The XT has been a good blend of performance, comfort, practicality, safety and for the most part, reliability. However, my next car will probably be a hybrid.
Great performance, great seats on XT Limited, big sun roof and good off road traction up in the Eastern Sierras.
2005 didn't have an iPod connection but later models do. Not easy to add without taking apart dashboard.