2005 Subaru Outback Review
Pros & Cons
- Standard all-wheel drive, generous standard equipment list, exemplary build and materials quality, strong power from turbo and H6 engines, balanced ride and handling dynamics, capable performance off-road.
- Desirable features reserved for top-line models, smaller backseat than most competitors.
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
2.5 XT Limited AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
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 its power and handling are excellent, 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 audio 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). UPDATE, MARCH, 2017: In December, after more than twelve years of ownership, I was motivated to trade in my '05 Outback for a 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, which I consider to be more in line with my current driving needs and style than the new Outback. Looking back on my Outback, I still feel it stands out as a specific model worth considering; it's "special." If the features and functions of that car meet your needs, and if you're lucky enough to find one that has been well maintained, I'd suggest you jump on it. But before doing so, given its age, you should probably have a mechanic go over it carefully, taking a particularly close look at such items as the turbo, radiator and seals.
2.5i AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
I have owned many Subaru's and really loved them all except for this problem. Catalytic converter is bad and estimated replacement is $2,000 to $3,000. I have spoken to some Subaru and non Subaru mechanics and all have said this is a common problem. I am not getting any satisfaction from Subaru USA and this has turned a loyal customer into a doubter. They tried a computer fix that did not work. They blame problem on hills and high speeds. The car also had bad rear bearing that were replaced as a recall.
3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
I saw the car on the lot and fell in love with the color (Willow Green) for starters. Thought the flared fenders and rugged looks were awesome. I took it for a ride and the seamless power from 0 to 70 was awesome. It does have a few second delay when you step on it so If you are counting on the 250 horses to make up for the close pull out in traffic, think before you put your nose out there. The huge sunroof is a bit chattery when closed and almost impossible to have open while going over 50 from the wind noise. I tried to buy a sunroof deflector from the dealer and the one listed ONLY fits the sedan, not the wagon.
3.0 R VDC Limited AWD 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
Subaru is "confidence in motion". I have owned many different brands, but the Subarus in that line up were the ones, that were the best bet for the money. The Outback 3.0 is the most reliable of the lot and I can say that I will always have a Subaru parked in my garage!