Used 2005 Subaru Outback Wagon Consumer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
This was my familes second Outback with the first one putting in 10 solid years of service. The only thing that was lacking for me was that there was not sufficient enough power for passing so I was excited to find the turbo model which added greatly to the cars performance numbers and made the car fun to drive. The first turbo blew right around 60k and the second was like clock work at 120k. Sure things break on a car but at $2500 a piece, and the same exact part with the same exact problem...not really. The first time it took 4 weeks to get my car fixed because the turbo was on back order and there were two other cars at the same dealer, with the same exact problem.
This is my third Subaru and it will be my last. Pros: Fantastic AWD System, will flat out go in the snow ! Good gas mileage for a AWD, 27.5 highway, 23 city Easy to work on. Heated Windshield Cons: Cheap interior, Sub Standard factory Stereo System, Head Gasket leaks ! All 3 of my Outbacks have had head gasket issues, once they start leaking, they drip on the exhaust and the oil vapors come right in the fresh air ducts. If you buy one you WILL be eventually be putting head gaskets on it. At 120K miles, my steering rack is leaking oil bad, one head gasket is leaking and the cat converters are shot ($1860 at Subaru) I have a neighbor with a 2011 Outback that has oil leaks, BEWARE !