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2006 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Ltd 4dr Wagon AWD w/Ivory Int (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
WARNING!!! On 8/27/12, we bought a used 2006 Subaru Outback XT with @70K miles. On our first trip to Vermont, with about 400# of dogs and luggage in the back, new all-weather tires and a driver with a spotless 48-year record, on a flat straightaway at @30 mph in snow flurries, the car crept into the oncoming lane. My husband managed to tweek it back into our lane in time to avoid a head-on collision, but the car then spun out of control and hit a tree. The air bags broke both our sternums. I am a very small woman and was unable to breathe right afterwards. It was @9pm and the road was just starting to freeze, so we had slowed down from 50 mph. We ended up sideways in the road with smashed headlights--helpless. My husband managed to climb out and while trying to open my door to attend to me, had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by an oncoming car that then t-boned my side of our car with me still in it.
They took me out on a back board. We both ended up in the hospital with broken sternums and assorted bumps, including a huge knot on my head where it smashed against the side window when the other car struck our car after the wreck--had it been going much faster, I'm sure I'd be dead. A huge local two-day search restored our two dogs to us, fortunately. We lost the car--totaled, just like us. Costs ran high for medical, transport home to CT, new car, etc. The intense, disabling pain lasted many weeks and I still have pain when the weather is bad--probably always will.
In researching why the air bags nearly killed us both, I ran across the "ghost walking" term on line. Undoubtedly, that was the cause of the accident, since my husband had noted earlier on the trip that the car was handling like there was a cross wind even though there was none. That was our only warning of what awaited us that night.
We have owned four Subarus and were dedicated fans. I still own an '09 WRX which I love, but the unconscionable failure of Subaru to "own" this design defect and notify owners and dealers about this very-dangerous problem with the rear toe-in under moderate loads nearly cost us our lives, and a great deal of pain and money.
I had spent a lot of time researching this vehicle prior to purchase but didn't run across this issue--and am amazed that the 2005-09 Outback wagons still have a near-spotless safety record despite this VERY-serious design flaw. If Subaru handles this like they handle most design problems, nothing will come of our report to them and to NHTSA. Perspective buyers of the '05-'09 Subaru Outback wagons (American version only), should research this thoroughly. It only happens to some cars under certain load and road conditions. It you know about the potential problem you can have it checked and fixed (@$500-$1,000) but Subaru is mum about it. Be careful, people. This defect is a killer waiting to strike. I'm sorry that we only owned the car for about a month before it was totaled, so don't have some other details available like gas mileage, etc.
2006 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
To be fair, I bought my 2006 outback in 2013 and had no issues other than normal wear and tear things until 2017. It always leaked a little oil but I kept up with oil changes and checked it often and it never was an issue. The timing belt on mine broke before the expected mileage. It is an interference motor, so the timing belt breaking turned into a $2000 project to rebuild the engine and put a used transmission in. Of course, after that it was fine and would've lasted me a long time I'm sure, but an old lady crashed into it and totalled it. Bad luck I guess.
2006 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
After 100k expect to spend a lot of money. I hear this is typical of most American made cars of this price range;however, so I can accept that. SUbaru Inc. has always been extremely supportive and very fair about fixing mfg. problems, until air bag incident....that was a huge disappointment. Didn't fix for six months! And told me not to allow a jump seat passenger! What?
2006 Subaru Outback 3.0 R 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
To start, the Subaru was my mother's car for almost 10 years and she had bought it barely used with less than 2000 miles on it. Though this is not my car, I have driven it for several thousand miles over the past decade. My biggest complaints with this vehicle are its atrocious steering feel, terrible fuel economy, sub par reliability, obstructive visibility, and cramp inducing seats. Other than that the Outback is pretty average in all other categories. The steering feels loose and the wheel rotates several degrees before the wheels respond. It is a feeling similar to large sedans like a Lincoln Town Car, or offroad capable SUVs like a Jeep Wrangler. If the steering was looser for offroad purposes I would not mark it down, but the Outback is not capable of tackling anything more than a dirt road. The owners manual also warns you that it is not designed as an offroad vehicle. As a result, the car feels a lot heavier and less nimble than other vehicles in the same size category. Second, fuel economy is terrible. It averaged 17 in the city and 26 on the highway for average fuel economy of 22 mpg. This is 2 mpg better than the epa rating, but still worse than contemporary RWD V8s or AWD cars with similar power. Speaking of the AWD, it takes a huge toll on the suspension and steering elements after 10 years. We had to replace a part of the front axel shaft and cv joint as it had worn down and was creating a grinding noise at highway speeds. Parts like that should not wear out in under 60k miles. All other cars we have owned have not had any mechanical failures until reaching over 100k miles. This car was also subject to the Takata airbag recall and the dealer says that we will need to wait another 6 months before it can be fixed after waiting a year already. The final issue is the interior comfort and design. The materials of the interior are mostly cheap hard plastics with a few soft touch panels. The seats were as uncomfortable as you could get in a car. I would develop pain in my lower back and legs after driving or riding in it for about an hour. It is the only car I have experienced this even though I have done 5-11 hours non-stop (except gas) in other vehicles. Blind spot visibility is also poor as the front head rests and side pillars make it difficult to see anything out of the back seat side windows if you are backing out of a parking spot or checking the blind spot. To conclude, the 2006 Subaru Outback 3.0R is a very average wagon that I did not look forward to driving.
2006 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
I learned this is a common problem with Subaru's. Burns oil. Oil light doesn't come on. Engine needs replacing. $7000