Used 2006 Subaru Outback Sedan

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2006 Subaru Outback
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2006 Subaru Outback

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Automatic transmission upshifts too early, desirable features restricted to top-line VDC model, smaller backseat than most competitors.

Used 2006 Subaru Outback Sedan for Sale

Subaru Outback 2006 2.5i 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
91,503 miles
Used 2006
Subaru Outback
2.5i
ListNot Listed
View Details

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Solid all-terrain capability, nimble handling, a varied engine lineup and a luxurious interior make the 2006 Subaru Outback an excellent all-weather family vehicle. If you're thinking of buying a traditional SUV, you may find this Subaru car a better fit.

vehicle overview

We've been fans of the Outback since its inception. Little did Subaru know that back in 1995, when the 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 trim, white-lettered tires and a catchy name, the Subaru 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 and boosted power.

Although an excellent alternative to SUV ownership, the Outback began to lose its edge as more and more manufacturers added kinder, gentler crossover SUVs to their lineups. By the early years of the 21st century, Subaru's heavy-duty wagon was surrounded by a population of car-based SUVs that could do most of what it did, while offering more room for growing families. So for 2005, the Outback underwent a full redesign during which it slimmed down, powered up and slipped into some more stylish digs.

Like the Legacy, the Subaru Outback takes on a sleeker, more angular look this year, but it has a more aggressive grille, raised hood strakes and, on the wagon, dark tinted rear glass. Additionally, Subaru decided that buyers were no longer so enthusiastic about the "just in from the woods" aesthetic of the original Outbacks, so all models wear black-letter tires instead of the expected white-letter sidewalls. In spite of its more upscale look, the Subaru Outback is actually more rugged than ever before. Ground clearance ranges from 8.4 to 8.7 inches depending on the model you choose -- previously, the tallest Outback stood just 7.9 inches off the ground.

Inside, the cockpit has a much more cohesive look along with a classy two-tone ensemble. Meanwhile, there's some big news under the hood. A modified version of the WRX STi's 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque has joined the lineup. Models with this engine are an intriguing alternative to the pricey H6. It has torque and an available manual transmission, and it's the faster of the two and an obvious choice for weekend enthusiasts. For those who prefer the smoothness of six cylinders, the H6 motor picks up variable valve timing and lift this year so that it, too, is up to 250 hp. For those on a budget, Subaru will continue to offer a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine as well.

The 2006 Subaru Outback is a wagon with no equal when it comes to off-road capability and, with a powerful engine lineup and sharp reflexes on pavement, you'll find it fun to drive even when the weather isn't terrible. A small backseat will keep it from competing with larger-capacity SUVs, but for the family of four looking for stylish transportation for all seasons, it could be a perfect fit.

Trim levels & features

The Subaru Outback is available as a wagon or sedan. Wagons come in 2.5i, 2.5 XT, 3.0 R, 3.0 R L.L. Bean and 3.0 R VDC Limited. Limited Packages are available on 2.5i and 2.5 XT models. The sedan comes in a single L.L. Bean trim. The 2.5i models include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a CD player, a power driver seat, cruise control, trip computer and a rear limited-slip differential. Opt for the Limited package and you'll get heated leather seats, a wiper de-icer, a CD changer, dual-zone automatic climate control and dual moonroofs. Upgrade to the 2.5 XT and you get 17-inch wheels, bigger brakes, sport seats and a Momo steering wheel; order the Limited Package to get leather upholstery and the moonroofs. The base 3.0 R model is equipped much like the XT, while other 3.0s come with a full load of luxury amenities, plus a tire-pressure monitor, steering wheel audio controls and mahogany trim. The L.L. Bean model offers perforated leather upholstery, while the VDC wagon is your ticket to stability control and an upgraded stereo. A navigation system is also standard on the VDC; it's optional on the XT and L.L. Bean.

2006 Highlights

A navigation system has been added to the options list for 2006, and trim levels have been realigned. Non-turbo four-cylinder models get a bump in horsepower (now up to 175) thanks to a new variable valve-lift system.

Performance & mpg

The 2.5i model is powered by a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower. The 2.5 XT upgrades to a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0 models come with a 3.0-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder (H6) good for 250 hp and 219 lb-ft of torque. Either 2.5-liter engine can be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is available on 2.5i models while 2.5 XT models get a five-speed auto. The H6 is only available with the five-speed automatic.

Safety

All Outback models have four-wheel antilock disc brakes with EBD, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints. Stability control is reserved for the top-line 3.0 R VDC Limited wagon.

Driving

Out on the road, the 2006 Subaru Outback rides smoothly and feels surefooted in the corners. Taken off-road, it can scamper up a rutted hillside with more gusto than just about any crossover SUV. Although the base engine provides only adequate power, acceleration is quick with either the turbo four or the H6. Unfortunately, the Outback's automatic transmissions still leave much to be desired, as they sap power by upshifting too early.

Interior

Inside, the Subaru Outback has a clean design with high-quality materials. Turbo models have darker interiors with metallic trim and electroluminescent gauges, while 3.0 models get matte-finish wood grain trim on the console that matches the real mahogany trim on the steering wheel. The seats are supportive, but the backseat is a bit tight for adults. Wagons provide 33.5 cubic feet of capacity behind their rear seats; 66 cubes with the seats folded.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Subaru Outback.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

As Advertised--But With Minor Annoyances
VERY selective buyer,01/07/2006
Handling, safety and stability are all as advertised. I waited until I had driven this car on unplowed back roads in a New England snowstorm to post this review, and I must say the car handled extremely confidently in conditions that I otherwise would have shied from in previous vehicles. There is a feeling of solidity while still retaining an edge of sportiness with this sedan, and because there are relatively few 4-door Outbacks out there, it is a unique driving experience. Although I would recommend this car, please be aware it is not without some mind-boggling minor design flaws that make one wonder what some of the engineers were thinking when they put the finishing touches on this baby.
Sweet
Big Purple,10/20/2005
Having driven many of the Subaru wagons I thought I'd try this shorter version. Boy does it go. I think the AWD couple with the excellent handling will prove this model to be the best I have driven. Bring on the rain or snow.
Makes driving fun again
LDH,05/06/2008
I test drove this vehicle about 6-8 times comparing it to Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Acura, Nissan, BMW and each time the handling and "feel good" factor made the Outback the superior choice for me. My wife and I travel to the mountain states each year and can't wait to get into the Outback and put it through mountain roads at a good pace. We also have a Lexus RX 350 and we both barter to use the Subaru each week. If there is a hint of rain or severe weather, the Subaru is the automatic choice. Acceleration and the combined handling with the fuel economy is propelling this vehicle to compete with "all time favorite vehicle owned" for our house. A smart choice.
best Subaru yet
Nell,09/26/2005
I've had 6 Subarus over the years. 3 of them Outbacks. This car is fun to drive, has more than enough power, is strikingly handsome and has enough safety features to make my wife like it as much as I do.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
250 hp @ 6600 rpm
MPG
20 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
175 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
250 hp @ 6600 rpm
See all Used 2006 Subaru Outback Sedan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • 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
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2006 Subaru Outback
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 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