2008 Subaru Outback Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Fine ride and handling balance, enjoyable power delivery from XT Limited's turbocharged engine, excellent build and materials quality, sure-footed in snowy or light off-roading conditions, outstanding crash test scores.
- Tight backseat for a midsize car, automatic transmissions sap performance, stability control not available on lower trim levels.
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (3.0L 6cyl 5A)
Traded our 2002 Bean Outback. This one is a much better performer but the interior has been redesigned for the worse. Controls were moved around to accomodate the opt. Nav. screen (which should be mounted on the dash). Climate controls placed low behind gearshift, audio controls lowered. You used to be able to adjust with a glance, now you have to take your eyes off the road. No storage for cds or loose change. The ashtray barely holds a chapstick. Rear seats no longer fold truly flat. Parking brake lever intrudes on drivers right leg. Odometer/temp/etc multigauge is useless and annoying.
2.5I Limited 4dr Wagon AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
We bought this car used in 2010 with 17,000 miles on it. It was a great car until it hit about 70,000 when it started having regular repair issues that really shouldn't happen. I fully expect to do maintenance on any vehicle for parts that wear out, but these problems are something different entirely. First it was the head gasket problem that most of these have, that came to just under $2,000 for repair (known issue that should have been covered by Subaru). Over the last three years I had problems with the ground wire in the radio that I had "fixed" three different times until it went out entirely and I had to have the radio head unit replaced for $500. The wires in the rear lift gate began breaking about a year ago causing my tail lights to go out. This is apparently a common issue as well and is very dangerous (no tail lights at night) and should have been recalled. That was $400 to replace. My catalytic converter is going out now and apparently it has been recalled in some states, but not in mine so it's going to cost me another $1,000. I also have problems in the passenger airbag light/switch that the dealership is telling me will be another $350 to fix. A little research on the internet tells me that it is bad soldering on a circuit board (another common enough problem that it can be found on youtube). Like I said, I gladly pay for regular maintenance and parts on a vehicle but these things are not "normal" problems and seem to be regular occurrences on Subarus. Tack on to this substantially decreased winter mileage (I expect some, but not 15%-18%), and I can't see myself purchasing another Subaru. Sure, you can probably pass them on to your children when you upgrade to a new one (just like the commercials show), but you're going to spend a lot of money to keep it that long and you'll be saddling them with something that appears to require regular, expensive repairs.
4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
Talk to independent car mechanics before buying this car. It is apparently widely known among mechanics that Subaru used sub-standard head gaskets almost ensuring an $1800 eventual repair. Subaru refused to admit it and forced their customers to foot the bill when it should have been a recall. Lots of other bad designs on this model too. Like a rear hatch handle that collects all the road grime and stops working because it won't spring back, even after a "repair" by the dealership. Like a dual-muffler design that traps exhaust moisture at the "Y" prematurely rusting it out. Like a welded heat shield above the exhaust pipe that resonates at certain rpm's and threatens to loosen your teeth fillings and drown out the sound of the radio. Like needing new brake pads/rotors more often than any other car I've ever owned. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this car.
4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
After getting tired of my '99 Legacy Outback and it's constant overheating, (to be fair it has 256k miles on it) I decided I wanted a new car. I researched a lot in the 10-15k range. I chose the Outback again for the awd/mpg/style/room/reliability. It has everything you need. It is more comfortable than my '99 even though it's a base model. (Even comes with seat heaters!) I was able to get this car with 41,000 miles on it back in November. So far I've put 11,000 on it and it still runs excellent! I've taken it on dirt, up steep roads and gravel and it does it all. Last time I recorded just highway miles I got 28mpg! However, I usually average 24.