We have owned 4 different Subarus. We bought the 2009 Outback new. It has had three major repairs since purchase. The most recent was a rebuild of the transfer case which cost $2200. We never had these types of major repairs before. I expect better from Subaru being an owner since 1991. They just aren't as good as in the past.
Engine quality is terrible in these 2.5 engines. Please read all the reviews before you buy one. Blown head gaskets are the norm and repairs are $2500-3000 or a new engine for $4500. even at 110K the engine is gone. maintained regular and treated the car good but the seals in the engine went out earlier causing bad oil leaks then a cam issue and finished off the fun with a blown head gasket. Would not buy another Subaru ever
This was my first, and last Subaru, I bought. I thought the car would be reliable after reading and researching prior models. This car is the closest thing to a lemon I could think of. After 6 months of ownership the interior of the vehicle was breaking apart. Small holes in the stitching in the doors and the center counsel lid broke. Subaru repaired the lid and it soon broke again. Very cheep. The handling and engine performance became horrible after a couple of years. As of today, the power steering unit is shot - not sure what this will cost yet to replace. I recently had the transmission leak and the thermostat sensor replaced at the dealership ($600.00 plus). Then a month later the valve cover gasket broke causing oil to run into and foul out the plugs. This repair cost over $850.00 once they figured out what was wrong with it. I'll sum it up here, this is a terrible car. Don't buy one, it's no Toyota. It gets horrible gas mileage and over time has no engine power. It just screws you over with repairs.
Bought the car used with around 60K; it's now at 114K. Drove the newer generation, but found it rode too truck-like, and was kind of noisy, with an unrefined drivetrain. It was also hard to see out of and had particularly uncomfortable front seats. This generation is more car-like and the better for it (haven't driven the latest gen, though). It's an incredibly versatile vehicle - it drives like a sedan (and is fairly luxurious with the heated leather seats and wood trim), but has more cargo room than a similarly sized/equipped SUV. The downside is the drivetrain, which, though not as noticeably as the same-level one in the next generation, still lacks refinement, being a bit noisy and having some vibration. At certain speeds the transmission pauses before engaging, clunking when it finally does. Also the dual climate control doesn't work well, leaving both front seat occupants unhappy. But overall the car is comfortable and efficient both in town or on the highway and is like a Swiss pocket knife in terms of usability, perfect for hauling everything from furniture to dogs to groceries, while still being easy to park and decent on gas, and it has been completely reliable. Build quality is excellent, too, with interior and exterior materials holding up fantastically, even though the car's not garaged. If you're far from a major city, you may have a hard time finding people who understand this relatively rare car and how to work on and properly outfit it with brakes, tires, etc., and service things like the differentials, so keep that in mind.
UPDATE: Well, once the Outback reached around 125K, we encountered a major problem that despite all of our research prior to buying the car we somehow never heard about: head gasket problems. Apparently some head gaskets for this model are prone to fail, and ours did - on a road trip, no less. The car was failing, with major oil seepage both into and out of the motor, and we couldn't schedule an indie shop for a repair in time, so we had to have it repaired at the dealership (ouch). While we've been assured that now it?s good for 100K miles or more (a better head gasket was installed), the car, after all we've put into it at this point, basically has no resale value for us - we could only hope to recoup what all we've spent on it. So keep this in mind if you're considering one of this model year. So that?s about $25,000 total for a car that's lasted 70K miles, should we decided to sell it. Not such a good deal after all.
I bought a 2009 Outback last year and was so happy to have another Subaru. Several months after purchase I noticed a loud rattle in the front, took it to the dealership who told me there were issues with the 2008/2009 Heat Shields - and they replaced mine. The rattle problem seemed to be resolved, however 2 months later - it is rattling again. This time the dealership showed me Memo's of consumer complaints of the rattle - and stated it would probably continue because these Heat Shields are just 'clipped' together instead of being 'bolted' together. AND - be prepared for it to be much worse in the winter time. I wish I knew this in advance - very disappointed! : (