i did lots of research looking for a car that combined practical space, versatile in all weather conditions, cross-over aspects, a sense of adventure but confidence....something different from the hundreds of dreary over-sized SUV's out there. always knew Subaru were renowned in the AWD adventure/sport category but was surprised by how versatile the Outback is.
Shopped around a lot, but was won over by the Outback's push-button park brake (wife has physical issues with pull-ups), its interior refinement, its reputation for reliability, its snow-handling prowess (BIG plus). Dealer couldn't have been happier to give a great trade in value and shave 2,500 off MSRP. It has SUV abilities, but drives like a car, and does not jiggle like a tall SUV. We are an empty nest couple in our 60s, who live on a farm in PA, and we need the perfect blend of on-road manners with the guts to get up and down a challenging driveway. It is a relief to find such a vehicle after fighting the SUV wars for decades. Should've done this years ago.
Sold my BMW 330xi and got my new Outback 3.6R Limited. I've gone from the "ultimate driving machine" (which drove great, but didn't have a lot of room for people and stuff, didn't have a lot of ground clearance, and was getting very expensive to maintain) to the "ultimate do absolutely everything pretty well" machine. Tons of room for its exterior size. Plenty of power. Nice ride. Great value. Well built. Amenities are pretty good for this price point. While I miss a bit of how the old car drives when pushed hard on a curvy road, on all other points, I prefer the Subaru.
I bought my OB in January 2014. I originally wanted a Forester, but later decided on the Outback for a better ride, more room and its availability, being that it was manufactured close to home here in the US. The Forester is mfg in Japan and was hard to find what I wanted. For what I wanted the price seemed reasonable. I got the base model with a special appearance package. I also bought one of their extended warranties, as I wasn't 100% sold on the CVT and heard some rumblings from other owners about oil leaks, but I suspect that is from the older engine Gen 2/3. This car is FAR FROM PERFECT. In fact there are some items that are downright annoying to me. However, I still love the car. Comfortable for long road trips, so far very reliable, great gas mileage (32 highway, around 28 around home/work, and winter months about 25 with the change in gas formulation we have here in Illinois). *Acceleration: well, it's a four cylinder with CVT. I'm in no hurry nearly 100% of the time, and in the few times I get frustrated stuck behind a slower RV, I have plenty of passing power -- for a few seconds of 4000 rpm plus revving to get speed, I think the trade off is worth it. *One winter during a snow storm, I had full traction on the snowy roads, while all the other cars (and even big SUVs) around me just had a hell of a time moving up a slight slope at the stop light! *Braking has been good, but sometimes on hard or long braking, it might get spongy. One reviewer had issue in his review. I think he's just a pedal jammer and drives too hard for car of this type. He's right, this car wasn't for him. *The 2015 reportedly is quieter than the 2014, but I'm satisfied. Hey! This is not a high dollar car! The only annoying sound I usually get is the higher revs with the CVT, but it's 95% of the time due to acceleration from a stop and only lasts a few seconds before all's quiet again. *Bluetooth: works well. The first few times it would drop my smart phone and I had to remember how to reprogram it, but it's held firm since then. The voice recognition used for making calls by name, I never use, as it's way too picky and difficult to deal with. *On my 2.5i base model, there is an "MPG" indicator which fluctuates up and down based on how much gas I'm giving and the speed and resistance of the vehicle. This is annoying to me, as it's a constant distraction. However, in the couple years I've had it, it has grown on me and I use it as a reminder to ease off the gas when I can. If you don't pay attention, you can unnecessarily apply more gas with no end result, especially with the CVT and its rubber band effect. In fact, on a start, for example, the engine expectedly revs up and I then ease off a tad -- the revs decrease, but the car still accelerates. *Headlights -- average. A distinct cut off at the top; this can be annoying to some. However, it's adequate and illuminates the road well. *AWD -- need I say anything on this? It's great! *Climate control is good and had good heat/cool distribution. My unit does not have individual/dual controls like other models might have. This is OK, as I usual drive alone. *So far, NO reliability issues. *Last summer 2016, my engine started making some knocking/pinging sounds. I couldn't quite place it, but it sounded like valve knocking. Oil? Actually, no. It was the serpentine belt which wore out prematurely. Thankfully, the repair was only $150 (appx). Warranty did not cover it, under normal wear and tear. This car is great for hauling cargo in, has a modest tow capability, practical, roomy, and drives well. It's not perfect by any means; you have to pay for perfection, if you can get it. It's not a rocket ship. As I mentioned before, I'm in no hurry and the few times I really need to get past a slow moving car, or a merge onto a highway, or dealing with a semi-truck, the four banger does have the power, you just need to feed it the gas and put up with the high revs for a few seconds. Normally, I typically don't exceed 2700 rpm in normal driving. ***4/25/16 update on noise. I replaced the four Continental ProContact tires that came with the vehicle; only 45000 miles. One tire was damaged. I decided to go with four new tires at a local tire shop and used Consumer Reports' recommendation of Michelin Defenders. Here's the update: my car I would estimate is about 25% quieter on tire noise. ***4/16/17 60K check. The dealership found my rear brake pads were at 0%. They thought they might have to replace the rotors and the cost would be much higher. Thankfully, they were able to smooth them off and just put on new pads.
I really like this car, I've been looking into it for the last couple of years. All of the merits fit what I've wanted it for. Lots of room, reasonable gas mileage, car-like handling, off-pavement ability... This car gets it done, after the first couple of weeks getting adjusted to sitting up higher than what i traded in, (2013 Buick Regal GS) I took it on a road trip 400 miles each direction and was very happy with it's comfort for the trip. The seats are great,supportive yet soft while not creating circulation hot spots over long periods, the driver lumbar support is actually very, very good as well.