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I own a 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5. Currently done 50,000 miles and going strong. Advantages 1. Not a common car. You hardly ever see an Outback (unlike driving a Mondeo estate!) 2. The engine sounds great 3. Very roomy and flexible for transporting items 4. The AWD system is great. It performed extremely well in the recent snow. 5. For 2.5 petrl engine the economy is not that bad (26-30MPG). I have had mine converted to LPG so it relatively cheap to run. 6. Reliabiliy is great. Never had any issues part from wear and tear. Disadvantages 2. Expensive to repair. The parts are extremely high quality, however there seems to be a lack on non subaru replacement parts. I recently had the 50,000 service, cambelt changed and new front discs and pads and it came to £750! I trust my garage as I have bee using it fior years. They said it was simply due to the price of the parts. You also have more items to service compared to a 2wd car - e.g AWD transmission oil. Summary - I would buy another one. I have test driven the diesel model and its lovely.
Subaru have started to develop a rock solid image as of late, it seems they just can't put a foot wrong, and as always they're building cars to an excellent standard. Of course the thing that everyone knows about them is that they're reliable, but with really bland and tacky interiors. This is no longer true for the Legacy Outback. This car has a beautiful, almost german interior to it. To sit in, you have to really try hard to know that the engine is running, and you don't get any rattles or squeaks that you'd expect from a Subaru. The car is incredibly well equipped too, offering alloy wheels, a twin sunroof and air conditioning as standard. The 3.0 comes with leather as standard too, and there's the option of electronically adjustable seats, with 2 user presets. The models with "n" in the name come with navigation, so the 3.0Rn is really the top of the range and also offers subaru's SI drive, allowing you to control the throttle response from the cockpit. The 2.5 model is also worth considering, it's just a bit slower. Subaru have just started making diesel engines, which is great, though I've not tested one yet. So once you get in the car, you're instantly wrapped in a sort of luxury previously only known to drivers of high end german cars. Insert the unusually large key and turn it on, and you're not quite sure whether it's on or not, as it's all so smooth and quiet. The 3.0 litre 6 cylinder boxer engine is the one to go for really, offering around 240bhp and oodles of torque to project you to 60 in around 8 seconds (it's quite a heavy beast). The sound of the engine in the higher revs is delightful too, it has a sort of porsche note to it. So taking it for a spin, the engine pulls everywhere, the auto box is brilliant, it seems to know everything that you'd want it to, and it's smooth to boot. You don't get any jerky feelings when you put your foot down. Handling is superb, as you'd expect from the world rally championship winning brand. The 4 wheel drive is permanent, set on pretty much a 60% rear, 40% front power system, which can be a little understeery, but generally you won't find those limits anywhere near legally on the road, it's a bit like it's WRC cousin, the Impreza, in that way. The ride is soft enough to absorb bumps with ease, but hard enough to provide you with ample performance for some fun. The strangest thing is that you know it's a big car, it's quite a beast when you're looking at it, but then from behind the wheel you feel as if you're driving a much smaller car. The interior is incredibly practical, offering 4 cupholders, plenty of little cubby holes, and a massive boot, easily big enough for 2 large dogs. The materials are of good quality, though the marble look trim in the '06 model might not be to everyone's taste. Overall then, this is a great car. And being a Subaru you know that it'll last for miles and miles. You can pick up a good example for just over £10,000 now, and near new options for about £18,000. New they are about £23-£30k, depending on options. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that the range topping 3.0 car slots into the G rating tax band, so cars made after March 2006 will cost you £400 in tax for a year! Go for an earlier model, or a 2.5 (which is still good, just not quite as fast), and you'll be looking at a more sensible £225.