Guide: 5=Perfect; 3=Good; 1=Poor
Pros: What do you like about your 2008 Subaru Outback?
Moderate off-road capability.
Respectable gas mileage.
More cargo space than a sedan.
Cons: How would you improve your 2008 Subaru Outback?
Too little torque (and, generally, a complete lack of sportiness).
Rear seat is too cramped for tall people.
Less cargo space than most station wagons.
2008 Subaru Outback Review:
The 2008 Subaru Outback is a very practical car. It's easy and comfortable to drive, relatively affordable, competent in poor weather conditions, capable off-road and obtains respectable gas millage (28 mpg highway). Despite this utilitarian image, it also offers several luxury amenities. The basic audio system sounds great, all the parts, both inside and outside, are well joined, and (if you're willing to pay a little extra) the leather seats are top notch. It is certainly a well-built car. Not even the smallest details have been overlooked in its design and manufacturing.
If anything negative can be said about the Outback as an every-day kind of car, it's that it sacrifices some interior room to accommodate its trendy, swooping figure. Boxier cars like the Volvo XC70 (The Subaru's closest competitor) offer more cargo and passenger space, despite having similar exterior dimensions.
As far as many people are concerned, it's the perfect upscale, do-it-all car, but it may leave others wanting more. The outback is a great off-road performer as far as station wagons go, and a comfortable touring car too, but, be warned, it is no sports car. So, if you're looking for a fun-to-drive car, you may as well look elsewhere.
Several car magazines have found it to be one of the slowest new cars on the road and the transmission, while perfect for leisurely commuting, is incapable of providing more than a trickle of excitement. It is simply too docile. Even taking manual control of the gear selection proves frustrating. The car's computer has been programmed to automatically up-shifts just before reaching its red line. Try to up-shift manually too late, and you'll end up skipping a gear, which kills the torque you've been building up.
Speaking of torque, this car has very little, which makes finding that head-jerking spot on the tachometer quite a challenge. From a dead stop the car is reluctant to hustle, requiring 11 seconds to reach 60 mph and only really picking up the pace after the engine reaches 4,000 rpm.
In all, the 2008 Subaru Outback is a fine choice for anyone interested in an attractive and practical car. It handles every-day chores with grace and civility, and is even comfortable in poor traction conditions, thanks to it's beautifully engineered all-wheel drive system. As far as most are concerned, that's all that really matters in a car, but, unfortunately, others may find the Outback's lack of performance a real let-down. If you're one of those people, you'd be better off looking into the large selection of sporty hatchbacks currently on the market, like the Mazdaspeed 3 or the Volkswagen GTI (both of which are nearly twice as quick to 60 mph). Or, if you really have your heart set on the Outback, consider one of the two pricier engines that Subaru offers.
Most people considering the Outback won't be at all put off by it's mediocre performance, but it's worth mentioning for those who will. Test drive one at your local dealer and you'll know for sure.
FINAL VERDICT: practical by all measures, fashionable on the street, and boring in the driver's seat.
Reviewed by Trevor
- Santa Barbara, CA
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