"The mechanicals of this car are excellent - it starts without complaint even at -50F (with proper winterization!), it is peppy, sure-footed, and responsive. In the fun-to-drive department, this is definitely the best bang-for-the-buck in an economical family wagon. Compared to the standard 2.5i wagon, the Basic offers no compromises and is therefore an excellent alternative to save some dollars upon purchase.
The only problem I have with this vehicle is its cold-weather build quality and interior rattles. The rattles seem to be more problematic of my particular car than with these vehicles in general, but the cold-weather problems (if the car is cold, windows will not open colder than about -20F, knobs are extremely difficult to move, doors are nearly impossible to latch) are across the board.
That aspect is disappointing considering I owned a 1996 Outback for 220,000 miles and none of these problems were problems with that car.
Also, the rear leg room in this car is diminished compared to my 1996 so the entire cabin area feels more cramped. The floor area of the cargo space is larger and more versatile, however, so that is a plus. For example, the rear seat backs can be folded 60/40 now and the seat cushion does not need to be raised. This allows added cargo room while still utilizing one side of the rear seats for sitting. I know that is no great feat amongst its peers, but is a very nice improvement from ten years back.
The good: fun to drive, versatile, reliable, economical, and attractive. Extremely comfortable, form-fitting seats.
The bad: terrible OEM tires (Bridgestone Potenza RE-92), rattles, cheap shift and parking boots (cracks in cold temperatures approximately less than -20F)."
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