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2009 Subaru Outback

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2009 Subaru Outback Review

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Subaru builds the 2009 Outback for active individuals who shudder at the thought of driving a fuel-thirsty SUV. Based on the popular Legacy sedan platform, the Outback takes Subaru's four-wheel-drive philosophy one step further by increasing ground clearance, adding protective side cladding and offering a host of accessories designed to carry various types of equipment and cargo. Offered in wagon trim only, the rugged Outback models range from simple (2.5i Wagon), to sporty (2.5 XT Limited), to luxurious (3.0 R Limited). Engine choices vary by model and include a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder and a refined six-cylinder. Subaru's legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive is standard, as is the ability to go just about anywhere four wheels can travel.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the sure-footed traction of all-wheel drive but shudder at the thought of driving a big, fuel-inefficient SUV, the 2009 Subaru Outback is the answer. All-wheel-drive confidence and new safety features add up to a prudent and pleasurable road experience, heightened by a comfortable highway ride.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need an off-road vehicle that can also tow heavy loads and seat seven, the Outback is no match for a truck-based, V8-powered SUV.

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Subaru Outback drops the L.L. Bean trim, while a new Special Edition package is offered on the base car consisting of heated front seats, a power driver's seat, windshield wiper de-icer, heated side mirrors, fog lights, a limited slip rear differential and 17-inch alloy wheels. A new 440-watt harman/kardon stereo is standard on all models except the base 2.5i.

Driving the Outback

Driving Impressions Ride comfort leads the 2009 Subaru Outback's list of benefits. On rougher surfaces, though, the suspension tries its best to maintain a level attitude but some occupant-tossing may occur. Acceleration...

with the turbocharged engine is swift; nudge the pedal at a standstill and the XT Limited will move forward with enthusiasm, though response to pass or merge on the highway isn't quite so assertive. Quiet-running, an Outback maneuvers well, but requires more steering effort than some drivers might find reasonable. Overall, the XT Limited isn't quite as much fun as you might expect of a smaller, turbocharged car, but that's easily outweighed by its sensible utility.

All-Wheel Drive
This could be Subaru's number-one selling point, since no other manufacturer makes such a system standard on all models.

Semi-Manual Shift Mode (SI-DRIVE)
Tapping a steering-wheel button in the 2.5 XT Limited lets you downshift briefly without going into full manual mode. This can be handy when road or traffic conditions change suddenly, and the transmission resumes normal operation as soon as the temporary situation ends.

2009 Subaru Outback Details
2009 Subaru Outback photo Interior

Like most aspects of the Outback, its dashboard and control layout convey a down-to-business personality. Subaru notes that the Outback's seating position provides a more "commanding" view than ordinary wagons. Two-toned interiors are fitted with cloth upholstery on the base 2.5i and 2.5i Limited trims, while the 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R Limited receive leather trim. Seats are inviting and supportive, but front and rear seat legroom is only average. Visibility is excellent all-around and the Outback runs quietly at all speeds. The sporty 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R Limited uses an electroluminescent LED instrument display, and a five-speed manual is offered on the both the base trims and the 2.5 XT Limited.

Exterior

Subaru calls the Outback the "world's first sport utility wagon," calling attention to its pronounced wedge-shaped profile. Its SUV-like attributes are subtle but noticeable. Aerodynamic ground-effects components blend with more pronounced wheel arches to give it a bolder stance. There's a spoiler on the liftgate and, on the 2.5 XT Limited turbo model, a functional hood scoop feeds air to the engine's intercooler.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i Wagon includes front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), cloth upholstery, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 100-watt stereo with six speakers and MP3 compatible CD player, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel and an alarm system. The 2.5i Limited adds a panoramic sunroof, power driver's and passenger seat, Sportshift automatic transmission, dual-zone automatic climate controls and steering-wheel mounted audio controls. The 2.5 XT Limited adds a 243-horsepower turbocharged engine, leather seating and SI drive control, while the 3.0 R Limited adds a six-cylinder engine, five-speed automatic transmission, leather seating and an auto dimming rearview mirror with compass.

Optional Equipment

The 2.5i Special Edition package adds to the base car an eight-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar, heated front seats, fog lights, heated side mirrors, 440-watt nine-speaker harman/kardon audio system with single MP3 compatible CD player, limited-slip rear differential, windshield wiper de-icer, a cargo cover and cargo tray, 100-pound roof rack cross bars and 17-inch alloy wheels. Practical-duty accessories include a bike carrier and ski attachment set. Buyers have three engine choices and three types of all-wheel drive from which to choose, but they are available according to model rather than as separately ordered options. Individual options include upgraded audio, remote start, SIRIUS or XM Satellite radio and DVD navigation.

Under the Hood

The Outback offers three engine options: A 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter six-cylinder. The normally-aspirated 2.5-liter boxer engine produces enough power to suit most non-enthusiast drivers. It also offers the best fuel economy. The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine provides nearly the same horsepower as the 3.0-liter six-cylinder, but offers more torque at a lower rpm and the option of a manual transmission, perfect for performance driving. The 3.0-liter six-cylinder found on the luxury models is strong and smooth and is matched with Variable Torque Distribution, which is Subaru's most sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.

2.5-liter Boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)

2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
243 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
241 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24

3.0-liter Boxer-6
245 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
215 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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2009 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 377 Ratings for the 2005 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Great for an active outdoor lifestyle.

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Gets anything anywhere"

Cons: "too much plastic on body"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Holds a lot of rock climbing gear Holds a mountain bike inside, or 3 on the roof. Holds camping gear for 4 I feel safe when my kids drive it."

By far...best car I have ever owned!

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "RELIABLE"

Cons: "NONE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Have owned this 'Subie' since new and can say it is the best vehicle I have ever purchased. It currently has 58,000 miles and the ONLY issue ever was a battery replacement about 3 years ago. Fun to drive, reliable and safe! In fact, we have given the car now to my daughter who recently (year ago) started driving. I feel confident with her behind the wheel of this quality machine. In fact, we have now bought our second 'Subie' (2014 Forrester) and are (so far) very pleased with it as well! SUBIE means QUALITY and LOYALTY!"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

handsome car, plenty of room but not a fun drive

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Base engine is lethargic, have not had a chance to test AWD in the snow but I do not find this adequate for merging into freeway traffic or trying to pass trucks, especially when going uphill!"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

best vehicle i have owned

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "does everything, looks great inside and out"

Cons: "MPG city - but I have fun when I drive..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"very utilitarian: have hauled many lbs of paving stones and garden soil in the back, AWD great, copious space in wagon for hauling; classy and well-designed: love the looks of it inside and out and have received many compliments on interior; driving: excellent road and highway manners, all the speed and pick up i need. no problems with it. i maintain it well."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Really like the car and would buy another one.

By on Sunday, June 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Tight, quality, economical, safe."

Cons: "Head/tail lights fail if driving on rough roads."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The car is very well built with a solid thud when the doors shut, not the rattling found on other cars. The only complaint I have is that I lived on an unpaved road for a short period of time and the halogen headlights and taillights seemed to fail quite regularly. Once the road was paved and all was smooth, the problem seems to have waned. You may consider this in the cost if you live on a rough road as these lights can run $16 to $25 dollars to replace each time."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great first 110000 miles, after that, not so much

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good looking, fast and nimble, all weather star"

Cons: "Frequent and expensive repairs after 110000 miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Great car for first 110000 miles. Unfortunately, between 110000 and 116000 had to replace timing chain, blown turbo, and wheel bearings. All which were VERY expensive fixes. Nagging problems were burned out headlamps (several on both left and right front), poor quality exterior trim and interior leather, and expensive premium fuel is required. Positives; really good looking in red, very quick with turbo, terrific handling on snow, ice, and rain (with replacement Goodyear TripleTreads, the original Bridgestone RE92's were terrible), heated seats and double pane sunroof. We have had none of these problems with our Forester or our Legacy."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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