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2008 Subaru Outback

Overview
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2008 Subaru Outback Review

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Subaru builds the 2008 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 (Basic Wagon), to sporty (2.5 XT Limited), to luxurious (3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition). 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 2008 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 2008

The 2008 Subaru Outback now consists of five trim levels, all in wagon form. Each receives a revised front and rear fascia, revised rear suspension, updated instrument panel and interior fabrics and a few new standard features.

Driving the Outback

Driving Impressions Ride comfort leads the 2008 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
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.

2008 Subaru Outback Details
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 Basic, 2.5i and 2.5i L.L. Bean trims, while the 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean Editions receive leather trim. Seats are inviting and supportive, visibility is excellent all-around and the Outback runs quietly. The sporty 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition uses an electroluminescent LED instrument display.

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 2008 Subaru Outback Basic Wagon includes front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), cloth upholstery, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 100-watt stereo with six speakers and CD/MP3 player, air conditioning and an alarm system. The 2.5 XT Limited has leather seating, power glass moonroof, six-disc CD changer, dual-zone automatic air conditioning and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition adds a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and L.L.Bean trim.

Optional Equipment

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 and 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, 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: 19/26 (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 (manual), 18/24 (automatic)

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

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2008 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 364 Ratings for the 2005 - 2009 models.

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

I must be the only person who hates his/her Subaru

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Great in snow."

Cons: "Reliability is poor."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Most of what I have to say about the 2006 Outback is negative. I carefully maintain and garage the car, yet it's reliability is poor. It has only 87,000 miles, yet I have replaced the clutch, an axle/cv joint, both lower control arm bushings & front struts. Now I have a bad rear axle bearing, my brake master cylinder is starting to fail and the upholstery on the driver's seat has a hole. I can understand why the clutch would fail. The 2.5 lacks torque and I have to feather the clutch to move it forward. Even my 1986 Tempo was more reliable than this. On the positive side, it is great in the snow and it is fairly easy to service and repair."

I love this car.

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I would not have gotten the Turbo, but I was talked into it. Yes it has that get-up-and-go ability. The engine crumped at 72000. Subaru was gracious and replace the engine. I am forever grateful. So the engine is very good/almost new. This car is a dream to drive, but aren't all Subaru's? The cargo area is big enough for me. The car is comfortable for long trips too. I listen to books on CD and really appreciate the 6 CD deck. Overall I love this car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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

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

"I bought this car new and have loved it! It's got plenty of power, all the bells and whistles and the AWD is amazing. We get lots of snow where we live and it has never had an issue going anywhere and everywhere. It sits higher than many cars and has great clearance. It drives like a sports car. Just love this car!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

outback 05 car fell apart

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: high maintainance

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "fell apart way too soon"

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

"I owned this car, maintained it very well , and at 90,000 miles developed cracked head gasket, heater needed repair , seats tore, rust developed under the car and engine parts, could not maintain a realignment after several attempts, front and back end bushings tore.. The car seemed to be built so solid.. drove very tight and looked great.. seems to be so popular with a great reputation.. Now I see so many reviews just like mine.. and parts and repair are very expensive.. stay away.. I sold the car to a dealer and the trade in was a disaster... see KBB for trade to a dealer.. cant sell to an individual unless they are a mechanic.. I bought a Toyota.."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

3rd and last Subaru

By on Friday, February 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Great all weather cars , easy basic mtc."

Cons: "2.5 engines head gasket issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I currently own a 09 Outback 2.5 I. I love the driving experience best in the snow with Snow tires. I just replaced head gasket and several other items totaling $4200.Had a 06 Outback that head gaskets fail at 120k and 260k. First Subaru was a 2000 Legacy wagon that had head gaskets go at 130 and 250 k. Walked away from 1 major wreck without a scratch. Love the driving experience but due to head gaskets failing I will not be buying another Subaru. I am in outside sales covering Wi. Mn. and the Dakotas and put on about 40k a year and drive hard but always keep up on regular service."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Very expensive maintenance

By on Sunday, February 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 154,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "great in snow"

Cons: "high maintenance"

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

"Cloth seats not well made, stain easily ie: rain drops. That is not a joke. Low beam headlamps do not last long, and very difficult to change bulbs. Wipers froze up several times in a rainstorm. Very costly to maintain, car falls apart after a few years."

4 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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