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2003 Subaru Outback Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Outstanding safety, durability and low maintenance by PJ



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Great car, safe, reliable, affordable, good body, good quality. Choose your Subaru dealer carefully! Ours was fine until they didn't put a T-valve back right - killed our engine (had been perfect at over 280,000 mi.). They did not admit it. We put in 2nd engine (69,000 mi.) & ended up needing spark plug tube seals, 3 timing belt idlers, & new head gaskets. Find an honest mechanic! Do preventive clean-outs: wash out mud from wheel wells; & cage around blower motor. Still great over 339,000 mi.!

Reviewed: 2003 Subaru Outback

4dr Wagon 165-horsepower 2.5L H4 4-speed automatic AWD

Why the 2003 Subaru Outback?

Safety & braking

The 2003 Subaru Outback (& Forester) were very highly rated for safety, including passenger compartment integrity.

Materials & workmanship

Comparable quality to Honda (always loved) - expected to hold up very well in mechanics, body, and interior, and it has.

Front seat support & comfort

Works well both for a short/er driver and a tall driver.

Cargo capacity

Versatile and roomy with back seats that go down (1 or both) for lugging stuff. Trailer hitch also handy.

Audio & nav systems

Good, but we bought separately and had installed a dual cd/cassette player with a great radio -- don't want to give that up!

Why Not the 2003 Subaru Outback?

Driving position & visibility

Driving position is fine, but visibility out the back right side is not as good as I would prefer (but tons better than most SUVs). We've added extra looking as a driving habit to compensate.

Fuel economy

Would prefer getting over 30 mpg.


Gas mileage okay but not what we'd like at 20-24 mpg.

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