2002 Subaru Outback 2.5 from North America


Wouldn't buy another


Head gaskets failed at 80,000 miles, requiring over $1000 in repairs, not including the head gaskets.

No advance notification by dealer or S.O.A. of the head gasket problem.

Door seals failed at around 50K miles. Interior of the car is extremely noisy.

General Comments:

Seats are hard as bricks. They're OK for trips under two hours. For longer journeys, they're unacceptable.

Good car for snow. Tracks well and maintains traction even with ice and slush on roads.

Lots more interior room than one would think.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd March, 2009

2002 Subaru Outback 2.5 gasoline from North America


Nice, but the quality is lacking on some items


Wind noise front passenger window.

Lots of hot coolant and burnt oil smells.

Head gasket blew at 109,300 miles.

General Comments:

Has been a relatively good car.

Disappointed with head gasket problem, seems they put in coolant additive to postpone known head problems till the warranty runs out.

Always seemed to have coolant or oil smells.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2009

3rd Aug 2010, 20:26

There is no additive to stop a head gasket from failing. That's just the normal mileage for them to fail. It is a regular, known problem with these engines.

4th Aug 2010, 10:32

"There is no additive to stop a head gasket from failing."

Sure there is. It's called Porter Seal.

13th Oct 2013, 13:42

Never EVER use any sort of stop-leak. It will clog everything else in the cooling system and create worse problems later on. I've seen it first hand many, many times; it's always the same. Look it up on YouTube; there are many videos on the subject.

2002 Subaru Outback L.L.Bean H6 H6 from North America


Never again


At about 58000 miles, the engine was leaking oil. I had just taken it to the dealer for a service (60000 mile) and they said nothing about it. If a conscientious quicklube mechanic hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have known until disastrous damage would have occurred. I took the car in to the dealer and fortunately, the powertrain warranty was good to 60000 miles - 2000 more miles and I would have been out of luck.

The dealer "fixed" the leaks... after a week of sitting in the shop. Driving off the lot, the gaskets began leaking. I drove it back on the lot and left it for another 2 weeks. Finally, after a new head gasket, the car wasn't leaking.

A little research online revealed that this is a common trouble with subaru engines. I thought the H6 motor would be utterly reliable - and I must admit it ran well in spite of the gasket trouble.

An alternator went bad at about 65000 miles, the rotors warped, the passenger side window (motorized) refused to work and the glass fell off the pane. The air conditioner stopped blowing cold air due to a leak in the system (new compressor needed). The transmission started to leak, and then the engine started to leak oil again.

Many thousands of dollars of work needed to get the car back in tip top shape... forget it.

Do yourself a favor. Don't believe the consumer reports hype about the Subaru outback. Research it yourself and find out why this car is a money pit.

General Comments:

I will never even consider another Subaru due to the high cost of maintenance and ownership.

Gas mileage was very poor, only averaging 20mpg although quite consistently. I found I only used it as a wagon a handful of times though it was roomy and comfortable enough. The handling was sluggish and the outback felt like a very large vehicle when behind the wheel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th September, 2008

10th Jan 2010, 22:43

VERY helpful review for a 2010 potential buyer of used Outback. Thank you!

1st Jun 2010, 23:05

Just throwing this out there, if you are planning on fixing the few problems the car has yourself, Subaru's are extremely easy to fix. I've had a 2002 L.L. Bean Outback 3.0-H6 for a little over 5 years now (bought it used) and everything that's gone wrong so far I have been able to fix myself fairly easily. Everything is nuts and bolts, one giant lego car. I'll never have anything but Subaru's because of how easy they are to fix and not send to the STEALERship.