2004 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5 liter from North America


All-in-all, a great little car which I recommend highly to others


No problems yet.

General Comments:

Power with non-turbo engine is acceptable. Have towed over 1500 lbs easily though hilly terrain.

Fuel economy is 26 mpg on highway at 70-75 mph, 24 mpg in typical commuter driving.

Frameless windows are well sealed, actually quieter than other cars I test drove with framed windows.

Car has unique combination of excellent ground clearance AND a low center of gravity. Handling is wonderful. Doesn't have the swaying typical of many taller SUVs.

Limited version is very well equipped, with leather, heated seats, heated mirrors, heated windshield, 2 sunroofs, security system, 6 disc CD, 4 wheel disk brakes, radio weather channel, auto dimming rear view mirror with compass and outside temp gauge.

I'm very, very pleased with the vehicle, but there are a few things that could be better. Neither my wife (130 lbs) or me (220 lbs) find the seats comfortable for long trips (over 4 hours) although they're fine for shorter trips. Don't care for the cruise control design where a separate button on the dash has to be pressed every time the car is started to activate the cruise. Oil drain plug must be tightened much more than other designs or it will leak. It uses a 'loose' metal o-ring which is easily lost, which will also result in an oil leak. Every other vehicle I've owned in the past 25 years had a 'captured' washer, which I feel is a much better design.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2005

8th Nov 2005, 06:49


The cost of a metal washer vs. a bolt with a 'captured' washer is much higher. I think the intent is to make sure you have a new metal washer each oil change.


20th Feb 2006, 08:31

You are supossed to use a new washer every time you change the oil. It costs less than a dollar.

29th Mar 2006, 22:40

It is indeed a capable car, but I agree with you on the seat comfort issue. For some reason, sitting in the seat for more than an hour is not comfortable to me.

18th Jun 2008, 07:40

Overall I have been extremely satisfied with my 04 OB LTD.

Purchased new Dec 04. Now (June 2008) have 85K.


-Handling in snow and winter conditions is absolutely outstanding.

-Interior fit and finish is very high quality

-Sound system is quite good.


-Mileage is mediocre. Acceptable given the all wheel drive.

-Engine feels underpowered. This is undeniable when cargo for vacation is added and the vehicle has 2-3 people.

-Slight "hesitation" when coming off a stop. Dealer had not acknowledged. Computer replaced at 65K largley solved the issue.

-OEM tires are not ideal. Bridgestone replacements are much better at rain-shedding and handling.

-At 65K, I learned what "torque bind" is! Serious drive train issue where the tail of the trannie (and it's multple clutch plates) binds up resulting in very annoying clunk-clunk sound. This can be caused by running vehicle on cookie tire or with uneven tire pressures for as little as several hundred miles. Tends to affect automatics more than 5-speed (however, I have a 5-speed). Do some research on this. It was about a $1600 problem/off warranty.

2004 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i 2.5 Litre Boxer from Australia and New Zealand


A great drivers car. Out performs most European equivilants


Severe oil consumption. Matter still not resolved.

Leather seats have started to wear badly.

General Comments:

A great car to drive. A genuine "Drivers" car.

Six Stacker should be standard with Premium models, but listed as accessory.

Additional 12V power plug should also be standard supply.

Passengers seat should also be electric operation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2005

2004 Subaru Outback from North America


I have owned many cars, this one is THE worst.


Door window seal not sealing properly at about 2,000 miles.

Front windshield not properly protected by rubber seal. A chip near the windshield edge (i.e, glass not protected by the rubber) will propagate causing entire windshield to fail.

Clutch failure due to improper engineering. They have a technical service bulletin on this item at least. Clutch failure at about 20,000 miles.

Cold start failure repeatedly at about 0F. No start. We have to figure this out. Unfortunately, there is no error code, and the problem is inconsistent, therefore making diagnostics impossible.

Engine failure at 42,000 miles. Piston rod failure caused engine to lockup (actually blew a hole in the crankcase).

Bad bearing on idler pulley causing the timing belt to fail. Belt jumped by one tooth. This insignificant failure caused the valves to hit the pistons ultimately putting holes in piston. This completely destroyed engine. 50,000 miles.

Manual transmission failure at 65,000 miles.

Premature wearing of brakes. Front rotors warped. The rotors most likely warp because of too much drag pressure on the pads. Improper cooling at highway speeds in summer will cause this failure.

General Comments:

This is one of the most over rated cars on the road. I could never recommend this car to anyone. Subaru is now building an engine that has serious problems. For example, the second engine failure was unwarranted from an engineering perspective. Proper design dictates that the timing belt will fail eventually or prematurely. This failure should not cause engine failure. However, on this engine, timing belt failure will cause engine failure.

I purchased this car based on consumer reviews. Subaru customer care is terrible. Subaru refuses to admit that the car has serious problems. Completely over rated. Time to set the record straight.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th December, 2004

1st Jan 2005, 15:16

Very interesting stuff, why does the car receive a best buy from Consumer Reports both new and used.

I was very close to buying a 2005 Outback, but by chance found the IIHS web site, which tested the '05 Legacy sedan and gave a very poor feed back. "Internal injuries likely" in the side crash test. Very different from the government testing, which simulates on a car hitting you. Seeing as every other vehicle these days is an SUV, the IIHS now simulates being hit by a truck. The Subaru Legacy failed in a major way. BEWARE GO TO www.iihs.org.