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Old Jul 10, 05, 10:15 pm   #1
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"Ride Report" 2005 Subaru Outback AWD Wagon

Received one of these at SJC over the July 4th long weekend - it was a nice upgrade from my mid-size reservation.

The version I got appeared to be the Outback 2.5i model, with cloth seats and about 7,000 miles on the odometer. The overall ride of the car is surprisingly taught and nimble, but there is a SERIOUS lack of power from the four cylinder engine. You can get the car up to highway speeds with a little effort, but there is nothing exciting about it. Downshifts using the autostick transmission produce almost no torque in the revband to have fun in the curves. The interior is clean and functional with an average stereo. There is ample cargo room in the rear. Gas mileage for mostly spirited highway driving was 26 mpg.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jul 11, 05 at 9:45 am.
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Old Jul 10, 05, 10:54 pm   #2
 
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I've had one of these as well renting from LBB. I would concur with FlyinHawaiian. The additional point I had was that the luggage space was much less than I expected it would be - I think I've had more in various Malibu rentals.

My gas mileage was about the same - 24-28 mpg, mostly city driving.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 9:55 pm   #3
 
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A few more notes from my last rental:

1) The 2.5i had heated seats
2) The fuel tank is quite small (~13 gallons), but I got 27mpg (from the trip computer) in mixed city/highway driving.
3) There is relatively little engine/exhaust noise, adding to the feeling that the car lacks torque. The 'sport' automatic mode delays upshifts to improve performance by allowing the car to move into higher revs where there's more power.
4) Visibility out the right felt limited, but is probably because I'm not used to a station wagon.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 10:26 pm   #4
 
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I've been meaning to write a ride report on this, but since you beat me to the punch, I'll add some more info.

The Subaru Outback is one of my choice cars, especially since I can usually ask and get it for our C-class rates, and it's about the right size. It also comes with All-Wheel Drive standard.

I love how Japanese cars handle and drive, the feel of them is superior to (most) American cars in many ways. The suspension could be a tiny bit better on the Outback but it's bearable. It's definitely fuel efficient....I can get up to 32mpg highway miles going easy on the gas pedal, pretty good for an AWD car. It's a pretty comfortable ride for long distances (yes, there are better but the seats are not uncomfortable...Eg. Infiniti G35 seats are less comfortable than Outback imho). The gas tank is not 13 gallons, according to the Subaru website it has a tank size of 19 gallons. The engine is not powerful but then again, it's a 4 cylinder engine that can easily get to highway speeds but yes, there will be some issues with merging and some passing situations but I won't be getting a speeding ticket driving the Outback, that's for sure. There's a good amount of trunk room, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more cargo space. The roof has crossbars which may come in handy. I wish they had a better stereo in the car and it had justa tiny bit more room. That's probably my biggest pet peeve with Subaru cars. The Outback looks big but once you get in, it's tighter than an Altima.

I think you guys have too much of an expectation for the Outback. I haven't driven the Legacy yet but I think that may be more of what you're looking for in terms of speed/power.

Not a bad ride by any means and although it certainly doesn't have a lot of power it's quite a capable car.
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Last edited by psychephylax; Oct 5, 05 at 8:28 am.
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Old Oct 5, 05, 12:08 am   #5
 
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"There's a good amount of trunk room, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more cargo space."
Sadly, this is no longer true of the Legacy sedan. In the last few years, the fold down capability has been eliminated, and at the same time the trunk has gotten considerably smaller (just 11.4 cubic feet now). This is why I still hang onto my 1997 Legacy GT.
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Old Oct 5, 05, 8:27 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer
"There's a good amount of trunk room, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more cargo space."
Sadly, this is no longer true of the Legacy sedan. In the last few years, the fold down capability has been eliminated, and at the same time the trunk has gotten considerably smaller (just 11.4 cubic feet now). This is why I still hang onto my 1997 Legacy GT.
oops, I was still refering to the Outback with those statements (not the Legacy which I haven't had the pleasure of driving)
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Old Oct 5, 05, 8:28 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychephylax
I love how Japanese cars handle and drive, the feel of them is superior to (most) American cars in many ways. The suspension could be a tiny bit better on the Outback but it's bearable. It's definitely fuel efficient....I can get up to 32mpg highway miles going easy on the gas pedal, pretty good for an AWD car. It's a pretty comfortable ride for long distances (yes, there are better but the seats are not uncomfortable...Eg. Infiniti G35 seats are less comfortable than Outback imho). The gas tank is not 13 gallons, according to the Subaru website it has a tank size of 19 gallons. The engine is not powerful but then again, it's a 4 cylinder engine that can easily get to highway speeds but yes, there will be some issues with merging and some passing situations but I won't be getting a speeding ticket driving the Outback, that's for sure. I think you guys have too much of an expectation for the Outback. I haven't driven the Legacy yet but I think that may be more of what you're looking for in terms of speed/power. There's a good amount of trunk room, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more cargo space. The roof has crossbars which may come in handy. I wish they had a better stereo in the car and it had justa tiny bit more room. That's probably my biggest pet peeve with Subaru cars. The Outback looks big but once you get in, it's tighter than an Altima.

Not a bad ride by any means and although it certainly doesn't have a lot of power it's quite a capable car.
Agreed -- the (turbo) GT model would fix the power problem, but even the base 2.5i is decent, especially when compared to the competitors' four-banger models.

The Legacy isn't noticeably quicker than the Outback from what I've seen, but the handling is excellent for the midsize sedan class (a bit of oversteer at the limits even ) and the interior is functional and of high quality. The Legacy and 6 are probably my favorite cars in the "bread-and-butter" Hertz lineup.
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Old Oct 7, 05, 8:38 pm   #8
 
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Yes, you're right. It does have a 19 gal tank. Hertz thinks that it is 12.7 gallons. For those of you with the corporate fuel rates--this will make this car a real bargain! At least, until Hertz corrects this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychephylax
I've been meaning to write a ride report on this, but since you beat me to the punch, I'll add some more info.

The Subaru Outback is one of my choice cars, especially since I can usually ask and get it for our C-class rates, and it's about the right size. It also comes with All-Wheel Drive standard.

I love how Japanese cars handle and drive, the feel of them is superior to (most) American cars in many ways. The suspension could be a tiny bit better on the Outback but it's bearable. It's definitely fuel efficient....I can get up to 32mpg highway miles going easy on the gas pedal, pretty good for an AWD car. It's a pretty comfortable ride for long distances (yes, there are better but the seats are not uncomfortable...Eg. Infiniti G35 seats are less comfortable than Outback imho). The gas tank is not 13 gallons, according to the Subaru website it has a tank size of 19 gallons. The engine is not powerful but then again, it's a 4 cylinder engine that can easily get to highway speeds but yes, there will be some issues with merging and some passing situations but I won't be getting a speeding ticket driving the Outback, that's for sure. There's a good amount of trunk room, and you can fold down the rear seats for even more cargo space. The roof has crossbars which may come in handy. I wish they had a better stereo in the car and it had justa tiny bit more room. That's probably my biggest pet peeve with Subaru cars. The Outback looks big but once you get in, it's tighter than an Altima.

I think you guys have too much of an expectation for the Outback. I haven't driven the Legacy yet but I think that may be more of what you're looking for in terms of speed/power.

Not a bad ride by any means and although it certainly doesn't have a lot of power it's quite a capable car.
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Old Nov 16, 05, 11:53 am   #9
 
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Size of Subaru Outback fuel tank..

Quote:
Originally Posted by slimothy
Yes, you're right. It does have a 19 gal tank. Hertz thinks that it is 12.7 gallons. For those of you with the corporate fuel rates--this will make this car a real bargain! At least, until Hertz corrects this.
Actually, according to the US Dept of Energy, the fuel tank has a capacity of 16.9 gallons:

www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/21471.shtml

On my last rental, I got the Outback (definitely my favourite among all Q class vehicles, btw), and the contract stated the tank was 16.7 gallons. So, looks like Hertz has corrected any loophole that may have existed.
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Old Nov 18, 05, 6:12 pm   #10
 
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i had the car in pdx for a week recently. nice ride, especially the heated seats, but the lack of power was a bit unnearving when trying to get up some of those hills as you make it out of PDX towards the coast or when you try to do a jump to "light speed" at from a stop sign and the car just moans at you.

the ride was very quiet and smooth though even with my vehicle that had 14000 miles on it - about half the life of a rental car.

Do these cars have stability control? I ask becsaue it didn't seem to be working on my ride. The tire blew on the rainy interstate and the car immediently began to get very loose. It didn't help it was it the lightly loaded rear which on most wagons can float around pretty easilly.
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Old Nov 18, 05, 8:31 pm   #11
 
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I own an Outback and I bought my son a 03 Legacy. If you live here up north, there is nothing out of Detroit that can match a Sube in the winter: comfort, convenience, and that really coooool feeling of control when you try to skid around a corner AND THE CAR WON'T LET YOU! When traveling up here inthe winter I always request ther outback.
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Old Nov 20, 05, 8:09 pm   #12
 
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Stability control..

Subaru's version of stability control is called "Vehicle Dynamics Control". On the Outback it's optional, none of the rentals I have had had it. Then again, AWD is standard. Just drove 550 miles in an Outback this week-end; the heated seats are indeed great, when outside it's close to freezing...
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Old Nov 22, 05, 4:25 pm   #13
 
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I picked up an Outback at the PHX airport last month while my car was being detailed. I would add the following comments:

1. Very good driving position for me - I enjoy the upright seating very much, as my personal preference is not to recline too much. YMMV
2. Very nice handling - tight, responsive action to any inputs.

Summary - If I am by myself and not handling any passengers that I care to impress, I would like to repeat the Outback as a rental in the future.

Notes - obviously a day driving around Phoenix in October, I didn't experience a lot of snow and ice. My daily drivers are 90's Honda Accord, CRV, ancient Ford "Gentleman Jim" Ranger from the 60's, and whatever random selection Hertz serves up during the week on the road, so that is my baseline.
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