2003 Subaru Outback Overview


Looking for a Used Outback in your area?

CarGurus has 17,456 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,495.


Not sure what you want?

Find the models that are right for you using the CarGurus Car Finder.



Base Wagon
Avg. Price: $5,718
Avg. Price: $6,016
H6-3.0 VDC
Avg. Price: $6,426
H6-3.0 VDC Wagon
Avg. Price: $5,812
L.L. Bean Edition Wagon
Avg. Price: $6,326
Avg. Price: $5,946
Limited Wagon
Avg. Price: $5,699

Subaru Outback Experts

#1 Markw1952
Reputation 1,660
#2 FordNut
Reputation 1,390
#3 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 590
View All

Have you driven a 2003 Subaru Outback?

Rank this car!

Average User Score

4.65 stars

Based on 14 reviews

Take It by McCUBBY
 — Pros: I never owned an AWD before, much less a Subaru. The high roofline, the butter-smooth leather seats w/seat warmers!! I got 10 speaker smokin sound system w/6 in-dash CD. It's LOUD!!! I like how... Read More
Ultimate Sporty Wagon by Matt
 — Performance: I have put a lot of time and money into working on the 3.0L flat 6, and it runs incredibly strong. There are very few aftermarket items for this engine, but I got this thing running at 14... Read More
Great All Around Car. by DzemoJedi
 — Great car for all around driving, lots of room for passangers and cargo. Full time AWD makes it not so sporty handling while it works great on snow and ice. Trailer hitch is the best option on this ca... Read More

2003 Subaru Outback Overview

Overall User Score

4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.65

Based on 14 reviews

2003 Subaru Outback

A minor front-end restyling and more standard features are the only changes to the 2003 Subaru Outback, a sporty SUV alternative for those looking for better stability, handling, and fuel economy than the more traditional sport utility vehicles.  Aside from a tweaked front bumper, the 2003 Outback also gets new front struts.  Inside, the base wagon gets a CD player, while the Limited VDC models boost that to a 6-CD player.  All of the 3.0 models now come with OnStar, and the 2.5 models get the All-Weather Package standard, which means they now include heated seats and mirrors and a wiper de-icer.  

Boosting the list of equipment even on the base models makes the 2003 Outback more competitive with SUVs, and even the base model has a power driver's seat and remote entry.  Moving up the chain, you add leather seats, a dual-pane sunroof (single in the sedans), and automatic climate control.  A 2.5-liter, 165-hp H4 engine powers the base wagon and the Limited sedan and wagon.  A 212-hp, 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder is found in the L.L. Bean wagon and VDC wagon and sedan.  A 4-speed automatic is the only transmission in the 3.0s, while a 5-speed is also offered in the 2.5s.  All 2003 Outbacks have dual front-side airbags, ABS brakes, foglights, large 16-inch wheels, cruise control, power seats, and all-wheel drive.  The VDC adds traction and stability control, for premium handling.

Sitting up a bit higher than the Legacy, upon which it is based, and having a limited slip differential opens up more roads to the 2003 Outback.  The full-time AWD automatically apportions torque where needed.  The wagons are more geared towards an active lifestyle, with a rubber cargo mat, retractable cover, roof rack, and up to 68 cubic feet of space.  Drivers of the 2003 Subaru Outback are pleased with is sturdy reliability, AWD performance, and the long list of features, particularly the heated seats.  Legroom can feel cramped and seats uncomfortable for long trips, and drivers don't like that the headrests have to be removed from the split-folding rear seats.  Premium gas in the 3.0 Outbacks gets expensive, especially with a 21/27 mpg.  Though overall handling is smooth, drivers report some clutch shudder on cold starts.


What's your take on the 2003 Subaru Outback?

People researching a 2003 Subaru Outback contacted a dealer about

Picture of 2003 Subaru Outback Base Wagon, exterior
Subaru Outback
44% of the time
Subaru Forester
11% of the time
Subaru Legacy
6% of the time
Honda CR-V
5% of the time
Looking for a Used Outback in your area?
CarGurus has 17,456 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,495.

Subaru Outback Questions


Speedometer And Tach Lights Out... Not The Bulb?

Been driving in the dark for months now.. finally replaced the bulbs in the dash. A video I was watching said I could use 168's and I figured they wouldn't blind me. It also said 194's would work. G...

15 views with 3 answers (last answer 3 weeks ago)

2003 Outback Radio Comes On But No Sound Out Of Any Speakers I Pulled R...

radio connector

48 views with 13 answers (last answer 4 weeks ago)

My Car Died And Won"t Start.

It was raining and I went through a dip medium hard with water in it and my car died and would not restart. Checked fuel pump fuse, not that. Can you help ?

18 views with 2 answers (last answer about a month ago)

Just Replaced The Motor In A 2003 Outback And Now It Seems The Trans Wants ...

I replaced the aging motor (193k miles) with one that had less than 50k. Now the trans feels like it won't build adequate pressure. The trans temp light flashes. It just doesn't want to really get u...

112 views with 8 answers (last answer 2 months ago)

We Swapped An 03 Outback Engine With A Forester Engine. The Problem We Are ...

140 views with 7 answers (last answer 2 months ago)