2008 Subaru Outback Overview

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Based on 24 reviews

2008 Subaru Outback Overview

Subaru has always done its own thing in the automotive world. In the mid-1990s, when SUVs were the rage in the U.S., Subaru built a car-based SUV and dubbed it the Outback, the first "sport utility wagon."

The 2008 model year brings only minor changes to this third-generation Outback. The interior receives a tilting and telescoping steering wheel and an upgraded automatic transmission, featuring steering-wheel paddle shifters, on six-cylinder versions. For the exterior, changes include the grille, hood, headlights, and bumpers.

All Outbacks - all Subarus for that matter - come standard with all-wheel drive. There are three engines available, depending on trim line: a normally aspirated, 170-hp, 2.5-liter boxer four; a turbocharged version producing 243 hp and an amazing 250 foot-pounds of torque; and a 3.0-liter six-cylinder boxer with the same output as the turbocharged four.

The XT trim (which features the high-performance turbo engine) and the 3.0 R L.L. Bean models feature the SI-Drive option. This piece of electronics allows the driver to choose one of three driving modes: Intelligent (economy), Sport (middle range), and Sport Sharp (performance). Each mode corresponds to a specific engine management map: Intelligent mode minds the gas, while the "wilder" Sport Sharp mode lets it all hang out. Does it work? One reviewer found that Intelligent mode produced 0-60 in 8.32 seconds while Sport Sharp took 7.10 seconds. As for gas mileage, Intelligent management averaged 29.7 mpg and Sport Sharp hit 27 mpg. These numbers are both better than the EPA estimates of 18 mpg city and 24 on the highway.

Although the Outback is equipped with a well-appointed interior, some reviewers found the back seat a bit small. But when the back seats fold down, the car offers more than 65 cubic feet of cargo space.

The Outback comes with side-impact and side curtain airbags as well as ABS, while six-cylinder and turbo Outbacks include electronic stability control. This results in five-star NHTSA safety ratings.

Walking its own path, Subaru has managed to keep the Outback a viable choice for those who need SVU-like capacity but prefer to drive a car.

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Users ranked 2008 Subaru Outback against other cars which they drove/owned. Each ranking was based on 9 categories. Here is the summary of top rankings.

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