Ad Radar

2006 Subaru Outback

Get A Dealer Quote

Compare Dealer Clearance Prices and SAVE

  • Review

2006 Subaru Outback Review

A reliable all-terrain family vehicle.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Introduced as a spruced-up trim for the Subaru Legacy, the Subaru Outback made waves with its debut in 1995. Christened ""The World's First Sport-Utility Wagon"" in 1996, the Japanese-made Subaru Outback single-handedly shifted America’s perception of sport utility vehicles.

Over the years, the Subaru Outback's competition rose along with the growing popularity of the crossover SUV market. Subaru made a move to stay ahead of the pack by putting the Outback through a full makeover in 2005, giving it a slimmer profile, an updated design, and more power. The Subaru Outback continues to build on these revisions in 2006, with the combination of a more refined, city-ready aesthetic on top of a more rugged, muscular build. When it comes to off-road ability, no other wagon can compare with the 2006 Subaru Outback. And with plenty of style and comfort to offer as well, the 2006 Subaru Outback proves itself to still be a worthy choice for families traveling down any type of road.

The Range

Body Styles: Wagon, Sedan
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Outback 2.5i, Outback 2.5i Special Edition, Outback 2.5i Limited, Outback 2.5 XT, Outback 3.0 R, Outback 2.5 XT Limited, Outback 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition, Outback 3.0 R VDC Limited

What's New

The 2006 Subaru Outback displays a sharper, sleeker silhouette than in the past, along with a bolder grille and tinted rear glass. All 2006 Subaru Outback models are also given black letter tires, replacing the former white-letter sidewalls. The trim packages have been rearranged, with new lists of features available. An optional navigation system has also been put on the table. Models with the non-turbo, four-cylinder engine receive a horsepower boost with the help of a new variable valve-lift system.


The 2006 Subaru Outback wagon is not vastly different from other crossover sport utility vehicles. Its smoothed-out profile provides a more high-end air, while the standard roof rack on the wagon makes it clear that this is designed to be a sturdy, practical vehicle. Available exterior features on the wagon models include a rear spoiler, underbody protection, mud guards, electrochromic mirrors, and rear wipers. Standard equipment for both the sedan and wagon includes powered and heated exterior mirrors, alloy wheels, a front air dam, and fog lights.


The 2006 Subaru Outback’s interior is outfitted with high-quality materials and boasts a fresh, comfortable design. The Turbo models are dressed with a darker palette, metallic trim, and electroluminescent gauges. The 3.0 models gain a more luxurious touch with wood-grain trimming and mahogany accents on the steering wheel. The long list of options and standard equipment differs for each trim level. Various features include leather seats, a CD changer, subwoofer, navigational aid, and powered and heated seats. The rear seats are a little tight for most adults, though otherwise supportive and comfortable. Trunk space in the wagon measures at 33.5 cubic feet and 66 cubic feet with the backseat folded down.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Subaru Outback 2.5i houses a 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine that is rated at 175 horsepower. The XT trims feature a turbocharged version of the same engine, hauling in 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. As its name suggests, the 3.0 models have a three-liter, six-cylinder engine. Optional five-speed manual transmission is available with the 2.5-liter engine, while the three-liter H6 is only offered with five-speed automatic.

The 2006 Subaru Outback is as sturdy and capable on a bumpy mountainside as it is on suburban pavement, and its off-road strength puts it well ahead of other crossover SUVs. Although the base 2.5i engine offers limited power, and the automatic transmissions aren’t the best to be found, the upgraded engines do boast quick acceleration. Overall, the Subaru Outback provides a stable, smooth ride in nearly any conditions.


2006 Subaru Outback standard safety equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Braking Distribution, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, and active head restraints. Only the top-of-the-line 3.0 R VDC Limited wagon offers stability control. Additional safety features range from child safety door locks and vehicle anti-theft to an optional first-aid kit. All Outback models earned top scores all around on both frontal and side-impact crash tests.

EPA Fuel Economy

Outback 2.5i: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5i Special Edition: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5i Limited: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5 XT: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Outback 3.0 R: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5 XT Limited: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Outback 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Outback 3.0 R VDC: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Standard AWD
  • High-quality materials
  • Reliable off-road performance
  • Long list of standard equipment

You Won't Like

  • Tight rear seat
  • Automatic transmission shifts up early
  • Many features limited to VDC model

Sum Up

A reliable all-terrain family vehicle.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Audi A4 Avant
  • Volvo V50
  • Mazda Mazda6 Sport Wagon
  • BMW 3-Series Sports Wagon

See the New 2015 Outback.

Front & Driver Side View