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2008 Subaru Outback

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2008 Subaru Outback Review

May be an older model but still holds its own against the competition.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 Subaru Outback may be one of the older vehicles in the Subaru line, but it still holds up, even after all these years. Long gone are the chunky and clunky SUV styling cues of the mid-1990s Outback; the modern version is a sleek and curvy midsize wagon. Improvements to the interior as well as the mechanics have made the Outback a solid choice for buyers looking for something a bit smaller than an SUV but a bit bigger than a sedan. Now that the sedan model is dropped, shoppers will have to choose the Outback for its wagon carriage and choose the Legacy if the sedan better suits their everyday needs.

The Range

Body Styles: midsize wagon
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Outback, Subaru Outback 2.5 I, 2.5 I L.L. Bean Edition, Subaru Outback 2.5 I Limited, Subaru Outback 2.5 I Limited L. L. Bean Edition, Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited, Subaru Outback 3.0 R L. L. Bean Edition

What's New

The 2008 Subaru Outback no longer offers the sedan version as an option. Standard features, including the tilt and telescoping steering wheel, instrument panel, and the auxiliary audio jack, are updated and changed this year.


The 2008 Subaru Outback is only available in the wagon version this year. If consumers want a sedan, they have to check out the Legacy model, which has had a slight update this year as well. Gone is the SUV styling mistakes made in previous years. This is a wagon built like a wagon. Standard features on the Base models include 16-inch steel wheels and a roof rack. The 2.5i adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, roof-rail crossbars, heated exterior mirrors, and de-icing wipers. The 2.5i Limited models adds a double panel sunroof.


The interior of the 2008 Subaru Outback is very well built with lots of solid material and classy styling. There is a lot of convincing faux wood and aluminum accents throughout the cabin that adds a touch of class. The front seats are very comfortable, but the back seats would be greatly improved with a little more available legroom. Luggage area measures 33.5 cubic feet with the back seats up, and 66 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. Leather, special stitching, and other luxury features are included as you move up trim levels.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 Subaru Outback comes with one of three engine types. The base and 2.5i models use a 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder engine that pumps out 175 horsepower with 169 lb-ft of torque. The engine is wed with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5i Limited L.L. Bean Edition models are only available with the automatic transmission. The Outback XT Limited edition has a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, flat-four engine that produces 243 horsepower with 241 lb-ft of torque. This vehicle is available with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The 3.0 R L.L. Bean Limited has a three-liter, six-cylinder engine called the H6 that produces 245 horsepower with 215 lb-ft of torque. This is only available with the automatic transmission. The 2008 Subaru Outback is very versatile, able to handle itself on and off road in snowy trails or muddy conditions while keeping passengers comfortable and safe. The base engine is just adequate enough to keep many drivers satisfied, but drivers may want to upgrade to the turbocharged engine for highway driving and a little more fun. The automatic transmission upshifts a bit too early, causing some driving issues, but the XT Limited and 3.0 R L.L. Bean models fair a bit better with their automatic, since they come equipped with a SI-Drive system.


All The 2008 Subaru Outback models come equipped with anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, and active headrests that prevent whiplash during accidents. The NHTSA has given the 2008 Subaru Outback five out of five stars for all collision tests.

EPA Fuel Economy

Subaru Outback Base: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 2.5 I: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 2.5 I L.L. Bean Edition: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 2.5 I Limited: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 2.5 I Limited L. L. Bean Edition: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Subaru Outback 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Great ride and balancing
  • Turbocharged engine is a smash
  • Great build
  • Interior quality
  • Fantastic handling in all weather conditions

You Won't Like

  • Small back seat
  • Automatic transmission
  • Stability control absent on some models

Sum Up

May be an older model but still holds its own against the competition.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Mazda CX-7
  • Toyota Highlander

See the New 2015 Outback.

Front & Driver Side View

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