2009 Subaru Outback

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2009 Subaru Outback Review

Handles both on- and off-road driving.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2009 Subaru Outback is a midsize wagon that combines the handling of a midsize car with the ground clearance of an SUV. This year, Subaru drops the L.L. Bean trim and adds the 2.5i Special Edition trim. All models are equipped with all-wheel drive, and based on the trim line, there are three different engines and manual and automatic transmissions. New for 2009, all models are now equipped with stability control.

The Range

Body Styles: Midsize wagon
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, three-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Outback 2.5i, Outback 2.5i Special Edition, Outback 2.5i Limited, Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited, Outback 3.0R Limited

What's New

This year, Subaru alters the Outlook’s model lineup, adds stability control, and upgrades its audio system with nine speakers for all models except the 2.5i base model. The L.L. Bean trim is dropped and the 2.5i Special Edition model makes its debut.


The 2009 Subaru Outback is based on the Subaru Legacy wagon with marked differences. It has a rugged, yet refined style when viewed from the outside, coupled with the raised suspension to give it ground clearance that consumers would expect in an SUV. With five different trim levels to pick from, there are a few options to choose from. Higher trim levels include features like 17-inch alloy wheels and a sunroof.


The 2009 Subaru Outlook interior may appear basic, but the quality of materials used and overall style and design is comparable to what can be found in some entry-level luxury cars. Controls are laid out in an easy-to-read manner and are simple and classy looking. Mid-grade plastics, faux wood, and matte metallic accents add to a high-class look.

Seating is relatively comfortable for five adults. Taller passengers may find a lack of headroom in the front seat, particularly in those models with the sunroof installed. In the rear, larger passengers may find shoulder room and leg room tight compared to other vehicles in the class. There is no third row of seating available.

While some may feel that the 2009 Subaru Outback is lacking in passenger space, it makes up for it with ample cargo room. The rear seat is a bench seat that has a 60/40 split for folding down. The cargo capacity in the rear is good, even with the seats up. By folding them both down, the available room for cargo is approximately double.

Performance & Handling

The 2009 Subaru Outback looks like an SUV with its high ground clearance, but handles more like a car. There are three engines to choose from based on the trim level. A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft torque is found in the 2.5i models. For the 2.5XT Limited, the engine is turbocharged and produces 243 horsepower and 241 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0R Limited is powered by a three-liter, six-cylinder engine with a power output of 245 horsepower and 215 lb-ft torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, except on the 2.5XT Limited and 3.0R Limited, which both have a four-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Although the 2009 Subaru Outback has additional inches of ground clearance to go off road, it drives surprisingly well on road. Sharp steering and good grip on the roads mitigates the additional height and makes body lean easy to manage. All 2009 Subaru Outbacks come equipped with all-wheel drive to improve handling across most road conditions. The light weight 2009 Subaru Outback also improves road driving performance and handling, although gas mileage can be disappointing.


The 2009 Subaru Outback is one of the safest cars on the road. Standard safety equipment includes the new stability control system, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and active head restraints to mitigate the effects of whiplash. For both front and side impact crash testing, the 2009 Subaru Outback received the highest scores.

EPA Fuel Economy

Outback 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition: 20/27 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5i Limited: 20/26 mpg city/highway
Outback 2.5XT Limited: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Outback 3.0R Limited: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Steering and handling
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Excellent safety record

You Won't Like

  • Lack of third row seats
  • Poor fuel economy

Sum Up

Handles both on- and off-road driving.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Hyundai Veracruz
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Volkswagen Passat wagon
  • Toyota Venza

See the New 2015 Outback.

Front & Driver Side View