2008 Subaru Outback: Long-Term Update

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We don’t have an official long-term fleet here at, so I’m always willing to offer up my own new car for the role. As some might remember, my wife and I purchased a 2008 Subaru Outback in July 2007. We were looking for a low-$20,000 vehicle with all-wheel drive and some utility. 

The odometer is still under 5,000 miles even after seven months of ownership. There are a few reasons for that. One is that we live in the city, so my wife’s commute is pretty short in terms of distance. Mileage remains around the 20 mpg mark if not below, mainly due to so much city driving.

Since the last time I updated everyone on the Outback, one thing has changed that has drastically altered my opinion of the car: We’re no longer in the DINK category, as our first child was born in February. You know what that means — car seats and strollers. 

Having the infant car seat in the back drastically reduces any feeling of spaciousness. Both grandmothers have ridden back there with the baby and have found it not so roomy. I find it darn uncomfortable.

Getting the baby seat in and out isn’t hard, but the doorway could be slightly larger. Of course, the seat is also gigantic. Installation of the seat base was pretty easy using the Latch connectors, and we did have it inspected for safety. I’m also glad we didn’t get an SUV, as lifting the seat up and into the car could be a pain. 

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We made one trip to the grandparents’ house in the suburbs for Easter, and getting back was troublesome. We had a dog cage, stroller, my suitcase from the trip to the New York auto show, a bag for mom, a bag for baby and assorted shopping bags from a trip to the mall. It was a tight squeeze. We actually left the dog because we didn’t think she’d fit. It turns out she could have, but grandpa was coming into the city the next day anyway and dropped her off. 

It’s funny that what I thought was a pretty substantial vehicle when we purchased it now seems on the small size. In fact, during the ride back to the city after Easter brunch I turned to my wife and seriously said, “Next kid we’re getting a minivan.”

Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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