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2008 Subaru Outback: Long-Term Update 2

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Since Cars.com doesn’t have an official long-term test fleet, right now my own personal car will have to do. A few of you may remember the purchasing process of my wife and I getting our 2008 Subaru Outback, and how we decided to get it. I also had one previous update.

Now it’s eight months later, and we’ve definitely lived in the Outback for better or for worse. However, there hasn’t been too much worse. I’ve only had one question about reliability, and that was the rubber stripping around the rear door window coming loose. Turns out you stick it back in and that was it; it hasn’t popped back out since, and the car hasn’t needed anything other than routine maintenance (two $30 services).

While we have put under 7,000 miles on it, they are mostly hard-driven city miles of my wife commuting to work. Lots of bumps, lots of snow, lots of bad drivers. Because of that, our average mileage is pretty low, around 20 mpg.

After 16 months, I’ve discovered two truths about the Outback that I think sum up our experience so far:

1. I still love driving it. Even with the smaller 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 170 hp, the Outback is fun to drive, with excellent steering, decent pickup and a very comfortable ride. As a jaded auto journalist who tests a new car every week, I still can’t think of another car we would’ve been happier with.

2. We need a bigger car. With a 9-month-old and a dog, the Outback fills up quickly on weekend trips to the ‘burbs to visit the in-laws/grandparents. Now, if we didn’t have the dog or the child, the Outback would be plenty big enough. But thinking that baby No. 2 won’t be too far down the road we either need to get a minivan, a larger crossover or a roof-mounted cargo carrier. I’m leaning toward the cargo carrier and its much smaller price tag.

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Check out the photo above. That’s our 33.5 cubic feet of cargo area filled with suitcases, Black Friday shopping and an umbrella stroller. And this is about our average return fill-up from the ‘burbs after a Baby’s R Us stop — (we don’t have any in the city, so we stock up on supplies) — minus the shopping.   

What does the dog do when her normal space is so occupied? She had to ride shotgun, and she doesn’t like that.

Feel free to pepper me with any specific questions on the car and/or offer suggestions on a roof rack that can hold suitcases and strollers. 

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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