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The Urban Dink: 2008 Subaru Outback Update

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Urban Dink’s wagon of a purchase from back in July. Truth be told, we’ve put very few miles on the 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i since then. How many? Just over 2,300. That’s not many miles even for my wife, who usually only puts about 7,500 miles on a car a year.

We’ll get into mileage in a minute, but overall I’ve found the Outback to be one heck of a car. Every time I get into it I can’t help but think we made a good decision. There are a few nitpicks, but not many, and none have to do with overall quality.

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The interior has held up really well. In the few miles we’ve put on it, many have been with the dog in the back. The rubber mat in the cargo area has been priceless, as we just shake it out every few weeks to get the dog hair out. I’m glad we got a dark-color interior, as we seem to be messy/clumsy these days and it still looks like a pretty new car.

I did nick the back door with our collapsible dog kennel, but that’s not really Subaru’s fault. The only “real” problem so far is that the glove compartment doesn’t sit perfectly flush with the dashboard when it’s closed, which annoys me when I’m in the passenger seat. My wife never noticed.

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One reason the car gets so few miles is that I drive a test car for Cars.com pretty much every week and my wife has been taking the train to work. So, on weekends we travel in test cars, unless we’re taking the dog somewhere. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of city-to-suburbs drives in winter weather and the car is a fine highway driver. I still like getting behind the wheel of this car even though I’m testing something new routinely. Despite the small engine, I like the way it handles, and it always feels solidly planted to the road.

We average gas mileage in the low-to-mid-20 range, even in bad weather. EPA has it at 20/26 mpg, so we’re right at the expected range.

Another negative note: My wife put a peach air freshener in the car a few months ago and thus ruined the new-car smell that had lasted longer than any other I’ve experienced. At least in a car without leather.

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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