Model Details

2003 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

4.1
Average based on 14 reviews
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability
1-10 of 14 reviews

Love it or Hate it Styling & All Weather Handling

by from Big Sur, CA on January 4, 2007

The looks of the Subaru Outback are anything but plain. Massive front and rear bumpers trimmed by door and fender clad sides make the car look like a "Transformer" toy that your child would love. Huge...
The looks of the Subaru Outback are anything but plain. Massive front and rear bumpers trimmed by door and fender clad sides make the car look like a "Transformer" toy that your child would love. Huge fog lights recessed in the front bumper with grill covers look strange to say the least. This makes the car/SUV perfect for the intended buyer if snow or mud covered roads are the way you get home. The cladding gives an extra layer of protection to the vehicle when overgrown limbs encroach in the road. And hosing off the crud that gets kicked up by the tires, but doesn’t get to the windows, instead becoming trapped in the cladding makes you glad it is there. The Subaru Outback is for the driver that needs 7.9 inches of ground clearance and AWD capabilities. Requirements found in many rural communities. Power available from the H4 2.5 Liter engine is more than adequate for most situations and offers 5 Speed Manual or 4 speed automatic transmission options. Option for the H6 3.0 L and you get automatic only. What an automatic transmission you get. Variable torque split front to rear, viscous limited slip differential and 212 HP to ascend the steepest hills in any weather. Seating position puts the driver high enough to see obstructions in the road that hide around blind curves in narrow one lane rural roads. Add heated seats, wipers and outside mirrors and snow becomes more of in inconvenient than treacherous situation to have to travel through. Recent headlines of stranded travelers caught in snow banks and trying unsuccessfully to hike to civilization show the advantage of the ONSTAR system that is standard with the 6 cylinder equipped Outback. I may have a bias for the Subaru Outback having bought the first model back in 1996 and driven over 240,000 miles in the car before we had to say good bye to a car that never left me stranded. The 2003 has leather seats, 9 speaker multidisc CD, and weather band radio available to round out the pakage.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Great car, loud windows

by from Hampton Roads, VA on April 4, 2011

I really like this car, and am the only owner. I noticed a drop in fuel efficiency when ethanol was introduced, but I imagine that is standard across car lines. The interior is well apportioned, and m...
I really like this car, and am the only owner. I noticed a drop in fuel efficiency when ethanol was introduced, but I imagine that is standard across car lines. The interior is well apportioned, and my only complaint, and the thing that will keep me from purchasing a 3rd Outback, is the noise created by the rimless windows.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does not recommend this car

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Sporty, holds 3 kayaks plus loads inside!

by from Hampden, Maine on July 19, 2008

I have owned this car since 2005; I bought it used. I love it! It handles great and looks good. The only things that could be improved upon are the gas mileage (I get 26 mpg), and the placement of the...
I have owned this car since 2005; I bought it used. I love it! It handles great and looks good. The only things that could be improved upon are the gas mileage (I get 26 mpg), and the placement of the switches for the seat heaters.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Pretty nice so far

by from Minot, ND on September 3, 2010

I bought the car used with about 115,000 miles on it and I really enjoy driving it. Pros: great ride, incredible power (H6 motor), nice all wheel drive, great list of standard features, very roomy for...
I bought the car used with about 115,000 miles on it and I really enjoy driving it. Pros: great ride, incredible power (H6 motor), nice all wheel drive, great list of standard features, very roomy for its size, great sound system. Cons: the front windows make noise at speeds above 60 mph and the gas mileage is not quite as high as I was hoping (20 city/26 highway). Granted I've only had it a few months but so far this seems to be a great car and people keep telling me how reliable it will be. I love it and my wife sometimes even prefers driving it over her loaded Toyota 4Runner.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Reliable and All Wheel Drive

by from Southern, NJ on April 25, 2010

Love this car! This was our 3rd Outback. It is has the storage of an SUV plus it has All Wheel Drive, but it handles like a car instead of a truck. We also like the high safety ratings it gets. We ha...
Love this car! This was our 3rd Outback. It is has the storage of an SUV plus it has All Wheel Drive, but it handles like a car instead of a truck. We also like the high safety ratings it gets. We have found our Outbacks to be extremely reliable, with no major mechanical issues, just regular maintenance and changing the oil. Every time we go to buy a car we do all the research but we keep coming back to Subaru. Safety, reliability, handling, AWD, low cost of ownership and features for the money.
Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

almost feels new

by from Southwestern PA on March 27, 2012

LL Bean addition has amazing features that I would never have been able to afford in a new car. Very smooth ride, shifts seamlessly. Everything works great and the engine has lots of power to get me u...
LL Bean addition has amazing features that I would never have been able to afford in a new car. Very smooth ride, shifts seamlessly. Everything works great and the engine has lots of power to get me up the big hills where I live. The subwoffer adds amazing depth to the music. Love the 2 sunroof windows. It's nice to set the temperature and just have the car decide if it needs the air conditioning or the heat. Looking forward to using the heated seats and the AWD next winter. Plenty of room for 2 backseat passengers, honestly I don't see how the 3rd person would fit. Lots of cargo room.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Solid all season awd car

by from Mpls, MN on July 5, 2016

I have the Vdc model. The AWD and Vdc system work great!! Great in snow. Can do Mild off-roading with ease. Rimless window noise is present, but can be shimed. Mine has new Struts all the way arou...
I have the Vdc model. The AWD and Vdc system work great!! Great in snow. Can do Mild off-roading with ease. Rimless window noise is present, but can be shimed. Mine has new Struts all the way around, so rides firm. Takes highspeed turns without bodyroll or tire slip. The 200+hp engine does not jump, but is smooth enough to pass 80MPH and not really notice your speeding. Mileage is varied,...i get combined 23MPG, 70% highway, If driving Offroad, hard and fast, about 16-18MPG. I have 270,000 miles on mine,...If you take great care of this car, it will last a very long time. You will have rust by rear wheels, The Windows do make noise, The 4cyl may have a head gasket problem, The 6cyl feels underpowered, but,... Very safe, parts not hard to find, not a bugeye,lol, holds value if you take care of it, The Awd system is 25% power to each axle, untill one losses power. You only need to grab with one wheel to move, Great first car!!!!!
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Work

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Happy so far

by from Lionville PA on May 31, 2011

Just got this car at the end of winter, so I haven't gotten to test the AWD yet, but I'm hoping it'll get me where I need to go. The wagon is a little smaller than my previous Buick Century wagons, bu...
Just got this car at the end of winter, so I haven't gotten to test the AWD yet, but I'm hoping it'll get me where I need to go. The wagon is a little smaller than my previous Buick Century wagons, but all my dog show stuff fit in with a little manuevering. I would change two things about the wagon part that I had in my Buicks - the choice to open just the top half (glass) of wagon door so I don't always have to lift the whole heavy door, and vent windows in the back that open for air flow through the back. Otherwise, I like the design - although the seat heaters do occasionally get turned on by accident. When I got the car everyone told me what good cars they are and how much they liked them if they had had one, so I felt assured that I had made a good choice. Like the higher ground clearance too. The gas milage in the 4 cyl. isn't any better than my 6 cyl. Buicks, but I guess that's because of the AWD. I do need that in the snow to get up some back roads I use.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Outdoor sports (hiking, cycling, etc.)

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

03 subaru outback wagon

by from colorado on March 27, 2012

not much to say - you see them EVERY WHERE and for good reason - they are safe, dependable and if well maintained will get over 200,000 miles - only downside is that with all wheel drive they only get...
not much to say - you see them EVERY WHERE and for good reason - they are safe, dependable and if well maintained will get over 200,000 miles - only downside is that with all wheel drive they only get about 21 mpg in the city but still better than a big SUV - and hence great in the snow
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Love this vehicle!

by from Augusta, ME on February 20, 2011

I own the outback sedan v6. Love this car! has good power, great handling and an absolute beast driving in snow! never slip! The cab can be a little small height-wise because of the moon roof...but th...
I own the outback sedan v6. Love this car! has good power, great handling and an absolute beast driving in snow! never slip! The cab can be a little small height-wise because of the moon roof...but thats because I'm a taller guy at 6'2. I highly reccomend this car to anyone in areas with different weather driving. Had it for 2 years now.
Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?