More agile handling and nicer interior quality marked the Outback's 2005 redesign.
Practical and sure-footed in snowy weather, thanks to standard all-wheel-drive, the Outback is a Legacy with added ground clearance and a slightly raised roof.
Thin roof pillars and large windows make for easy outward visibility.
Ride comfort is impressive, but cabin noise can be annoying, particularly with the four-cylinder.
Everyday handling is responsive, though the car can slide its tail out in emergency maneuvers.
For many years, only 3.0 VDC versions got standard electronic stability control; this spread slowly to other trims, with all Outbacks finally getting this desirable safety feature by 2009.
Fuel economy is mediocre; we measured only 21 mpg overall from the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an automatic.
Acceleration with this combination is adequate, but nothing more.
Turbocharged XT models feel very powerful, while the 3.0-liter six-cylinder adds smoothness and quiet refinement; expect only 19 mpg overall on premium fuel with the six.
The sedan version was dropped after 2007.
Front seats are comfortable and controls are easy to use.
Later model years gained a telescoping steering wheel.
Cargo area is generous, with a flat load floor after folding the rear seats.