Overall, the Subaru Legacy Outback is well conceived. Its all-wheel drive powertrain is a major plus on slippery roads. The Outback rides comfortably and its interior is reasonably roomy and quiet. But the wagon has its shortcomings: Normally competent handling can become tricky at the limit, acceleration is a bit poky, and fuel economy is unimpressive.
Alerts
There are 5 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"The 2002 Subaru handles great on snowy roads. It's a 4 cylinder so it does not accelerate well on steep mountain passes."

Marie P., MT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"In comparison to my other vehicle acceleration and handling are uninspiring to say the least. The looks of this vehicle say fun to drive though it is not due to lack of power."

Anonymous, CO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"It continues to be as reliable as it was when new"

Anonymous, IN (2002 Subaru Outback)

"We have been thrilled with the performance of the all wheel drive and impressed at how little we have had to spend to maintain the mechanicals since acquiring this 2002 when new. The superb mechanical quality has outlasted the paint ( which we've redone) and the plastic components of the interior doors."

BRUCE T., WI (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The Outback hugs the road which really notice when driving in the mountains or when driving in all sorts of severe weather. Also felt secure the one time hydroplaned on Cape Cod -- tires back on the road after a brief few minutes."

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Reliable handling, great turning radius, very good braking"

PAM H., BC (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Is a 4-cyl w/Turbo. Am so pleased w/ability to accelerate that will definitely want a similar engine if/when I purchase a new vehicle. It handles nicely & grips the road well. I'm not an "old" driver!"

Anonymous, MO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Although there is a brief lag first, acceleration is really fast. Ride is smooth and very solid around turns."

Anonymous, OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Very nice handling, after replacing some oem parts with quality aftermarket parts"

VINCENT F., NY (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Fun to drive - has that little Subaru growl even after 14 years."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Big hesitation when wanting to accelerate - VERY annoying."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Drives very well in most weather conditions except ice. The six cylinder engine provides good power for passing and hill climbing."

Anonymous, MN (2002 Subaru Outback)

"the gear ratios match to the engine don't work well."

Anonymous, CT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Very nice pickup - exceptional acceleration when needed"

Anonymous, TX (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The Subaru is great off road and on bad roads. The steering is super and the visibility makes you feel like you are in great control. The acceleration can be sluggish if you need to merge on a hill on a highway."

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Great on snow and ice. Very stable. Acceleration is rather sluggish."

Anonymous, MI (2002 Subaru Outback)

"It's peppy, very responsive, and fun to drive!!!"

John H., ME (2002 Subaru Outback)

Comfort

Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"The seats are comfortable, the ride is fine, not great, but the car is noisy, and it’s hard to hear audio."

Gordon H., OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Quiet comfortable and secure ride in any weather."

Michael E., MI (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are low and one must climb in and out. The leather seats we acquired are adjustable and very comfortable. The air noise has become worse over the years, both external airflow and A/C airflow."

Terry Q., MA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are OK for around town or short trips. They can hurt on long trips."

Anonymous, MT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are not very comfortable. They are quite hard and contribute to back pain, especially on long trips."

Anonymous, NM (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Seals around window (by the side view mirrors) constantly need to be pressed every few months to prevent outside wind noise. Overall the drive is relatively noisy, and the rear suspension is clunky and noisy."

Levi T., UT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"This is an old car and it is a base model. I am amazed at how well the cloth seats have held up. They are still like new. The ride is wonderful. This car can take bumps and hugs the road well. I feel very safe and in control in this car. It is noisy, but the sound system is good, so I just listen to music."

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Seats are comfortable and can be collapsed in back to give outstanding storage capacity"

John T., OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

"I am older and would like more room in the front seat and the back seat areas. I would add more up to date protective devices to my driving comfort."

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are near perfect for good lower back support and the head rests do not push the head forward so there is no support for the lower back as the modern cars do. I've been in different brands of new cars and they are all extremely uncomfortable because of the head supports ."

Anonymous, IL (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Driver seat support is terrible.Not enough options in the electric seat control."

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"There was a wind noise and whistling in the cabin for about a month before I researched common causes online, where I learned that the sound came from the side view mirrors. I was able to get the noise to go away with no tools and for free just by squeezing the plastic part together to prevent any gaps for air to whistle through, and the problem has gone away for almost a year now with no reoccurrence."

LEVI T., UT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Leather seats, still in great condition after 14 years. Climate control is easy and fast, never a problem. The car is a bit noisy on highways, but not bothersome."

ROBIN B., CO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats do have certain pressure points that can become uncomfortable after several hours. Also, the noise factor does seem to be higher than other vehicles."

CAROL F., WA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Seats are too rigid---not comfortable."

GARY S., MO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Handling on the curves of the road and great in snow."

JOAN H., MO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Lots of wind noises when driving on the freeway."

Anonymous, UT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"I had the driver's seat modified so it will go back farther. As a result, the seat is superbly comfortable for a tall person to sit with legs straight out on long trips."

John H., ME (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seat warmers are handy for cold winter days (though in the SF bay area it's never really cold here), and the ride is comfortable. It's not like a luxury car, but nice enough."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Smooth and powerful car, traction control is excellent, in car noise is much less than the standard Outback series, but the seats are HARD!! Subaru's leather seats leave a LOT to be desired."

Brian W., CO (2002 Subaru Outback)

"there is a noisy draft coming into somewhere near the passenger side windshield -- can't find the source"

Michael M., CA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are comfortable cloth seats and in good condition. The car is noisy, though. The ride is relatively comfortable."

Gordon H., OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are very uncomfortable and stiff for me. I would also like my leg room."

Anonymous, NM (2002 Subaru Outback)

Value

Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"A 16 year old ownership speaks for itaself"

Gerhard M., NV (2002 Subaru Outback)

"It’s still working fine after 16 years. We don’t drive it too much, but it gets use as our second ride and for driving in the snow on our hill."

Gordon H., OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Other than normal maintenance, we have only had to repair an air conditioner hose and replace the timing belt."

Marie P., MT (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Best level of reliability of any car I've ever owned."

Michael E., MI (2002 Subaru Outback)

"Probably needs engine seal work, because of oil smell when driving. This seems to be a recurring problem."

Anonymous, WA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"My Subaru does not use oil. It had got me to my destinations every time. I had a flat tire once and my daughter had not left the jack in the car. I used up the battery by running the radio too long. Other than those two items and I made it to my destinations on time."

Anonymous, NJ (2002 Subaru Outback)

"We bought it for $4000 with 130,000 miles so we can't complain about the value since it's still running fine at 150,000. But filling the Subaru with premium ($35-50) after we're used to filling the Prius with regular ($20-30) is quite a shock!"

WILLIAM F., IL (2002 Subaru Outback)

"I paid $9,000. in 2005 for this vehicle which had 87,000 miles on it."

Anonymous, PA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"We bought this car new in October 2001. Aside from maintenance items, the biggest repairs were for engine work, primarily for oil leaks, but also a fluke (a valve broke). It has been a comfortable and reliable car. I have just ordered a brand new Outback to replace it, because I want the latest safety features."

Mark G., VA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"We've used a Subaru dealer for all of our servicing, which is pretty expensive, but the car has been very reliable. What problems we've had, have not caused us to break down, just to get it serviced. We are keeping this car as our second car, because we live at a high altitude, and need it for the 2 or 3 weeks a year that there is snow on the ground. The AWD is good."

Gordon H., OR (2002 Subaru Outback)

Styling

How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"It is an LL Bean edition and I have admired this for a long time"

Anonymous, MA (2002 Subaru Outback)

"LL Bean, beautifully designed, a sun roof and moon roof, speakers front and back. I can't think of anything I don't like."

ROBIN B., CO (2002 Subaru Outback)
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