Research

2009 Subaru Outback Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

7.2
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
7.0
Expert Rating
Performance
7.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
7.0
Expert Rating
Safety
9.0
Expert Rating
Features
6.0
Expert Rating

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2009 Subaru Legacy Outback boasts more toughness than most wagons and is a good, practical alternative to tall, ungainly SUVs.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com know that your next car-buying decision is sure to be an important one. For this reason, editors have scoured the Web to bring you highlights of some of the Web's most thorough reviews of the 2009 Subaru Legacy Outback. Editors also include their own driving opinions, along with their no-nonsense Bottom Line take, so that you can make the best decision possible.

The 2009 Subaru Outback lineup includes several versions, including a wagon body style. All receive the rugged treatment, picking up a raised heavy-duty suspension and body-side cladding that hints at greater brawn. The Outback is otherwise mechanically similar to the Legacy sedan, which is covered by a separate review.

The Outback is offered in a wide range of models, now ranging from the basic 2.5i up to the sporty XT Limited and luxurious 3.0R Limited. The 2.5i and 2.5i Limited models get a 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("flat") four, while the 2.5 XT and XT Limited upgrade to a high-performance turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four making 243 hp. And at the top there's a 245-hp, 3.0-liter flat-six powering the 3.0R.

With the base engine, the 2009 Subaru Outback has adequate power with a light load, but if you plan on hauling a lot of stuff or driving in the mountains, the engine can feel taxed. It's made worse by the four-speed automatic, which can shift abruptly and has rather widely spaced gears. The turbocharged engine in the XT is the most responsive, with none of the lag that sometimes plagues turbos, but the six is the smoothest and most refined.

Across the line, the Outback models get all-wheel drive and have up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which may prove very useful in deep snow or mud. Subaru models with the base engine have either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while XT models get either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, which includes Sportshift paddle shifters. At the top, the six-cylinder engine comes with just the five-speed automatic.

Models with the turbocharged four or the six-cylinder engine get SI-Drive, a system that has three different modes allowing throttle response, transmission shift, and other characteristics to change from smooth to sharp as desired in the 2009 Subaru Outback.

Despite having the heavy-duty suspension, Outback models handle very well on the road, with crisp, rather communicative steering and not much body lean; ride comfort is quite good as well, but road noise can be an issue inside.

Overall, the interior is rather basic but attractive with matte-metallic materials and mid-grade plastics. There are no overt luxury pretenses here, except in the top models, which pile on the convenience features and upgrades. Seating in the 2009 Subaru Outback is comfortable for five normal-sized adults, though front-seat occupants might find headroom tight with the available moonroof. A 440-watt Harman-Kardon premium audio system is standard across the line for 2009.

Anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags, and active front head restraints are all included. For 2009, Subaru's electronic stability system is standard across the line. The Subaru Outback receives top five-star results from the federal government in both frontal and side impact tests.

Top 2009 3.0R Limited models get a navigation system, upgraded heated seats, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, and a six-speaker sound system. Some of the latest expected tech features, such as a Bluetooth interface, an iPod interface, and live traffic updates, aren't available.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Sunday, August 14, 2016
For 2016 Subaru Outback

A vehicle whose performance exceeds its price.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
The 2016 Outback has been completely reliable for the 9000 miles we have put on it. The adaptive cruise control and multiple other safety features are much appreciated. The car accelerates from a stop very... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Saturday, May 14, 2016
2016 Subaru Outback 4-Door Wagon 2.5i Limited

Positive First Impression

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Seating in the Outback Limited is very comfortable and road/wind noise in the cabin is relatively quiet. The leather surfaces in the cabin are soft and well designed. 4 cylinder is adequate as long as you... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
2016 Subaru Outback 4-Door Wagon 3.6R Limited

Very Solid Vehicle So Far

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I've had the Outback for almost 7 months, and I have 9300 miles it. I have driven the car through the mountains of NC, WV, TN and PA, and the 3.6R easily handled those peaks (MPG - 26). I also drove the... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Subaru Outback?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2009 Subaru Outback against the competition
Compare All Cars