Turbocharged Practicality

Taking the new Outback for a spin

What are the words that describe a Subaru?

Useful.

Utilitarian.

Practical.

There’s a theme, you see.

That’s not to say the 2008 Subaru Outback is solely about pragmatism. As with most of the Japanese manufacturer’s all-wheel drive offerings, the Outback also sports mature and quietly understated good looks. And underneath the skin of the Outback 2.5 XT lies a turbocharged engine that gives a good kick when you hit the accelerator.

It’s a good balance between go-go-go and everyday practicality.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited
2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited

The Outback’s interior continues that balance with leather-trimmed seats and soft-touch plastics offset by red-lit instrument gauges that provide a visual edge. Even though the Outback functions like a station wagon — four doors to ample seating for passengers, with tailgate access to a good-sized cargo area — its aim is to provide the driver with a far sportier experience.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT Limited
$32,477
Gas mileage: 18 city/24 highway
Highlights: Strikes a strong balance between the sporty and the practical.
Lowlights: Loads of extras make top-of-the-line model a bit pricey.

Like many cars seeking to add a ”sport” feel to less than sporty cars, the Outback features paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Myself, if I want to shift gears in a car I’d prefer to just have a manual transmission. I’m not convinced paddle shifters are used much beyond the first month or so after purchase, once the novelty wears off.

Being the top-of-the-line Outback, the 2.5 XT tops out well over $30K — you can pass on some of the luxury touches and start with a base model for just over $20K. Either way, you’re looking at a well-established part of the Subaru family that offers a lot of value — and fun — for the price.

Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.

Get the Best of Metro Weekly Delivered to Your Inbox

Our daily emails are personally curated by our editors and feature a wide range of news, features, reviews and interviews. They're a great way to ensure you don't miss out on any of our award-winning content!

  • Features, Updates and Breaking News!
  • Great Prizes -- DVDs, CDs & Tickets to Shows!
  • Special Discount Offers for a City Closest to You!
  • Extra Special Holiday Surprises!