Subaru Legacy/Outback (2004 – 2009) Review

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Subaru Legacy/Outback (2004 – 2009) At A Glance


+More kit and better mpg than previous model. Sensible, reliable and safe estate, ideal for rural use. Spec B is very rapid, Outback a great tow car.

-High running costs.

Insurance Groups are between 19–26
On average it achieves 97% of the official MPG figure

I'd been mightily impressed by a brief driver in a 245PS Legacy Spec B automatic. Three levels of power output, paddle-shifting five speed autobox. Fantastic. A great big WRX STI. So I'd ordered one to road test.

The driver delivered it and collected the previous week's Rodeo while I pounded away at my keyboard. So it wasn't until I went out to the car that I began to suspect something was up.

Er, nothing behind the steering wheel. Up the creek without a paddleshift, you might say. And it didn't go like a 245PS 3.0 litre flat six either.

While I was taking my snaps I popped the bonnet and counted the spark plug leads. One, two, three, four...that's it. I obviously hadn't got a Spec B, then? I opened the package that came with it and found it described on the insurance doc as a "2.5 Sports Tourer auto".

The mystery deepend, because they're not supposed to do a 2.5 Sports Tourer. That was dropped when they upped the power of the 2.0 litre to 165PS. Sure the 2.5 continued in the Outback. But this wasn't an Outback.

Eventually I got this cleared up. It was, in fact, a 2008 model year 2.5, now with power upped lightly to 173PS and back on the price list. Power of the 2.0 has now come down to the same 150PS as the Impreza, and torque up to 144.6lb ft, making that engine more tractable.

Subaru Legacy 2.5 Sports Tourer 2007 Road Test

Looking for a Subaru Legacy/Outback (2004 - 2009)?
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Real MPG average for a Subaru Legacy/Outback (2004 – 2009)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

19–54 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

How can I fix leather seat discoloration?
"The ivory leather on the driver's seat of my 2005 Subaru Outback has two yellow marks coinciding where my legs sit but as I wear blue denim jeans for 95 per cent of my waking hours, it can't be from clothing. As for sunlight staining, the more prominent parts of both front seats are unmarked, so unlikely. Any suggestions?"
The stains might actually be from oils and grease, or sweat. The same can happen to leather steering wheels as your skin produces oils that damage the leather over time. They might not, but it's likely. I would try Meguiar's Leather cleaner, conditioner and protectant on it:
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Can a head gasket fail after only 10,000 miles?
"My 2005 Subaru Outback 3.0R is losing coolant at a high rate, which reputable garages have diagnosed as a head gasket or cracked cylinder with estimates of £1800 - £ 3600 to replace. In 2015, the head gasket was replaced at a cost of £2300. Can a head gasket fail after 10,000 miles? Is it a valid approach to buy a used replacement engine through eBay? I'm keen to retain this car with its known provenance. Can you advise?"
Actually too difficult to answer. Yes, it's possible that one of the replacement head gaskets could have failed. Remember it has two: one for each bank of 3 cylinders. One may have been replaced and one not. It's also possible that the head or the block could be cracked. Replacement specialist engines bought via eBay could be fine or could be disastrous. These people are trustworthy:
Answered by Honest John
Transmission fluid
"Do you know what ATF fluid I should use for a Subaru Legacy 2.0R 2007 162bhp normally aspirated 4 speed auto?"
You cannot change automatic transmission fluid. The old stuff needs to be pumped out at the right temperature and pressure. Merely draining it will only get rid of about half. Take it to a member of
Answered by Honest John
4x4 estate choice - which should I go for?
"I cannot work out which Allroad, XC70 or legacy with £8000 to get. Please help. Is one more reliable than the other. I know it will have to a few years old an with decent mileage. "
Generally, but not specifically, the Legacy will be the most reliable. But all except later Audi Allroad 2.7 and 3.0V6 diesels are belt cam. Check the entries in
Answered by Honest John

What does a Subaru Legacy/Outback (2004 – 2009) cost?