2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT new car reviews

Better than: 2008 Subaru WRX
But not as good as: Outback 3.0R Limited
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 72.51

The 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT continues to show Subauru's upward trend toward more luxurious and comfortable cars. Thankfully, it also remains as capable as ever thanks to a moderately powerful turbocharged, 2.5-liter, flat-four engine and a reliable all-wheel-drive system.

The interior is probably the clearest indication that the car is headed in an upscale direction: The quality of the leather used on the seating surfaces is as high as anything we've encountered lately. The controls are simple and intuitive, although we don't see a real use for the much-ballyhooed SI-DRIVE system.

This system offers three settings to choose from: Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp--there's even an S# button on the wheel--but we can't imagine why anyone would drive in anything but S# mode. There don't seem to be any fuel economy or ride comfort benefits to using the other modes, so why would we want slower throttle response? We'll just keep it in S#, thanks. We also think the smoother 3.0-liter six-cylinder would suit the car better than the peaky, turbocharged 2.5.

The cozy ride is well-suited to the car's go-anywhere nature. The Outback would be a fine choice for residents of the snow belt, but track day junkies should shop other Subaru choices.

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