2008 Subaru Outback


$5,633 - $8,653

2008 Subaru Outback Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2008 Subaru Outback was new.


Interior: 7.5

Though some of its competitors offer roomier interior cabins, the Outlook is still praised for its ability to transport passengers in relative comfort and luxury. BusinessWeek finds the five-passenger interior "is spacious and comfortable," but cautions against filling the three-person backseat to capacity with larger riders, writing, "I would make sure you aren't the one stuck in the middle." Edmunds says "materials quality is excellent" and "the dash and door tops have an upscale grain and feel soft to the touch." The Detroit News is not alone in deciding that -- especially at higher trim levels -- the "sophisticated cabin looks like it belongs in a more expensive vehicle."


The five-passenger Outback seats two in front and three in the rear. "The four-door outback can seat five, but four will fit more comfortably," Forbes writes. Consumer Guide says "all seats comfortable," and the front seats have "plenty of leg room," but finds "head room tight for taller riders." To the New York Times "front seats were comfortable, firm and supportive," and the driver's seat was easily adjustable. Lastly, Edmunds reports, "The seats are well shaped and offer an optimum blend of soft cushioning and firm support."

Comfort in the back seat is dependent on how much leeway front passengers give. Consumer Guide finds "good leg room" unless the front seats are "pushed far back," but notes toe space is "cramped if front seats aren't raised." Forbes says, "A 5-foot-10-inch passenger said the second row offered plenty of legroom and headroom." But Edmunds represents consensus better, saying rear-seat room is the Outback's "primary weakness, as there's considerably less shoulder room, legroom and foot room than in competing wagons and SUVs."

Interior Features

According to the Washington Post and others, the Outback "is loaded with standard equipment at a price substantially lower than those of comparably equipped SUVs." Even the base model comes equipped with power windows and door locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, an MP3 compatible stereo with a CD player and air conditioning. The Chicago Sun-Times says the Outback "makes the first Subarus sold here in the early 1970s seem like Ford Model Ts."

The Outback's straightforward dash layout draws good reviews. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman calls it "understated and spare, with minimal clutter." As Kelley Blue Book puts it, "Like most aspects of the Outback, its dashboard and control layout convey a down-to-business personality." But Cars.com says, "For the love of all that's right in the world, can't Subaru do something about its cabin lighting? My test car's large moonroof, which is hardly a new feature for Subaru, results in a dome light that's way behind the front seats. The result is a dark, shadowy front seat and dashboard."

Optional for the first time is XM satellite radio. New last year and carried over to this year is the optional navigation system. Forbes calls it "easier to use than systems with over-sensitive toggles," but dislikes the way the system shows "every exit in which an alternative route could be taken during a straight-line trip."


The Kansas City Star writes, "Because the Outback is basically a four-wheel-drive station wagon, its cargo area is somewhat limited" compared to SUVs. With the seats up, the Outback has 33.5 cubic feet of storage space. But, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, "The back seats are split and easily fold forward to create more space" -- 65.4 cubic feet, to be exact -- "and Subaru includes a heavy-duty vinyl bed cover in back. Under that are storage bins, a nice touch." But Edmunds notes, "Pop the rear hatch, and it's amazing how light the Subaru Outback's door is to lift open. After a few open-close repetitions, we realized it was an equally light 'two-finger' closer -- a welcome relief to package- or kid-burdened drivers."

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