Subaru Outback and Forester

Subaru has done pretty well by sticking to a simple formula -- all cars have all wheel drive and most have relatively small (2.0 - 2.5 liter) flat 4 cylinder engines. So they've had time to work out the kinks, and nowadays, all the models are highly rated overall and for reliability.

We bought our first Outback in 2000, and recently (almost 12 years to the day) purchased a second one. The first one is still in the family, with my daughter out west. It did well towing a small U-Haul trailer from New England to New Mexico. It was pretty reliable, with a head gasket replaced under "special" warranty, and a transmission replacement. And it still looked pretty good after 12 years....

The Bus and 'Baru in 2011

The 2012 Outback

Additional Subaru Outback images from Google Image Search

We recently added a Forester to the stable. The newer Subarus with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) get amazing gas mileage for all-wheel drive vehicles. Both our newer Outback and the Forester have CVTs.

Subaru has departed from the formula in small ways in the past. Some higher-end models are available with a flat-6 cylinder engine, and the Impreza WRX has a supercharged flat-4. And Subaru has started producing a rear wheel drive sports car, the BRZ. It still uses a flat-4 engine, but with direct injection. It's also sold as the Scion FR-S in the USA.