Subaru builds its Outback in two body styles, sedan and station wagon. Two four-cylinder engines and one six-cylinder engine are available. Standard across the line is Subaru's all wheel-drive, which comes in three versions, each matched to a specific combination of engine and transmission.
The 2.5i and 2.5i Limited, both wagons, get a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission ($1000).
Next up are the 2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited, again, both wagons, with a 250-horsepower, turbocharged and intercooled version of the same four-cylinder engine. The five-speed manual transmission is beefed up to handle the additional power, and a five-speed Sportshift automatic is available ($1200).
The top of the line 3.0 R comprises three iterations: the sole sedan wearing the Outback badge and two wagons, the R L.L. Bean Edition and the VDC Limited. The standard powertrain in these three is a 250-horsepower six-cylinder engine coupled to the same five-speed Sportshift automatic that's an option in the XT. The VDC stands for Vehicle Dynamics Control, an electronic stability control system.
Buyers of the base 2.5i ($23,995) get a respectable feature set. The driver enjoys an eight-way power seat, tilt steering wheel, auto-off headlights and cruise control. There's the usual complement of power windows, outside mirrors and door locks and remote keyless entry. Air conditioning comforts occupants, who sit on durable-looking fabric upholstery and listen to a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo. The cargo area has its own light, carpet (including on the back of the rear seats, which are 60/40 split fold-down units), grocery bag hooks and a retractable cargo area cover. The rear bumper is protected by a full-width step pad, and the roof rack comes already fitted with cross bars. With the 2.5i Limited ($26,995) come fog lamps, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, dual-zone automatic air, leather-trimmed upholstery and dual-panel power moonroof.
Stepping up to the 2.5 XT ($27,995) forfeits the moonroof but adds body-colored outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and decorative door sill and rear liftgate sill plate covers, along with a four-way power seat with manual lumbar for the front-seat passenger, sport front seats and leather trim for the brake handle and shift lever. A leather-wrapped, Momo-brand steering wheel has integrated Sportshift control buttons if the optional five-speed automatic is ordered. The XT Limited ($30,695) brings perforated leather seat trim and restores the power moonroof.
The 3.0 R sedan ($30,995) gets a tire pressure monitoring system, a rear-seat center armrest with trunk pass-through and a single panel power moonroof but trades the turn indicator-equipped outside mirrors for the base units. A Momo-brand, mahogany-and-leather-wrapped steering wheel has integrated audio controls. Wagon lovers opting for the 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition ($32,195) enjoy an auto-dimming inside mirror with electronic compass, L.L. Bean floor mats and leather-trimmed seats and a removable cargo tray. Turn indicator-equipped outside mirrors return on the 3.0 R VDC Limited ($33,395), as does the dual-pane moonroof. A three-frequency, programmable remote opener system joins a stereo upgraded with an MP3 player and rear sub woofer.
Standard safety equipment across the line comprises dual-stage frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and full coverage side curtain airbags. Active front-seat head restraints are standard, too, as are anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.
All-wheel drive remains standard across the line, but 2005 sees three systems, one more than in 2004, maintaining the trademark capability but at reduced cost and complexity. The automatic transmission now houses five speeds and comes with Sportshift, a manual-type shift function allowing drivers to select individual gears but without using a clutch pedal.
Buyers can order a number of aftermarket-type options through dealers. Three cargo nets ($42 to $68) are available, one of which attaches to the rear seatbacks and ceiling-mounted hooks, separating the passenger and cargo compartments. An auto-dimming/compass rearview mirror ($183) can be added to those models on which it isn't standard. Other options include an upgraded security system with perimeter alarm ($98); a trailer hitch ($369); a cargo area spotlight ($65); a subwoofer/amplifier ($273); a hood protector ($85); a front bumper underguard ($136); all-weather floor mats ($55); locks for alloy wheels ($41); short-throw shifter for manual transmissions ($339); and a Momo-brand shift knob ($97 for manual, $112 for automatic).