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'07 vs '08 Outback Sport Driving Impressions

javert_123javert_123 Posts: 8
edited March 14 in Subaru
Hi there - I'm on the market for an Ouback Sport (OBS) and haven't figured out what's best for me yet. I drove the '07 and '08 OBS yesterday. The dealer let me take the cars out alone and I drove each on city streets and the freeway for about half an hour.

The '08 is a little more spirited during acceleration, but the major thing I noticed was the wind noise when traveling 55+. I'm pretty sure it was due to the roof rack. This one has huge cross bars and pillars. You could actually here a soft whistling sound while on the freeay. The '07 I drove was quieter in terms of wind noise, but I could hear a little more tire slap and road noise. It did feel a little slower while speeding up. I know it has 173 hp vs the 170 hp of the '08. The '08 has that Sportshift feature, which I played around with and did not figure out. Maybe that makes a difference?

The interior of the two cars feel pretty much the same - subuaru simple. I do like the red back lit gauges and the blue LED light where the coin tray is on the '08. The '07 was very smiple and plain, which isn't necessarily bad. I felt the '07 had more shiny silver plastic molding inside though. The cloth materials in the '07 was stiffer and dotted, while the '08 cloth had black stripes and was more giving. Oh, the '08 OBS had standard heated seats.

Cargo space and back seat room was the biggest difference. I felt more comfortable sitting the backseat of the '08. Apparently it has about 3 inches more leg room over the '07. However, the cargo/trunk space in the '08 looks much smaller. The '08 doors also open wider, which did make it a little easier getting in and out.

At the end of the day, I lost on what I should get. The dealer said he was closing out the rest of the '07s and could offer it around 18,500 before TTL and probably destination charges. The '08 I drove, which had the premium package and VDC, was about $23k. I just don’t know. My original plan was to get the ‘07s on the year-end close out, but the “updated” ’08 has some appeal. I don’t hate the new design shape of the ’08. I like the idea of the red gauges over the plain white of the ’07. I like the wider doors, bigger backseat, and guess the wind noise/whistle would be gone if I took off the rack when not in use. (is it a pain to take these off?).

So does any one out there care to share their comparison thoughts or offer any direction? It’s my first car purchase and I’ll probably drive it to the ground, so I want to make the “right” choice. Thanks!


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you prefer the 08.

    Consider taking a 2nd test drive. Make sure the cross bars on the roof rack have the pointy edges facing back, like the wings of an airplane.

    $23k sounds way too steep, though. I bet prices will settle within a couple of months, and we'll be seeing much better pricing. I don't see $4500 worth of extra content, though, so right now the 07 is a better value.
  • ike3ike3 Posts: 81
    Javert, this is coming to you weeks later from your original and only posting. I test drove the '08 Impreza Outback Sport a few nights ago. This is the only version of the Impreza that includes heated seats, VDC, and heated power outside mirrors. I believe that at least the heated mirrors and VDC (has on/off switch) should be STANDARD on ALL Subaru's, regardless of trim level. Alas, the importer won't be doing that anytime soon...except on these higher end trim levels.
    I did note the whistle sound from the overhead tube roof rack at speeds above 40mph. They can be removed, but I did not attempt that. The sound becomes even louder as I headed past 60mph.
    Headlight coverage at night was okay, but nothing impressive. The red lighting on the instrument panel is nice. But, you cannot turn it off completely when you use the fader to control illumination levels.
    Interior room was adequate. However, why does a person sit so low on the passenger side? There is no manual seat height adjustment for that side, though the driver side seat does offer that feature. The seat is so low that you might find it objectionable. I could barely see above the dashboard. Wish there was height adjustable capability there!
    The stock radio along with clock and outside temperature readout was nice. But, I found myself scratching my head that an idiot light is used for coolant temperature, instead of a gauge on the instrument panel. Legacy and Outback have it.
    Overall, I liked the vehicle a whole lot. For MSRP of $21800 for the 4EAT tranny, its not a bad deal. I have already found decent discounting on this particular vehicle in the Rochester/Syracuse market...where snow is a way of life here for 5-6 months a year.
  • Ike,

    Thanks for your input. I hadn't thought to sit in the front passenger seat. Now that I think about it, the chair did look a bit lower.

    When I drive it again, I plan to take off the roof racks. I've seen some pictures online that make it look pretty easy. I've also heard from a dealer that the hitch is not a factory option so I'll have to go aftermarket to get it and the hitch mounted bike attachment. I don't like having to hoist bikes up on the roof. Anyone with any insight on how I would add a hitch later?

    I've been getting some quotes around the SF Bay Area and they are comming out to be around 20.5k before TTL. These Outback Sports are pretty scarce though. Two dealers have said there aren't many rolling out of the factory because Subaru is pushing out WRXs. I'm not sure how true it is, but it could explain why a number of dealers I called didn't have any.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    This is the only version of the Impreza that includes heated seats, VDC, and heated power outside mirrors. I believe that at least the heated mirrors and VDC (has on/off switch) should be STANDARD on ALL Subaru's, regardless of trim level.

    The WRX with premium package also has all these features.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hitches are not that hard to install. They're a bit heavy, but it was just seven 17mm bolts on my Forester. I did it myself, with a jack to help lift and hold it in place.

    I'm sure anyone could do it if they had a 2nd person helping.
  • ike3ike3 Posts: 81
    Javert, your comments are noted. Yes, absolutely check out that very low slung passenger seat. The only thing I can think of is that it keeps the center of gravity low. Any regular sized or small person will need to use a seat cushion there, and that's not a safe option.
    Also, regarding the removeable roof was more of a wind roar or wind rush sound
    above 40 m.p.h. Whistle sound was an incorrect term from my earlier posting.
    The Outback Sport versions are not that scarce here, but are not plentiful either. The second largest Subuau dealer in the country resides less than 10 miles from my home. Yet, they had only two of them. One was a stick, the other an automatic 4 speed....4EAT in Subaru speak. Might you want to contact them and have them ship it to you? Costly, true. Or check with a dealer in Minnesota or in the Rockies? Such as Salt Lake City, Denver/Boulder area? Just an idea.
  • Thanks for the info. I'm now debating if the outback sport is worth it. The main two reasons I like it over the regular 2.5i wagon are 1) I think the seats are made of better materials, and 2) I like the concept of a "heavy duty suspension".

    I admit my ignorance when it comes to the suspension... The real reason I want it (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that I thought a raised suspension might help make the ride more comfortable/smoother when going over rough streets. The freeways in the bay area are torn to shreds and I feel every bump in my civic. Does a heavy duty suspension address this at all?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's exactly what it would address, at least in theory. In reality I'm not sure just how different the suspension is.
  • Hello, here is the difference in the suspension. The Outback is about 2" higher than the standard model, 2.5i. After driving both extensively, I can tell you definitively that the Outback Sport is more tuned for "sporting" driving, has considerably better ground clearance, and is a lot stiffer in response. This comes in very handy with the symmetrical AWD because here in Colorado with both straight hiways and deep snows to contend with, the car does great. With the suspension coupled with the seats, the ride can be stiff. It can handle dry roads more aggressively in corners (WATCH the rear end-it tends to come about in extreme cornering). The factory 2.5i suspension in the sedan will not handle the rigors of deeper snow (8"+). Believe me, we have both cars ('06 sedan and wagon). When the going is really snowy, hands down the wagon is the pick. When it's shiny, either the sedan or wagon is fun. Bulletproof cars; don't hesitate buying one when you choose the right one for you. The difference between the 06 and 07 is literally the 07 does not come with an ashtray - ask any dealer.
    Happy motoring!
  • Colorado,

    I think you are confusing the Outback with the Outback Sport. The 2008 Outback Sport is only 2 tenths of an inch higher than the rest of the Impreza family. In 2007 the Outback Sport had 6.7" ground clearance compared to the 2008 of 6.3".

    For 2008, using the Legacy platform, the overall wheelbase for the Impreza family is 3.7" longer.

    The overall length dropped on the 5-door, increased for the 4-door. The 5-door is about 2 inches shorter than the previous wagons. The wagon is about 7" shorter than the sedan for 2008, 173.8" versus 180.3". For 2007 both models were 175.8" long.

    The rear suspension is significantly different. The previous generation, for the Sport, used fully independent struts with coil springs, parallel links and a stabalizer bar. The 2008 Impreza family uses a rear double-wishbone suspension with coil springs, with the WRX adding a stabilizer bar.

    The 2008 Sport has a wider 17" tire versus the 16" last year.

    Though the HP for 2008 is 170, so is the torque (170). The 2007 had 173 HP but only 163 torque.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2008 Impreza family uses a rear double-wishbone suspension with coil springs, with the WRX adding a stabilizer bar.

    Do you mean sway bars? I think they all have them, though the WRX' may be thicker.
  • I am going by the spec books.

    The 2007 says "Fully independent, struts with coil springs, parallel links and stabalizer bar. Anti-lift geometry. Multi-phase damping ...."

    For 2008 is says "Fully independent, double-wishbone with coil springs. Anti-lift geometry"

    It is raining real hard right now so I can not climb under the back of the cars and try and figure any other differences. The 2007 WRX on the showroom does have an obvious stabalizer bar tied into the rear suspension. As soon as I have a chance, I will climb under a few 2008's and 2007's and see what I can figure out.
  • Yes, I noticed that very low seating position with the '08 Impreza's passenger seat as well - rather unpleasant, like sitting in a bathtub. That did not seem to be a problem in the Outback.
    There didn't seem to be much wind noise in the Imprezas I drove, but they did not have roof racks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I measured these in May 2005, so I'm sure some of these have changed, but I'll share just for fun...

    This is the seat height, inches off the ground at the seat base:

    Miata: 13" (talk about low)
    Legacy 2.5i sedan: 17.5"
    Impreza RS sedan: 20" (surprise, much higher than the Legacy)
    Outback XT: 22"
    Tribeca: 26"

    So the Outback is higher but surprisingly the regular Legacy was even lower than the Impreza. The Miata is the bath tub one. ;)
  • So there is very little difference in the suspension between an 08 2.5i and the outback sport? In the past, the outback had a raised suspension. Is the new 08 suspension (for both models) anywhere close to heavy duty of the 07 and previous models?
  • I posted the new specs a few posts back. The measurements from 2005 are meaninglesa as the 2008's are on the universal platform.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So there is very little difference in the suspension between an 08 2.5i and the outback sport? In the past, the outback had a raised suspension. Is the new 08 suspension (for both models) anywhere close to heavy duty of the 07 and previous models?

    There was nothing "heavy duty" in the previous generation OBS v. Imprezas. The only difference was where the spring perch was mounted higher so the vehicle say higher. Even the springs were the same.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Replying to: sabre364 (Jan 11, 2008 8:59 pm)

    I posted the new specs a few posts back. The measurements from 2005 are meaninglesa as the 2008's are on the universal platform.

    Seat heights are still relevant cause the 08 Imprezas are different in height from the seats in the legacy, despite them being on a very similar platform.

  • Thanks for all the replies. Its unfortunate that the new OBS loses the extra bit of clearance, but its low enough that you're gonna be plowing snow in a drift anyways. But why is the new OBS .2" higher? Is that due to the 17" wheels or a similar slightly raised perch height like paisan mentioned about the previous impreza?

    I haven't sat in an 07 impreza, but we have a 2000 legacy gt wagon in the family and the seating seems fine. I sat in a new 08 impreza premium wagon in the dealership and the seats are narrow and have great bolsters which work for me because I am not a big guy, but the seats themselves are super flat and provide no support, even compared to the cloth seats in our old legacy. I will have to test drive to find out more. Many have complained about the low passenger seat in the new impreza. this does appear to be the case, but I could care less, the car is for me to tool around in, not carry around my buddies.

    On a side note regarding pricing, I am trying to consider whether it would be worth to consider an 08 OBS over an 08 2.5i wagon premium. Both with 4EAT. The OBS comes in MSRP at exactly about 1k more. Besides the two tone paint, the .2" height difference, and the whistling roof rack, the only major difference is the larger wheels...which IMO don't look as nice as the multi spoke on the premium, though I haven't seen the OBS wheels in person.
  • We are a Subaru family and are about to add another. We will either buy an Impreza 5 door Premium or an Outback Sport (both 5 speeds). We are trying to figure out how the suspensions of the two cars differ. The OBS has 17 in. wheels and 50 series tires, rather than 16 in. 55 series. It also has a "raised" suspension. But, the car is only 1/5 in taller than the standard Impreza and the WRX, so it cannot be raised much.
    We have not been able to do rigorous enough test drives to really wring out the two cars, but on brief drives, the OBS seemed more firmly sprung and better handling -- at the expense of a somewhat stiffer ride and somewhat more tire noise.
    Can anyone verify if this is true -- and, if so, is it simply the 50 series tires, or are there significant differences in suspension as well? For the price difference, we could replace the 16 inch wheels on the Premium with 17's. But we could not change out the suspensions. We are not fans of the fake cladding on the OBS, but will be would be willing to live with it to get a sportier suspension. Anyone have any information?
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