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Subaru Impreza Outback Sport & TS



  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    Leomort: I can post pics tomorrow. We got back from out of town today and had to also hook our computer back up after having it fixed from damage due to an electrical storm. It's 11:00 pm and I'm beat. But I'll get some on for you sometime tomorrow. You should get a brochure from Subaru on the 2002 Impreza line. Very nice picures of the inside of the car, and specs on the back page.

    Piya: The OBS is a very deluxe version of the TS wagon. Here are some things it has the TS does not: Removable cargo tray (very nice), 12-volt cargo power outlet (like a cigarette lighter type adaptor), Temperature gauge (shows what outdoor temp is, someone said he likes this to know if bridges are frozen over in winter before crossing), Graystone metallic lower color on bumpers, wheel arches, body-side moldings and rocker panels, huge fog lights, cruise control, roof rails with crossbars. Anyway, I got all this from the Subaru brochure I have. Oh, also, the TS has 15" steel wheels with wheel covers. The OBS had 16" aluminum alloys, which many have told me they like the looks of better than the WRX wheels.

    I have a 2002 OBS and here is the clincher for me: I love cruise control for trips.

    Go back thru past posts here to around the beginning of May. I posted pics here of the outside of my car.
  • derekgwderekgw Posts: 5
    I've gone back and forth on what I wanted for a new car and I ended up coming right back to Subaru (Currently drive a '93 Impreza wagon which is staying in the family. Better than giving the poor thing to some stranger). Hatchback, AWD, powerful engine for the class, it's all good.

    Anyway I'm going to be picking up my Silver OBS in a few days. After going from dealership to dealership, and dealing with the worst they had to offer I finally went to the internet and got a good price from one of the sites that's out there with no haggling (go figure) I'd recommend that method of buying a car to anyone.

    Anyway, I was wondering if I could find out a couple of things.

    #1 - I've seen complaints on the quality of Subaru's paint as of late (My old one was ok . . . Better than a lot of '93 Civics, Crapaliers and Escorts I've seen running around but I think it was also repainted in various spots before I bought it so who knows). I've also heard that the Metallic paints they have are a bit better for durability than their other paints. Is this true and would the silver fall into the metallic variety? (Well it looks metallic-ish to me) Also, how soon can you wax the paint on this car. I've heard paint has to settle first before waxing but I'm not sure if that's the case nowadays let alone with this car.

    #2 - Break-in time . . . How fast is too fast for this car during that period of time? I have not asked the dealership yet but I'm almost positive it's probably around 55 mph. Considering that everyone in this area drives 80-90 down the interstate despite the speed limit being 55 this will be interesting. Can I get away with at least doing 70 and not doing any damage to the car or compromising getting at least 200k miles out of it?

    #3 - Does anyone here have experience with a clearbra on this car? How do you like it?

    #4 - What kind of oil (Brand name, fully synthetic, semi-synthetic, etc) have you used and what would you recommended (assuming you change it yourself rather than going to the dealership or Oil XChange). Also are there any benefits to changing the oil early (before the first 3k miles comes up)

    And finally #5 - Why couldn't Subaru make cruise available on the 2.5TS (Hey I got a cruise control kit for my '93. Genuine Subaru too. Why can't they do that for the 2.5TS?). I don't understand why a car that's already pretty well equipped with power everything, CD, etc wouldn't have cruise available for it. It's not an expensive thing, I think the add-on for my '93 was only $80 (bought a few months ago). Anyway, if it was that would've been the model I would've gone for (make mine that cool looking metallic blue that's not available on the OBS :p)

    But that's just more of a complaint than a question. :-)

    Any help you guys can give me on the first four questions however would be appreciated. Thanks!!
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    derek: I'll try to answer what I can. You can also go to, click on clubs, then type in "Outback Sport" to go to the Outback Sport club. Another source is You can search thru past topics at both sites and very informative.

    I have read about many complaints on the paint. It seems to me that folks living in areas where there is lots of gravel and road scud kicking up, that the complaints are loudest. Here in Florida I don't have too many complaints about my paint.

    We waxed both my 2000 OBS and my 2002 OBS within the first four weeks of ownership. Figure the paint has already been curing on the car, but that's just my opinion. Didn't seem to hurt either car. I would think silver would qualify as metallic.

    I think they tell you not to go over 4000 rpm the first 1000 miles and to vary the speed (I interpreted this to mean, no cruise control during this period.) I pretty much did this, just don't drive like a wildman (for the time being) and you'll be fine.

    I use 10w/30. The Subaru manual lists 5w/30 for temps that go cold and 10w/30 for temps that go hot. It's pretty much hot here. I have read not to use synthetics until you have 5000 miles on the car, but there are different schools of thought on this. Research at the sites I gave you above and see what you believe. Synthetic is quite a bit more expensive and I'm good about getting changes every 2500-3000 miles, so don't know if I'll go that route.

    I think they wanted people to move up in price to the Outback Sport in order to get cruise control. Also, look back a little thru these posts a few days and I list some things the OBS has that the TS wagon does not. The whole thing is decked out more. Alloy wheels and all, nice looking, too!
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    Sorry, took awhile to download to, may have to try this more than once to get it to work, here goes (pics of inside back end 2002 OBS):

  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    Notice the 60/40 split rear seat:

  • estoesto Posts: 136
    Celeste, thanks for the photos. Could you tell me if the back seat bottom cushion folds up and forward, so the seatbacks can go farther down, to make the cargo area flat? If so, is the seat cushion also split 60/40 (like the Protege5 and Elantra GT, unlike the ZX3)?

  • derekgwderekgw Posts: 5
    The seats fold completely flat without having to put the bottom cushion up (one of the major upgrades from my '93 that I really liked) Most you have to do is take the headrests out.

    This is a lot more convienent than the having to go through all that hassle just to get them flat (I never bothered unless I was carrying a lot for a long ways)
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Thank you for the pictures. Does the OBS come with full size spare? Do you know what the cargo size is with seats up/down? Also what's the gas mileage with the new 2.5L? You have an automatic, correct?

    If it isn't too personal a question, why do you chose the OBS? I'm debating between the Forester and OBS. The OBS might win out due to price consideration for me if cargo area is decent. Debating if it's worth waiting until the redesigned 2003 Forester comes out?

    Thanks for the help.

  • derekgwderekgw Posts: 5
    We'll see how that paint works out in Chicago then . . . Car paint doesn't usually survive here for long anyway unless you take very good care of it.

    Mine was just fresh out of the wrapper before I reserved it. Had 25 miles on the odo and nothing worked (dome light, a/c, and radio were all disconnected they connect them during the prep) So I wonder how long the paint had to cure . . . I think I'll give it two to three months before I wax. It's probably not an issue until winter anyway.

    Yup the OBS is more well equipped than the TS but, aside from Alloys & Cruise, the TS had everything I wanted on it already. I think you're right on that though with trying to move people to the more expensive model. It worked on me!

    Thank you for all the other information on the car! :-)
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    esto: Derek is right. You don't have to lift the bottom of the back seat (it is NOT split like the seat back, since it stays put), there are 3 headrests on the back seat you can remove in order to be able to slide the front seats further back with the back of the back seats placed in the downward position.

    leomort: No, it does not come with a full-sized spare, which I regret, although with our 2000 OBS we did have to use the spare once, and it was OK. You don't want to drive on it much, but I don't anyway when I have a flat. I would like a full-size spare, but don't think it would fit in the spare compartment.

    I have the automatic, on a recent trip to Ft. Lauderdale with about 500 lbs of people and some light luggage, with the A/C on almost full tilt, got a little over 23 mpg on the highway. In the city it's around 19-20. With my manual 2000 OBS I never got over 18 in the city. We run our A/C almost constantly in Florida except for maybe 3 months out of the year, which figures in. Not stellar, but the car is worth it.

    Will get back with you on the rest, a lightning storm has brewed up and I need to log off to protect my computer from lightning damage. We were hit last week and don't want a repeat. Back later.....
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    leomort: Back again! OK, cargo space according the the brochure for the OBS is 27.9 cu ft. with rear seat up, 61.6 cu ft. with rear seat down. Not sure how that compares with Forester. You could go to and check for specs there or go to which has a Forester forum. You'd get an immediate response there, probably.

    I chose the 2000 OBS I had because of the sporty looks but had to trade to an automatic from manual because of a nerve problem in my foot. So, just moved up to the 2002. I like the solid color of the TS wagon, but want the cruise control too badly, along with the other options. The fog lights are really big and sooo nice. Look back thru these posts to around the beginning of May--I posted pics of outside of car with lights on.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Thank you again for all the info! Appreciate your time and effort.

  • action303action303 Posts: 17
    Well, the time has come. My black 2002 OBS will be ready for me in 2 days. I feel like I used to when it was December 23 :)

    Anyway, my questions is mainly for anyone that has a 2002 OBS. I'd like to know if there are any tricky or hidden oddities about the car that I should specifically inquire about at the dealer, or if there are any features that are harder to figure out than you'd expected.

    I want to make sure I have all the bases covered before I drive to the nearest dirt road :) Thanks!
  • brekkebrekke Posts: 304
    I just checked the subaru website and the Forester cargo area is rated as:
    seats up: 32 cu. ft.
    seats down, with moonroof: 58.5 cu ft.
    seats down, without moonroof: 63.1 cu. ft.

    I believe mileage is 22/27 AT
    21/28 MT
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    action 303: Congratulations! Another beutiful black OBS. Black is harder to keep pristine but in spite of that, it is hypnotic looking. (Although if they had silver on the lot that day I would have gotten that color!)

    No real tricks with this car. Are you getting a manual or automatic? If manual, I do know some say it's not the most cinchy manual to drive. My 2000 OBS was manual, and I did notice that I needed to get the hang of it (it was different than my Volvos had been). I learned to wait until the clutch was almost all the way up to give it any gas at all, then give it VERY little until the clutch was all the way out. Other people who complaint about clutch shudder are those who are always giving too much gas too soon. My Volvos always seemed to engage halfway up, but the Subie as I said, was almost all the way up. But you can really launch those manuals. It just takes a little patience at first and learning when to give it the gas. I could beat almost any car off the line with that all wheel drive and a clutch. Even with my automatic 2002, if I put it in 1st gear, it launches really nice with my air intake. But I was told it's bad, bad, to shift thru the gears all the time with an automatic. So I save that for when I have a creep next to me at a red light who seems to want to take advantage of me, then, WHAM, I hit it and let him know 165 hp with an intake is to be reckoned with!

    Oh yeah--I'll pass along something I have read about quite frequently on the i-club. Several people with new Subies get the car home and in the first few weeks find not all the fluids have been checked and some are already low.

    Tell the dealer you have heard of this problem and please include complete fluid check when they detail the car for delivery to you....

    Enjoy! It is such a tight car and rides on the highway like a little dream.....
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    Did you get your OBS? How is the clutch working for you??
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    It's me ramon. I've been away back to my home country for 3+ weeks. It was great. The trip was fantastic. Looks like celeste is doing a great job being the go to gal on these OBS topic. I can retire now. =)
    OK for some Suby content. when I was back in Malaysia, I got to see a few old WRX (STi? not sure) running around. Not alot. Saw one really sleek black Turbo Forester will make juiceman just slober over it. But hte best was this white B4 RSK when I was up at a mountain resort area. It looked so darn sweet. I want one!!!
    Scoobies are relatively scarce. But there's lots of Mitus Lancer EVOs. Really ricy lookin in person but we all know who killer these cars are. A few Skylines were also spotted.
    Aight gotta go now. bye!
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Thank you for the info :)

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I would've been chasing down those "super Subes" and asking for a ride!

  • brekkebrekke Posts: 304
    no OBS, I have not heard from my dealer since I ordered it over 6 weeks ago. *sigh* Thanks for the fluid check idea.

    Then I heard someone say that compared to the new mazda protege5 the TS/OBS handled like "shopping carts" Oy vey! More doubts for me.

    Welcome back ramon! I was wondering what happened to you.

    Action: how long was your wait? I'm pretty sure you ordered before I did.
  • action303action303 Posts: 17
    I ordered the car on May 7 (Van Bortel Subaru, upstate NY..that's why I wanted AWD!). At the time, they expected it to arrive in late June, but things have apparently run ahead of schedule.

    It also sounds like you're having the "big purchase nervousness" that I'm having too. There are a couple things about the car that worry me (visibility, mediocre gas mileage), but then I remember all the cool things about the car that made me like it in the first place. Keep in mind that there's no such thing as the perfect car, and that every car will have some qualities that we don't like. I think the OBS is a fine selection :)

    I suggest that you give your dealer a call ... I called my dealer about a week ago, and they told me this: A boat arrives in Boston full of Subarus sometime between June 8-15 (and since my car is in already, it must have been more towards the 8th. Also, "boat" doesn't seem like the right word for something carrying a couple thousand cars..). Depending on where your dealer's cars are on that giant boat, and depending on how far you are from Boston, they can predict about how long it will take for the car to get here. At the time, she didn't know whether or not the boat had arrived yet, but once it did, she could give me a better estimate.

    I don't know if the Boston boat serves the whole country or just the east coast or something, but your delear may be able to give you similar information to give you some idea of when it'll arrive.

    One more trick (sorry this post is getting so long). Find your dealer's web page from, and the "New Cars" link will let you check the dealer's inventory. The other day, I saw that my dealer had logged the arrival of a couple new Imprezas, so I got the feeling that my car would be there soon too (and they called me the next day too tell me it was here).

    Anyway, good luck :)
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    did you say the OBS has poor visibilty?

  • action303action303 Posts: 17
    I wouldn't say it has bad visibility, but it's more difficult to check the blind spot of the OBS than with my current (soon to be previous) vehicle. The location of the B and C bars (I think that's what they're called), together with the fact that there is only a small field of view between the headrest and the A bar (again, I hope I'm getting these right) makes it tricky to check the blind spot.

    Another factor is the how tall you are and the position of the driver's seat. Again, I didn't think it was bad enough to avoid buying the car, but it's something to think about.
  • brekkebrekke Posts: 304
    D'oh! I ordered 4/28 and I live in NY so I would think that my car is on that shipment too.

    I don't have any regrets about getting the Sube, I wanted an AWD hatchback and I didn't want to spend more than 20K. I only had doubts about splurging for the WRX, but it really was out of my price range. I am sure that I will be happy with the OBS, it is a step or two up from what I have been driving.

    Anyway, I can't wait for us to compare notes =)
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    Hey, Ramon! thought you had fallen off the face of the earth (or driven off the face of the earth), how long did you go without driving your car? Bet you were itching to get back, eh? Was it pretty hot in Malaysia? Now when are you doing your next race?

    Brekke: Don't get the jitters. This car is absolute heaven.

    Gas mileage? If it's really critical, get a Geo or an Echo. But betcha won't feel as safe in those cars OR have as much of a smile on your face when you drive!! I have trouble getting more than 20 mpg in town with mine, but of course, the A/C runs full tilt all the time.

    Poor visibility: With the headrests in the back, I think it contributes to the visibility problem. I removed the center backseat headrest and brought it in the house. Makes it much easier. Now, if you never have anyone ride in the back, you could take off all the back headrests and keep them either in the back of your car or in your house. The Volvo wagon I drove before I got a Subaru was an 84 and like a tank, huge visibility all around. But I'm used to this car now and use my mirrors alot. To see out to the left side lean over and use your rearview mirrow to look out and help check your left side where it's hard to see. You'll adapt.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    hi all,
    there was no way I could've chased those super AWD cars down especially on my friend's crappy corolla.
    celeste : i won't be racing anytime soon I'm afraid. I have some priorities to set straight. i really didn't miss my scooby until I came back. I was just so busy back in Malaysia catching up with my relatives and friends.... anyhow I am still bushed. Sadly I have to go back to work tomorrow.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    With my 97 OBS and my wife's 99 OB, I can adjust the side view mirrors and completely eliminate any blind spots. I don't even need to look over my left shoulder, but I do out of habit.

    Try playing with the mirrors and you can find the perfect spot. Mine are adjusted so that if I can't see a car in my side-view mirror, I can already see it in my peripheral vision.

  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I'm debating between this and the Forester. The Forester might be out my budget but I'm going to see if I can wait until the redesign Forester before making my decision.

    I was surprise that the cargo cu/ft wasn't that much smaller for the OBS. IT must be surprising large inside!!!

This discussion has been closed.