For over two years now, I’ve been piloting a capable machine around the backroads of western Pennsylvania, my 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i. While it certainly isn’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve grown to love this rumbling machine with a four cylinder 2.5 liter boxer engine under the hood. My idea of the perfect car, a 1990s Toyota 4Runner or a mid-2000s supercharged Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, used to be quite different.
Things changed once I rediscovered the Subaru Outback: the go-anywhere, do anything wagon of the brand. I test drove a 2003 model at a local used car dealership and immediately knew that one was in my future. I regret not purchasing that specific car, as it had the larger, less common six-cylinder 3.0 liter H6 engine, paired to the gorgeous L. L. Bean edition trim that Subaru offered during that era. But the check engine light was on, which felt unacceptable for the price. I moved on in my search.
I scoured classified ads, Craigslist, and dealer listings from around the region in search for another odd Subaru unicorn, the Baja.
These quirky car/truck combinations were only made from 2003 to 2006, sharing the same base as an Outback. While I found several, none were in good enough condition to warrant my interest.
Ultimately, I found my current Outback, which I’ve found to be incredibly suited to Pennsylvania roads. All-wheel drive to deliver grip in any situation, ground clearance to handle irregular road surfaces, and plenty of torque to traverse our hills and valleys; besides a dedicated off-road vehicle, what else can do that?
Many people prefer newer cars, but this old warrior is still going strong, even with 135,000 miles and counting. I’m still chasing the Baja, the ultimate unicorn.