2011 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Subaru Outback

  • The 2011 Subaru Outback is an appealing alternative to conventional wagons and crossovers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious interior, excellent outward visibility, crossover-besting cargo space, comfortable ride, perfect crash scores, commendable off-road performance for a wagon, simple controls on lower trims.

  • Cons

    Lacks agility, numb-on-center steering, poor base stereo, fussy controls on upper trims.

  • What's New for 2011

    A rearview camera is added to the options list for the 2011 Subaru Outback. The 3.6R Limited trim gets standard satellite radio.

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Still ok, but here to

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

My 2011 outback has almost 36,000 miles. Several pieces of plastic have broken on the interior--all covered on the warranty. But now I that I have reached the millage limit, I may be on the hook for these irksome repairs. Also, the battery hold down bars are corroding. I brought it up to the dealer, and the technician acted as if it was a mystery, and nothing to worry about. However, my 2004 legacy must've had the same problem, as the battery holder corroded completely and needed replacement after about 60,000 miles. That cost me almost $200 at the dealer! That's all to report for now.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

They need to upgrade the

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I have owned two Subaruís over the past four years (2009 Forrester; 2011 Outback). I was happy to start up with the Subaru line since I thought I would be getting a quality car. I have to say that Iíve been disappointed in the quality and irksome ďnormalĒ issues. It has the standard Subaru brake clunk and the muffler-guard rattle. It has a catalytic convertor baffle noise vibration too. It has a clicking noise behind the driverís dashboard and creaking/rattles in the plastic trays on the sides of the doors. Iíve already started looking at what other car brand I might be able to purchase. Sorry Subaru, itís sayonara for me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great car...they think of everything!!

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

This is my second Subaru. I had a 2009 Subaru forrester but found it to be kind of an ambling vehicle (not very responsive or sporty). After40k miles, I traded in my Forrester for a 2011 Outback. The Outback is very sporty and is fun to drive...very peppy. Very reasonably priced for the features provided. I've been getting 30 mpg and love the vehicle. This is the perfect vehicle for an active individual. It hauls my road bikes on the hitch rack, the kayak on the roof, and my therapy dog to the nursing home. Then it cleans up nicely to haul five people comfortably to dinner and a concert. Truly a great deal!!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

First subaru purchase

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I have owned Ford vehicles all my life, but due to quality issues, decided to purchase a 2011 Subaru Outback. After owning this vehicle for over a year, and with 15,000 miles, it has exceeded my expectations and is worthy of all the positive reviews. I have no issues with the 4 cyl. not having enough power. It does very well in all driving settings and my gas mileage is averaging 22 MPG city and 30 MPG highway. Interior room is great for a family of four. Handling in snow is terriffic with no issues whatsoever. The Outback is a great reliable, economical, safe family vehicle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Happy with car

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

The OB matches the comfort level of my '04 Rainier. Love the gas milage especially on longer trips. Over all very pleased with this car. Chose Premium version because we live in FLA and do not need the all weather package that is standard on Limited.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

We love our outback and

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Vehicle: 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

We picked up our Outback on 12/1/10, the day we had the first "real" snow of the '10-'11 winter. The Outback was put to the test right away and was great all winter. It performed really well in snow and on icy roads. Gas mileage is great too. We were looking for a vehicle to haul our four dogs. The Outback has plenty of space for them. The ride, seating, and handling are as good or better than anything else we've owned. We're up to 10,000 miles and the more I drive this car the more I love it.


Full 2011 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2011

A rearview camera is added to the options list for the 2011 Subaru Outback. The 3.6R Limited trim gets standard satellite radio.


The 2011 Subaru Outback is named after a mammoth, flat expanse of Australia filled with red dirt, dingoes and places with names like Woolloomooloo. With its generous ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, the Outback would probably be pretty good at dealing with the deserted vastness of the Outback. Here in the United States, though, Subaru's blending of wagon and SUV has become a favorite for those who live in mountainous and/or snowy climates. Yet, because of last year's full redesign, the Outback is now bigger and more comfortable than before, catering better to those who live in a variety of places and climates.

While we lament that this increase in size removed much of the responsive and fun-to-drive nature from the Outback, its massive increase in sales certainly shows that these "big" changes are resonating with the crossover-buying populace. Interior space is of particular note, as there's plenty of headroom, loads of rear seat sprawl space and more cargo capacity than many midsize SUVs. If you can't fit all your cargo inside, adjustable roof rails easily swing inward to serve double duty as cross rails. It's a nifty feature that cuts down on the wind noise and air drag that go along with fixed cross rails.

Despite the Outback's size, the use of high-tensile steel allows it to earn perfect crash scores across the board and keep weight down. In fact, the Outback weighs about 550 pounds less than a Toyota Venza. This certainly makes things easier for the four- and six-cylinder "boxer" engines. Although the latter provides more than enough gusto for those who live in those mountainous places, the four-cylinder's impressive fuel economy when equipped with the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) should make it the choice for most. Unfortunately, a turbocharged engine is no longer available -- the previous Outback's turbo engine helped compensate for the typical power drop in high-altitude environments.

However, now that the Outback is more crossover than wagon, it does have a greater number of vehicles it must compete with such as the 2011 Chevy Equinox, 2011 Honda CR-V and 2011 Toyota RAV4. There's also Subaru's similarly sized Forester, though the Outback differs with a higher-quality interior, a quieter and more comfortable ride and a more carlike driving position. Should you desire a more traditional wagon with better handling than the big-boned Outback, the Volvo V50 and VW Jetta are good choices.

All are worth a look but in general we're impressed with the 2011 Subaru Outback and think it now appeals to a greater number of people. Whether you live in Woolloomooloo or Walla Walla, Washington, the Outback should be able to tackle whatever Mother Nature or your family throws at it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5 Premium, 2.5i Limited, 3.6R, 3.6 Premium and 3.6R Limited. Equipment for the 3.6R models generally mirrors that of the respective 2.5i models.

The base 2.5i comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, adjustable roof rails and cross bars, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat and a four-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, rear privacy glass, eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Optional on the Premium is an All-Weather package that adds heated side mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats. The optional Harman Kardon stereo includes nine speakers, a six-CD changer and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. The 2.5i Limited adds the All-Weather package, Harman Kardon stereo, CVT, a four-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather upholstery.

Optional on the Premium and Limited models is the Power Moonroof package, which adds a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated rearview camera. The Limited can be equipped with a navigation system, which requires the Power Moonroof package and further includes a touchscreen interface, a larger rearview camera display in that touchscreen, a single-CD player and an iPod interface.

Port-installed options include satellite radio on non-Limited trims and a Bluetooth system that plugs into the open dash slot beneath the stereo and relies upon its own small speakers rather than the stereo system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2011 Subaru Outback has all-wheel drive. The 2.5i models come with a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (a.k.a "boxer") four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard on the base and Premium trims, while a CVT is optional on those trims and standard on the Limited. Manual-override shift paddles are included.

In performance testing, the 2.5i with a manual went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds. With the automatic, EPA estimates are 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Sticking with the manual drops those estimates to 19/27/22.

The 3.6R models come with a 3.6-liter flat-6 good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with shift paddles is the only transmission available. EPA fuel estimates are 18/25/20.


The 2011 Subaru Outback comes standard with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In brake testing, a base 2.5i came to a stop from 60 mph in a longer-than-average 133 feet.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Outback earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and four stars for overall side crash protection.It also achieved the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Outback's increased size compared to previous models is noticed most inside. With the rear seat lowered, cargo capacity tops out at 71.3 cubic feet, which is a bit bigger than the Ford Edge, Subaru Forester and Toyota Venza. The enlarged backseat makes it a compelling family vehicle, with plenty of legroom and a reclining seatback that make road trips friendlier for those riding in the back.

Compared to the previous-generation Outback, the current edition seems to have slid a bit in terms of interior materials quality and design. There are too many hard plastic trim pieces, but they are at least low sheen and fit well together. One notable advantage is simple, easier-to-use audio and climate controls found on models without the optional navigation system. With navigation, the dash is notably different and is dominated by a large LCD screen that's hampered by fussy controls.

We would highly recommend getting the optional Harman Kardon sound system, as the base four-speaker system offers notably poor sound quality. The HK unit also includes an integrated Bluetooth system.

Driving Impressions

With its increased size and concerted effort to be more of an SUV than a wagon, the 2011 Subaru Outback has lost much of the agility advantage it once possessed compared to crossovers. Noticeable body roll and numb steering reduce the driver's confidence when tackling a winding road. The Outback used to be fun to drive -- this one isn't. However, ride quality is better than ever, sopping up bumps in a sophisticated manner that provides comfort without complete isolation.

The base 2.5-liter engine provides a punchy power delivery around town whether attached to the pleasant manual gearbox or optional CVT, which is one of the best on the market. If you're frequently carrying lots of passengers or cargo, the 3.6-liter six-cylinder is the better choice, and its increased torque is welcome on hilly terrain.


Talk About The 2011 Outback

2011 Subaru Outback Discussions See all Started By

From official brochure, Rear Vision Camera must come with moonroof and only available in Premium and Limited, but official brochure doesn't mean reality sometimes. For example, dealer said they can a?...

I purchased a 2011 Subaru Outback two months ago without seeing the specific vehicle (I had test driven the exact same model for ~45 minutes in all different driving conditions) and I've been experien...

I bought a new 2011 Outback about 3 weeks ago, and I have around 1500 miles on it....

Read more about the 2011 Subaru Outback

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