2013 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Subaru Outback Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 173 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 Subaru Outback

  • A new, more efficient engine, high-tech safety features and commendable off-road performance make the 2013 Subaru Outback a top pick among utility crossovers, especially for those who frequently enjoy the great outdoors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious interior; comfortable ride; excellent visibility; generous cargo volume; clever roof rails; confident off-road ability.

  • Cons

    Lacks agility; weak base stereo; fussy controls on upper trims.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Subaru Outback features a restyled front end, a more efficient four-cylinder engine, an updated continuously variable transmission (CVT) and revised suspension tuning. New features include keyless ignition/entry and newly available adaptive cruise control with a collision avoidance system.

Full 2013 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Subaru Outback features a restyled front end, a more efficient four-cylinder engine, an updated continuously variable transmission (CVT) and revised suspension tuning. New features include keyless ignition/entry and newly available adaptive cruise control with a collision avoidance system.

Introduction

Even if the 2013 Subaru Outback never spent a second in the Australian expanse that inspired its name, it's reassuring to know that knotty, rutted desert roads pose minimal challenge for Subaru's crossover wagon. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, the Outback is a rugged adventure vehicle that can negotiate dirt roads and snowed-in streets with confidence, even if rugged off-roading is out of the question.

A new, more fuel-efficient four-cylinder "boxer" engine helps the Outback straddle the line between wanderlust and daily frugality. When paired with Subaru's second-generation CVT, the four-cylinder Outback returns 30 highway mpg while still offering a civilized ride and the ability to get off the highway when inspiration strikes. Those seeking a little more power or wanting to maximize the Outback's 3,000-pound towing ability can opt for the gutsier six-cylinder model.

Inside the cabin, the Outback offers an attractive and spacious interior, with plenty of head- and legroom, even in the backseat. A generous cargo hold and clever roof rack with fold-out crossbars and numerous dealer-installed attachments make the Outback a practical alternative to larger crossovers. Few vehicles match the Outback when it comes to carrying around the large leisure items that come along with an active, outdoor lifestyle.

For 2013, the Subaru Outback also offers the optional EyeSight system, which uses two windshield-mounted cameras to adjust the adaptive cruise control, alert the driver if the car wanders out of its lane and apply braking to avoid or minimize a collision. This is safety technology we're accustomed to seeing from premium automakers, and its presence among more mainstream brands is encouraging.

Just as the real Australian Outback is a desolate place, the market for beefed-up, midsize all-wheel-drive wagons is pretty thin. The 2013 Toyota Venza is very similar in terms of size, capacity and power, but it's not off-road-oriented like the Outback. The 2013 Audi Allroad and 2013 Volvo XC70 are meant to travel off pavement, but cost significantly more. Beyond that, you're left with taller and less capable crossover SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V. Ultimately, the Outback occupies its own space and comes highly recommended.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon offered in five trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 3.6R and 3.6R Limited. The numbers refer to engine displacement.

The base 2.5i comes with 16-inch steel wheels, roof rack rails with fold-out crossbars, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 2.5i Premium model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, rear privacy glass, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a cargo cover and a six-speaker sound system.

Opting for the 2.5i Premium's available All-Weather package gets you heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer, while the Power Moonroof package adds a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera. A nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with satellite radio and HD radio is also available.

Stepping up to the 2.5i Limited includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and wood trim, a four-way power passenger seat, the contents of the All-Weather package, an upgraded gauge cluster and the Harman Kardon sound system. Options for the Limited include the EyeSight driver assist system, the Power Moonroof package and a Special Appearance package that includes unique exterior styling details, keyless ignition/entry, driver seat memory functions and perforated leather upholstery. A touchscreen navigation system with voice controls and a rearview camera is also available for the Limited.

Standard and optional equipment for the 3.6R models follow those of the 2.5i trim levels.

Powertrains and Performance

The all-wheel-drive Subaru Outback is offered with two different engines. The 2.5i models use a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder that produces 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinder with the CVT are 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Models with the six-speed manual return 21/28/24. Both results are pretty good for an all-wheel-drive four-cylinder crossover.

Outback 3.6R versions come with a 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with shift paddles is the only transmission offered. In Edmunds performance testing, the 3.6R accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, a strong time for a six-cylinder-powered crossover or wagon. However, EPA fuel economy is below average at 18/25/20.

Safety

The 2013 Subaru Outback comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags that cover both rows. Subaru's new EyeSight system bundles safety technologies including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and sway warning. The EyeSight system uses two cameras mounted inside the upper edge of the windshield, which Subaru says reduces the potential for damage compared to conventional radar systems mounted in the front bumper. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians and is capable of braking the Outback if the driver takes no evasive action.

In Edmunds brake testing, the 3.6R managed to stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, a bit longer than average for this type of vehicle. The 2.5i Premium took a few feet longer still.

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's testing, the Outback earned a top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

With its redesign a few years ago, the Subaru Outback traded a smaller footprint and snappy handling for size. Enthusiast drivers lamented the Outback's growth, but it meant more room inside, especially for rear seat passengers who now enjoy excellent headroom and legroom. The seatbacks also recline for greater comfort.

Behind those rear seats you find 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding them down yields 71.3 cubic feet, volume on par with larger crossovers like the Honda CR-V. The Outback is actually even more spacious than midsize crossovers like the Ford Edge. For anything that doesn't fit inside, the Outback features clever roof rails that swing inward when needed to become crossbars for attaching bikes, snowboards, etc. Loading them up there is made easier by the Outback's shorter overall height.

While the interior of the 2013 Subaru Outback is nice enough, especially on the upper trim levels, too much hard plastic reminds us of the car's utility roots. Most buyers will find the 2.5i Premium trim level worth springing for, especially to get the optional Harman Kardon audio system. The base 2.5i model's standard four-speaker stereo simply sounds tinny and flat.

Driving Impressions

The Outback's last growth spurt opened up plenty of interior room, but lost the previous generation's quick handling in the process. Last year's Outback was saddled with significant body roll and vague steering feel. For 2013, Subaru says it stiffened the car's structure and retuned the suspension to reduce body roll and improve handling. We've yet to fully test the new Outback to see if these changes did the trick.

Of course, standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance are really what the Outback is about. Light off-roading is the idea here, and the Outback can traverse narrow, deeply rutted trails that would intimidate other crossovers. The 2013 Subaru Outback is not quite a trail-rated, rock-crawling Jeep, but carrying kayaks and mountain bikes off the beaten path is a cinch.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers both adequate performance and respectable fuel economy with either the six-speed manual or the excellent CVT automatic. It's a solid choice if you need to balance fuel economy with utility. Folks who regularly travel hills and grades, or frequently haul full loads of passengers, cargo or both would be better served by the six-cylinder.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The good, bad and ugly

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Subaru has great idea with AWD feature and high ground clearance. Gas mileage is good and sound system is great. Nice interior and appointments. The car has heavy steering and some wandering adds to fatigue after traveling long distances. The car uses excessive amounts of oil between oil changes. Dealership dismissed my complaint. Told me, "they all use a little oil". Found out recently, there is a law suit pending regarding the issue. May not purchase another Subaru due to this issue.



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Transmission shot at 83k miles

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Wish I could love my Subaru like the commercials all tout but they didn't have the lemon I have. I drive a lot and was happy with all aspects of the Outback until my transmission failed at 83,000 miles. Since the power train warranty covers only 60,000 miles (they must know something) the dealership said it would cost me $8500 to fix. Subaru of America said they would give me $1,000 towards the repair as a good will gesture (it took them a week to come up with that). No thanks! Now I have to buy a used one online and hope that's not a lemon either. Needless to say "I don't love my Subaru"!




Oil consumption

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M)

we purchased our first new car, very exciting.. First year burned through oil, a lot of oil! dealer said this was normal, we weren't checking properly, might have a problem. did oil consumption test, obviously a problem 1 quart every 700 miles. Subaru talerance is 1/3 quart every 1000? Subaru replaced the rings, and still there's a problem. we've now reached 26K miles. No new fixes. we were advised to carry a quart of oil with us. "I don't think so!" If the 2014 is the same as the 2013 you are making a mistake purchasing this car. If they tell you it's normal.. Its Not.. Let Subaru admit and fix this "alleged" issue first, then this will be a great car.




2013 ob 2.5i cvt 9

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Performance? is Meh, but it can handle fast bumpy on/off ramps with sublime decorum. Roll on speed 40 to 70 is fairly respectable for a family Wagon, and upshifting/downshifting is far smoother in the CVT...Hooning lightly around town in the snow will reveal one startling realizaiton...downshifting with all 4 wheels engaged + traction control on snowy roads is surreal! If your in this car on snowy roads, watch your back at icy stop signs and intersections; getting rear ended by those who cant possibly stop as fast is a real issue. Still too new to judge reliability..Add snowtires and go nealry everywhere in the snow. bottom line: I feel safe with my family in this car in all conditions.



1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great - but just misses

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

I've hqd my 2013 Outback 2.t Limited for over a year. I wanted a 6 cylinder. The choise was between an Acura RDX and Outback. While I like the Outback, for the amount of money I think the RDX would have been a better deal. The price was about the same except the Outback does not have drivers seat memory, a LOUSY almost unusable navigation system, no auto assist parking, no power tailgate. In addtion the OUtback is noisy as all get out. The heat/AC fan is so loud you can't hear the radio. Road noise is loud as well. Gas mileage is 5-7 MPG below what is advertised. Not exactly the best choice in the $35K-$40K price range.



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Excellent except hk audio/nav system

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I agree with all points of the review by cmlsudbury. I've got the dark interior and it does show every mark, especially where shoes hit the door panels. Not sure this would happen in other cars with similar color scheme. I hate the AUDIO/NAV system. I wanted the backup camera and you had to get the AUDIO/NAV to get the camera. I feel totally ripped off for the price paid for this upgrade vs the value received. Software upgrade had better be a warranty item. Only 7500 miles so early days on reliability. Dinged Interior Design and Value because of the audio/nav system.



Talk About The 2013 Outback

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Reliability

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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