2014 Subaru Outback Wagon Review & Ratings | Edmunds

2014 Subaru Outback Wagon Review

2014 Subaru Outback Wagon
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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Subaru Outback Wagon

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • With its generous cargo capacity and commendable off-road performance, the 2014 Subaru Outback wagon offers far more utility than many competing crossover SUVs. It's a good option for families, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors.

  • Pros

    Spacious interior; comfortable ride; excellent visibility; clever roof rails; above average off-road capability.

  • Cons

    Weak base stereo; fussy controls on upper trims.

  • What's New for 2014

    The 2014 Subaru Outback gets minor changes to its trim levels and equipment. Notably, 2.5i Premium models now have standard heated seats, while the base 3.6R trim level has been discontinued.

Reviews from owners of the 2014 Subaru Outback Wagon

Average Consumer Rating (See all 33 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

We love this car!

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

The Outback was a replacement for a 2004 Subaru Forester! We wanted something a little bigger but with good gas mileage and some neat features! It also had PZEV, which I had to look up and stands for Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle. The Outback, was purchased used, with 7200 mi on the odometer, and fit the bill and has not disappointed us. The transmission is unique and what I immediately noticed as a major difference is the variable shifting eliminates the up and down jerking of speed changes with the car in cruise control on hills. And we took a trip from St. Louis to Houston, and averaged 30mpg going. The trip back was 28 but for the size of this vehicle, not bad at all! And the car is much more comfortable than the older 2004 Forester!

Subaru needs to redesign the braking system

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

So this is our second Subaru. The first was a 2012 Premium Outback 2.5, which we traded in with 62,000 miles. No major issues. We have owned the 2014 for about one month and have noticed a significant difference in the braking. The braking is extremely soft. With 24,000 miles on it, I changed out the all the brakes and rotors. I noticed the the rear pads had only about 20% remaining and the front pads had 60-70%. I thought this was odd and mentioned it to the dealer. The dealer stated that Subaru changed the majority braking application to the rear brakes preventing the vehicle from "dipping" when coming to a stop. Overall, I think this is a great idea, however Subaru forgot to increase the rear brake pads and rotors to prevent quick wear. So my guess is that I'll have to replace the rear brakes and rotors every 25,000-30,000 miles. The 2014 handles better and rides smoother than the 2012. The MPG seems to be less in the 2014 than the 2012. The factory installed remote start needs to change. It's annoying the vehicle shuts off when you open a door, after activating the remote start. The ride noise is a little loud. The interior needs to be upgraded. The only reason why we would purchase another Subaru is depending on the reliability of the 2014.

2014 2.5l preium - there are better choices

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

CVT transmission is worst feature on this car. The colder the temp outside the worse this feature is. Slow acceleration, high engine RPMs all while the engine is cold just to get this car moving. Interior of the car is cold in the winter. Cold air leaking around window and door controls. Read similar complaints by others in cold winter climates. Otherwise the car is ok and seems to be solid. Handling is reliable but certainly not fun to drive.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Nearly 2 years old now and still love it

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

I bought my OB in January 2014. I originally wanted a Forester, but later decided on the Outback for a better ride, more room and its availability, being that it was manufactured close to home here in the US. The Forester is mfg in Japan and was hard to find what I wanted. For what I wanted the price seemed reasonable. i got the base model with a special appearance package. I also bought one of their extended warranties, as I wasn't 100% sold on the CVT and heard some rumblings from other owners about oil leaks, but I suspect that is from the older engine Gen 2/3. This car is FAR FROM PERFECT. In fact there are some items that are downright annoying to me. However, I still love it. Comfortable for long road trips, so far very reliable, great gas mileage (32 highway, around 28 around home/work, and winter months about 25 with the change in gas formulation we have here in Illinois). *Acceleration: well, it's a four cylinder with CVT. I'm in no hurry nearly 100% of the time, and in the few times I get frustrated stuck behind a slower RV, I have plenty of passing power -- for a few seconds of 4000 rpm plus revving to get speed, I think the trade off is worth it. *Last winter, it was I that had full traction on the snowy roads, while all the other cars around me just had a hell of time moving up a slight slope at the stop light! *Braking has been great. One reviewer had issue in his review. I think he's just a pedal jammer and drives too hard for car of this type. He's right, this car wasn't for him. *The 2015 reportedly is quieter than the 2014, but I'm satisfied. Hey! This is not a high dollar car! The only annoying sound I usually get is the higher revs with the CVT, but it's 95% of the time due to acceleration from a stop and only lasts a few seconds before all's quiet again. *Bluetooth: works well. The first few times it would drop my smart phone and I had to remember how to reprogram it, but it's held firm now for over a year. The voice recognition used for making calls by name, I never use, as it's way too picky and difficult to deal with. *On my 2.5i base model, there is an "MPG" indicator which fluctuates up and down based on how much gas I'm giving and the speed and resistance of the vehicle. This is annoying to me, as it's a constant distraction. However, in the couple years I've had it, it has grown on me and I use it as a reminder to ease off the gas when I can. If you don't pay attention, you can unnecessarily apply more gas with no end result, especially with the CVT and its rubber band effect. In fact, on a start, for example, the engine expectedly revs up and I then ease off a tad -- the revs decrease, but the car still accelerates. *Headlights -- average. A distinct cut off at the top; this can be annoying to some. However, it's adequate and illuminates the road well. *AWD -- need I say anything on this. It's great! *Climate control is good and had good heat/cool distribution. My unit does not have individual/dual controls like other models might have. This is OK, as I usual drive alone. *So far, NO reliability issues. This car is great for hauling cargo in, has a modest tow capability, practical, roomy, and drives well. It's not perfect by any means; you have to pay for perfection, if you can get it. It's not a rocket ship. As I mentioned before, I'm in no hurry and the few times I really need to get past a slow moving car, or a merge onto a highway, or dealing with a semi-truck, the four banger does have the power, you just need to feed it the gas and put up with the high revs for a few seconds. Normally, I typically don't exceed 2700 rpm in normal driving.

7 of 15 people found this review helpful

Do not believe the hype; this car is a big lie

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

I have never owned a Subaru before. After this car I will never own a Subaru again. What a piece of crap this car is. The only good things about this car are the generous cargo space, the (so far) lack of repair bills and the resale value. That is it. Everything else BLOWS. The acceleration is abysmal. The braking is ridiculously soft and bad. The handling, well, there is no handling on this car and good luck taking it on road trips; you will spend 75% of the time fighting with the steering wheel to keep the car from wandering all over the road. Oh and don't even think about taking a corner fast with this car! The A/C is adequate, but god forbid you step on the gas, IT WILL STOP COOLING! The CVT transmission hesitates, is jerky and Subaru says that's perfectly normal! The sound system and entertainment screen is just an embarrassment. The backup camera of course is very LOW-RES. The MPG on the sticker is a BIG LIE; I have never gotten anything over 24 miles per gallon with this car. I won't even keep typing, as Subaru doesn't deserve for me to spend another second writing about this substandard vehicle. Make sure you test drive this vehicle many, many times before you buy it, and for the love of god do not even think about buying the 4 cylinder, unless you like to be blown off the interstate by trucks since your car will not be able to accelerate enough to merge. This car is for people who are not drivers. It's only good for hauling stuff in the snow. It gets two overall stars from me for that. That's about it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Grinding noises and burns oil

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Outback

I'm a huge fan of the Outback. After my 2011 was totaled I went straight to Subaru and bought the 2014. But I've had some pretty obnoxious issues, the first being it burns oil. Like other have mentioned my car burns a quart of oil every 2200 miles. Additionally, when keeping the car right around 30-40 miles slowly accelerating to keep the speed I notice a grinding noive coming from the front of the car. No one seems to be able to explain it to me which is pretty lame.


Full 2014 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2014

The 2014 Subaru Outback gets minor changes to its trim levels and equipment. Notably, 2.5i Premium models now have standard heated seats, while the base 3.6R trim level has been discontinued.


For many years, shoppers wanting a wagon with some outdoor capability have turned to the Subaru Outback. Since its introduction almost 20 years ago, it has been the great SUV alternative. Outbacks are known for their cargo space and dexterity in the dirt, but they've always been held in equal regard for their excellent manners on paved roads. The 2014 Subaru Outback is much larger than the original Outback and competes directly with midsize crossovers aimed at families. Although it might not hold the same appeal for the granola crowd as its smaller predecessors did, this Subaru is still a strong choice for anyone who craves a little adventure.

Since every Subaru Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive and boasts a generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance, it's one of the most capable crossovers off-road. You won't be able to follow a caravan of Jeeps up the Rubicon Trail, but dirt trails, snowy mountain passes or muddy country roads won't stop this Subaru wagon.

Equally important, the Outback has an impressive 71 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity for your camping and outdoor sports gear. And when you opt for the four-cylinder engine, this crossover wagon is capable of hitting 30 mpg on the highway. If you're looking to tow a small trailer, the available six-cylinder engine enables the Outback to pull up to 3,000 pounds. Also standard is a roof rack with built-in cross rails that conveniently fold out of the way when you're not using them.

There aren't too many options if you're looking for a midsize wagon or crossover with some off-road capability. The Toyota Venza is a bit more carlike behind the wheel and has less cabin noise and nicer interior materials, but it won't go all the places the Outback can. On the higher end, the Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70 share the Outback's rugged aesthetic (and some of its capability), but they cost significantly more. Another option is a true SUV like the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which offers even more off-highway capability, though it, too, tends to cost more. Of course, you could also look at mainstream crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, which offer similar interior room but aren't really hardy enough to go too far off the beaten path. Ultimately, the 2014 Subaru Outback is a pretty unique vehicle and if you have an adventurous spirit, we recommend it highly.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon offered in four trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited 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. An option package allows you to upgrade the base Outback (CVT models only) with 17-inch alloy wheels and foglights.

The 2.5i Premium model has all the base car's equipment, along with 17-inch wheels, foglights, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a cargo cover and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

If your 2.5i Premium has the continuously variable transmission (CVT), you can opt for the Power Moonroof package, which adds a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera. Available as part of an upgraded Power Moonroof package is Subaru's EyeSight driver assist system, which includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system and a collision warning/mitigation system with brake intervention. Also available is a package that combines the moonroof with a navigation system that features a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app integration and a rearview camera.

Stepping up to the 2.5i Limited adds dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, wood trim, a four-way power passenger seat, an upgraded gauge cluster and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with HD radio. Options for the Limited are similar to the 2.5i Premium, but now the EyeSight system can be purchased in combination with the navigation system. In addition, there's a Special Appearance package that bundles the moonroof, EyeSight and nav system with unique exterior styling details, keyless ignition/entry, driver seat memory functions and perforated leather upholstery.

The 3.6R Limited comes with a six-cylinder engine, but otherwise its standard and optional equipment is identical to that of the 2.5i Limited.

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. It comes paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. The CVT provides the functionality of an automatic transmission.

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 22/29/24. Both results are pretty good for an all-wheel-drive four-cylinder crossover.

The 2014 Outback 3.6R Limited comes with a 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine 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 17/25/20.


Every 2014 Subaru Outback comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags that cover both rows.

A rearview camera is available starting on CVT-equipped Premium and Limited models. Subaru's optional EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure warning functionality (it will also warn you if you're swaying within your lane during highway travel). 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 came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, a bit longer than average for this type of vehicle.

In government crash tests, the Subaru Outback earned a five-star overall rating, along with five-star ratings for its performance in front- and side-impact crash protection. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's testing, the Outback received the highest Top Safety Pick+ accolade after earning a Good rating (the highest possible) in the moderate-overlap front-offset crash test, as well as the side-impact and roof strength tests. It also earned an Acceptable rating (second highest) in the new small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

With its redesign a few years ago, the Subaru Outback traded its traditionally smaller footprint for more family-friendly dimensions. That extra room is immediately evident when you get inside, where even rear seat passengers now enjoy excellent headroom and legroom. The rear seatbacks also recline for greater comfort.

Behind those rear seats you'll find 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding them down yields 71.3 cubic feet, which is on par with the Venza and CR-V. For anything that doesn't fit inside, the Outback features built-in roof rack cross rails that swing inward when needed to attach bikes, snowboards and kayaks. Loading up recreational gear is also made easier by the Outback's reasonable overall height, as it's shorter than most other crossover SUVs.

Practical as it is, the 2014 Subaru Outback's cabin has a lot of hard plastic, which is tolerable on base models but feels a bit too down-market once you get to the Limited trim level. Most buyers will find it worth the leap to the 2.5i Premium trim level, as the base 2.5i model's standard four-speaker stereo sounds tinny and flat. The touchscreen interface in navigation-equipped Outbacks can be frustrating at times, as the menus are complicated and the on-screen buttons are not always responsive to touch.

Driving Impressions

The Outback's last growth spurt opened up plenty of interior room, but it lost the previous generation's quick handling in the process. On the other hand, the current Outback has a very forgiving ride that makes it a natural for road trips. Subaru says it stiffened the wagon's structure and retuned the suspension to reduce body roll and improve handling for 2013. We have yet to test an Outback that incorporates these changes, but when we do, we'll update this review.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Subaru Outback's standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance make it a natural for light off-roading. Of course, the Subaru is not meant to keep up with rock-crawling Jeeps, but ferrying kayaks and mountain bikes to campsites and trailheads is a cinch.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers adequate performance and respectable fuel economy with either the six-speed manual or the CVT. It's a good choice if your primary concern is fuel economy. But if you live in the mountains or frequently haul full loads of passengers or cargo in your Outback, you'll be better served by the six-cylinder.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Subaru Outback Wagon in VA is:

$65.25 per month*

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For current leasing information, go to 2015 Subaru Outback Lease Questions...

For current leasing information, go to 2015 Subaru Outback Lease Questions...

2015 Outback Wish List. Hi Y'all, the completely redisigned 2015 Outback (Prototype) reportedly will be revealed at the January Detroit Auto Show, and will hit dealers showrooms ~ Q2 or Q3 2014, with ...


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