This was my second outback and first in the new body style. Bought the car new and drove it for 108K miles. My only complaint was that it couldn't tow very much. Handles awesome in weather, comfy for 4, great trunk space and good legroom for a tall guy. I'm hoping the Ascent crushes it and will become my third subaru. Maintenance over the life of the car was really minimal.
Had to get head gaskets machines at 75,000 miles and it was downhill maintenance wise from there. We were lucky that we had the warranty to 100,000 miles but we used it so much for other things that were breaking that we decided to get rid of the car before the warranty expired. The dealership was awesome in always checking to make sure repairs were covered under warranty too. The cloth interior showed wear and stains quite rapidly which was disappointing considering we are the perfect people they market the car to (outdoorsy family with kids and dogs). Spacious interior was nice. Sadly I’m off Subies until they can resolve the head gasket - my brother in law experienced the same on his ‘09 Forester and unfortunately it was past his warranty. Just can’t take the chance.
Where should I start? When the CD player broke within the first 1k miles or so I should have taken it as a hint. By 50k the windshield was an art of work thanks to cracks that spread like wildfires before you can make it in to stop their advancement. Fast forward to about 65k (at 5 years) and the central differential goes out (powertrain warranty expired at 60k). Dealer admitted it shouldn't have happened but they wanted a $300 copay on top of fully charging the manufacturer for the repair. Fast forward a few hundred miles the bolts holding the shaft come undone and have to tow the car in. Dealer covered the towing but you can forget dependability. At some point, much like all other vehicles on the planet I get the notice about the air bag. Fast forward 1+yr they finally have the part (your safety is very important to them). Around 77k my wife takes a road trip. After reaching destination the engine oil light comes on (no, it's not dripping from anywhere). Research suggested the engine gulps the oil as if you own a 7-11. It's a common "feature/enhancement" of various models and it's been designed that way. Apparently lawyers weren't having it and they settled (I decided to just carry a bottle of oil rather than deal with them). At around 88k the reverse switch (attached to the transmission block) goes out. A pain to replace it myself but by now I have an aversion to dealership mechanics and service managers. And AWD is way overrated (at least the Subaru implementation), much like the guy who tore up his lawn, I got stuck on some slippery snow with a 5 degree incline (tires were all season M+S in great shape). I know, I should have had snow tires. To put this into context, I regularly drive a Corolla with 250k with original engine+clutch+gearbox, etc. and I don't ever have to wonder if something will break. I get in and get going, no questions asked.
According to Consumer reports this car has great reliability. We have owned the car for 6 years now. Since last few months we find that electronics like O2 sensors, rear view camera and now the electronic parking brake are not working. It is very expensive to get the issues diagnosed and even more expensive to get the parts replaced as these are electronic modules. Both the rear view camera and electronic parking brakes are nice to haves. You can get by the rear view camera by the old fashioned way of turning your head. Same with electronic parking brake. The old fashioned mechanical brakes are more robust and less expensive to repair. Long story short, the electronics start breaking down beyond the warranty period. These features are nice to have and expensive to replace.