2011 Subaru Outback Review
2011 Subaru Outback Review
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Used Outback for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- 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.
- Lacks agility, numb-on-center steering, poor base stereo, fussy controls on upper trims.
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 an appealing alternative to conventional wagons and crossovers.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.26 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Outback 2.5i Premium
Avg. Midsize SUV
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
2011 Subaru Outback models
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.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.13 out of 5 stars
Pretty good, but could be better.
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I traded in my 07 Impreza Outback Sport for the new Outback late last year. I loved my sport and I miss it. I need a larger car to drive myself, husband and 2 60 lb dogs between Ohio and California a couple times a year. I have 22,000 miles on her already with no major mechanical problems. As many people say:STEERING WHEEL. The shake. It's horrible. The process is horrible. Took the car … in one day and the insisted that they evaluate the tires. Bad tire was the verdict. Replace it and have to drive 4000 miles right away. Nope, still there. Take it back in and they decide to do the replacement steering wheel, etc. Still not fixed.
2.75 out of 5 stars
My last Subaru
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
My 2011 Subaru has had one problem after another. Last month the manifold cracked and it was an $800 repair. This month a sensor went bad in the transmission - $1300! If Subaru has these known quality problems, they should at least help out with the repair costs. They said this sensor part alone costs $800, I'm sure it doesn't cost a tenth of that to make. Not only is the quality … bad, but they won't work with their loyal customers on the cost of repair. I am not loyal anymore. (Not to mention they still have not fixed the head light blowing problem I had on my 2005 Outback)
4.38 out of 5 stars
I waited 60k miles before I wrote this review
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
We bought it new...its had 2 recalls on it since new I believe. I replaced the front rotor and pads at 57k only because the rotors warped. The car is great...the factory tires stink...I swapped to Hankook and like them. I cant say anything bad about our subie...well yes the handling sucked when it was new and I put the rear sway bar on and now its great!. Soft ride...ok fuel … numbers... I will not sell it as long as this keeps up. It can climb a Mtn in the snow...hard to believe...
4.88 out of 5 stars
Dollar for Dollar it can't be beat
2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
I purchased a 2011 Outback Limited with the 3.6R engine for my wife. (Everything except Nav) After driving it from Maine to Oklahoma (home), I had to have my own Outback so I sold my 2010 Maxima and purchased another 2011 Outback Limited with the 3.6R engine except this time with nav. I frequently refer to my outbacks as Honda Accords with AWD, however much more practical. You can haul … and carry a lot of stuff home from Lowe's. I have several suggestions for improvement (explained later) and have actually conveyed them to Subaru. (Probably will fall on deaf ears though, however I did receive a nice response.) Great vehicle and you can't go wrong.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 19 City / 27 Hwy / 22 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: all wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Flat 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 170 hp @ 5600 rpm
- Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 188.2 in. / Height: 65.7 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 71.7 in.
- Curb Weight: 3386 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 34.3 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall4 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat4 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2011 Subaru Outback
Used 2011 Subaru Outback Overview
The Used 2011 Subaru Outback is offered in the following submodels: Outback SUV. Available styles include 2.5i Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A), 2.5i Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), 3.6R Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A), 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M), and 3.6R 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Subaru Outback models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 170 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Subaru Outback comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2011 Subaru Outback comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Subaru Outback?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Subaru Outback trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited is priced between $15,990 and$18,998 with odometer readings between 74552 and118271 miles.
- The Used 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium is priced between $14,998 and$15,998 with odometer readings between 82449 and125514 miles.
- The Used 2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited is priced between $19,990 and$19,990 with odometer readings between 55770 and55770 miles.
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Which used 2011 Subaru Outbacks are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Subaru Outback for sale near. There are currently 11 used and CPO 2011 Outbacks listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,998 and mileage as low as 55770 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Subaru Outback.
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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Subaru Outback?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.