2016 Subaru Outback Review
2016 Subaru Outback Review
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Used Outback for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Spacious and comfortable interior
- excellent visibility
- above-average off-road ability
- many advanced safety features available, plus top safety scores.
- Base engine's lackluster acceleration.
Having been completely redesigned just last year, the 2016 Outback gains some additional equipment. The optional Subaru Starlink system adds two packages of connected car applications, adding functionality such as automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle recovery, along with Internet-connected apps such as Stitcher. The steering has been retuned for better feel, and Limited models get retuned shock absorbers for a smoother ride. Safety features on the Outback now include optional lane departure intervention.
With generous cargo capacity and a roomy interior, the 2016 Subaru Outback wagon is a good option for families, especially those who enjoy the occasional outdoor adventure.
Notably, we picked the Subaru Outback as one of Edmunds' Best Used SUVs for 2016.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited PZEV 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 $3.43 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Outback 2.5i Limited PZEV
Avg. Midsize SUV
Subarus are sometimes considered quirky cars, and you could probably say this about the 2016 Subaru Outback. Here's a midsize wagon based on a family sedan (the Legacy) that has a raised ground clearance, all-wheel drive and plastic body cladding. In today's cookie-cutter automotive marketplace, this is the equivalent of wearing paisley bell bottoms to an IBM boardroom meeting. But consider us fans of quirky because there's plenty to like with the latest Outback.
In actuality, Subaru redesigned the Outback last year with an eye toward making it feel more like a mainstream car, and we appreciate the automaker's efforts: The hard plastics and oddball ergonomics of the old car were replaced with higher-quality materials and a more sensible control layout, the technology interface became more advanced and fuel economy has improved. The Outback's safety resumé has grown as well, and this year's model has new emergency assistance connectivity through Subaru's Starlink system.
Based on the Legacy sedan, the Subaru Outback is one of the few midsize wagons available.
But for all its newfound class, the 2016 Subaru Outback still likes to play in the mud. You might be surprised given its wagon-like profile, but with all the mechanical bits tucked up under its sheet-metal skirts, the Outback boasts 8.7 inches of ground clearance, more than many truck-based SUVs. Combine that with the Outback's roomy seating, generous cargo bay and relatively low load-height roof and you've got an ideal family outdoor recreational vehicle.
Few cars compete with the Outback head-on. Volvo's XC70 comes the closest. It's more luxurious but also more expensive. The Audi Allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country are also similar in concept, but they can't match the Outback's interior space. If you're not keen on the Outback's wagon body style or performance, your next best bet would be a small or midsize crossover SUV such as the Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee or Subaru's own Forester. These are all good vehicles, but if foul-weather traction and outdoor-going individuality are the top attributes you're seeking, the 2016 Subaru Outback should definitely be on your short list.
Performance & mpg
The standard engine for the 2016 Subaru Outback is a 2.5 liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder, which generates 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It drives all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which has steering-wheel-mounted buttons to emulate a six-speed manually shifted transmission when the driver desires.
In Edmunds performance testing, an Outback 2.5i Limited reached 60 mph from rest in an lackluster 9.6 seconds. Most compact crossovers are a bit quicker. The EPA rates the Outback 2.5i at 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway), and on Edmunds' mixed-driving 120-mile evaluation loop, the Outback 2.5i Limited returned 28.9 mpg.
The six-cylinder Outback 3.6R picks up the pace with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, but that extra power takes its toll on fuel economy. The EPA gives estimates of 22 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).
Every 2016 Subaru Outback comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and seat cushion airbags (to position occupants correctly in the event of a frontal collision; these are used in place of knee airbags). Also standard across the board is a rearview camera. On the Premium and Limited trim levels, the Outback comes with Starlink Connected Services, which includes emergency assistance and automatic collision notification. This can be enhanced with the optional Safety Plus and Security Plus upgrade, which adds remote vehicle access, remote vehicle locating and stolen vehicle recovery.
The Outback Limited comes standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. Subaru's EyeSight driver assist system is available for the Premium and Limited and includes the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, as well as a lane-departure warning and intervention system and a forward collision warning and mitigation system with automatic brake intervention. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians.
In government crash tests, the 2016 Subaru Outback earned a five-star overall rating, with five stars for total frontal crash protection and five stars for side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Outback its highest possible rating of "Good" in the small-overlap frontal-offset, moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. The IIHS also tested the Subaru Outback's optional frontal collision warning and mitigation system and awarded it a top rating of "Superior."
During Edmunds brake testing, a Subaru Outback 2.5 Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is an average distance for the segment.
For 2.5i versions of the 2016 Subaru Outback, there's enough power for safe highway merging, but load it up with people and gear and it feels overwhelmed, especially if you're driving at high elevation. Around town, the jumpy responsiveness of the gas pedal and the spongy brake pedal make the Outback harder to drive smoothly than it should be. The six-cylinder provides more punch, and if you frequently load up the car or live in a mountainous area, you're going to want this larger engine. With either engine, the CVT is pretty likable, as it reacts promptly to your gas pedal inputs and isn't affected as much by the annoying engine rpm quirks of other CVTs.
The 2016 Subaru Outback isn't very exciting to drive. Getting the six-cylinder engine might be a good idea.
Precise steering and revised suspension tuning make the 2016 Subaru Outback a competent handling wagon. The generous suspension travel endows the Outback with a plush ride, and road noise is quelled even over coarse pavement. The Outback is also more capable on light-duty trails than the typical small crossover. Getting to trailheads on dirt roads will be a snap.
The Outback's interior (along with the rest of the car) was completely redesigned for 2015. This year sees a few interior tweaks and more functionality for the infotainment system. If the car is equipped with navigation, that screen allows you to use the now-intuitive pinch-and-expand finger movements to zoom in or out. The rest of the center stack controls are easy to use, and there's a handy cell phone slot on the center console. Overall quality is high as well, with plenty of soft-touch materials around the cabin and convincing faux metallic and wood-tone accents.
You can carry a lot of stuff in the back of a 2016 Subaru Outback thanks to its 73.3 cubic feet of cargo room.
The front seats are generously padded and provide excellent all-day comfort. Still, some long-legged folks might wish for a bit more thigh support. You needn't spring for the leather-lined Limited model, as we are quite enamored of the soft, grippy cloth seats in the 2.5i Premium. There's plenty of room for the driver and front passenger to spread out. In back, headroom is only adequate for adults, but there is abundant legroom and hiproom.
Although the Outback is more of a station wagon than it is a tall and airy SUV, slim roof pillars give it superb outward visibility. Cargo capacity is also a strong point, as there are 35.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat, which grows to 73.3 with the seatbacks dropped (easy to do thanks to rear-seat fold-down levers in the cargo area). The Outback's stance, which isn't as tall as an SUV's, also makes it a good choice if you frequently load gear on the roof.
2016 Subaru Outback models
The 2016 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger crossover 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 17-inch steel wheels, roof rack rails with integral crossbars, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.2-inch touchscreen (Subaru's Starlink interface) and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB interface and smartphone integration with Pandora and Aha audio streaming. There are no factory-installed options offered on the 2.5i model.
The 2.5i Premium model has all of the base car's equipment plus 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats and exterior mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded gauges, expanded Starlink Connected services, voice controls, a 7-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.
Options for the 2.5i Premium include a sunroof (which comes bundled with an auto-dimming rearview mirror), power folding side mirrors, a power rear liftgate, a navigation system, additional Starlink Safety Plus and Security Plus services and Subaru's EyeSight system (adaptive cruise control plus extra safety features; see Safety section).
Going with an Outback Premium or Limited will get you a larger touchscreen interface that's easy to use.
Stepping up to the 2.5i Limited adds leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a comfort-tuned suspension, rear air vents, power-folding side mirrors, a power rear liftgate, a four-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings, heated rear seats, an upgraded Harman Kardon 12-speaker sound system, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Available options mimic those of the 2.5i Premium, with the addition of keyless ignition and entry.
The 3.6R Limited offers the same equipment as the 2.5i Limited, with the addition of a six-cylinder engine and xenon headlights.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
A 98 out of 100
2016 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT)
This is my first Subaru. I traded in a 2012 Genesis in for the Outback. The Genesis was great but living in the northeast, the rear wheel drive was a problem on snowy days. I could have gotten an all wheel drive Genesis but I couldn't justify the 54k it would have cost. (I prefer my vehicles loaded). So after doing much research I decided on that the Outback a closer look. And when … I saw it at the auto show in NY, I was surprised by the interior quality. I have only put a little over 1100 miles on it so far and find only a few things that I believe should see improvement. While driving I rest my left knee against the door. It needs more padding. The next item is the gas fill door release.. I challenge the engineers to find it at night when you pull into a gas station. It is on the floor between the seat and the door rim. Invest a couple engineering dollars and either move it to an easily found point within the drivers reach. ERGONOMICS PLEASE. (Have the switch illuminated). The last thing I will knitpick about is the rear door button that you must engage to close the hatch. That should also be illuminated. My 3.6 is loaded. It was almost impossible to find a 6 to test drive, and I was happy that I finally found a dealer that had one I could road test. The 4 would be ok if you did mostly stop and go city driving, but if you have 3 adults in it and you are merging with traffic on the highway you may want to open the windows and start beating your wings. The engine needs a lot of help. The 6 is just great. The ride quality is almost as nice as my Genesis, and I believe it takes the bumps better. The interior is top notch. Very little wind noise. And I am happy to say that I am getting better MPG than are advertised. All in all I believe you would be hard pressed to find a better car for the money. BTW, I ordered the car on Sep. 2 and had to wait 14 week's to receive it. I hope your wait is less. I made them kick in extras for the inconvenience.
5 out of 5 stars
Subaru Outback - flawless performance -
2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I have never even looked at Subaru's before becoming interested in one. After looking and driving virtually every other similar styled vehicle out there (small suv's/wagons) we decided on the Limited model pretty well loaded with most options available. Two weeks after buying we had an emergency 1,900 mile round trip come up. This vehicle never missed a beat entire trip, was very … comfortable and I am well over 6' and about 265#. Didn't have much time to get used to the Subaru before having to leave so was not familiar with how everything worked, i.e. the navigation, radio system, lots of safety features but didn't take much to figure most of it out. We were in very heavy rains at end of trip and even in some pretty serious dust storms early in the drive. Have seen reviews indicating not enough power with the 4 cylinder but did not have any instance of not having sufficient power and did go up some pretty steep stuff. Acceleration while getting onto freeways and passing more than adequate. Some things hard to review at this time as no maintenance costs yet, purchase cost very good compared to other similar equipped vehicles we looked at. Obviously we have no idea of resale value at this time and warranty has not been used. Right now if we had it to do over again we would have purchased the exact same vehicle, seems to fit us perfectly. The dealer, Modesto Subaru has been excellent as has been the salesman, Ron Myers, who was able to answer all our questions well with absolutely no pressure at any time. Continued review after owning vehicle for slightly over 1 year now. Again, the Outback has been flawless and while the power is not like a turbo would be or 6 cylinder it is more than adequate for all our driving. Have got as high as 36mpg on a 200 mile round trip via highway and in town mileage when driving most of a tank has never been under 26mpg. Only maintenance costs have been for regular service which is only every 6 month's. Could not give 5 star on value as couldn't do that on any new car out there as simply all are expensive but would consider this Subaru a better value then any other vehicle in its class. Definitely worth anyone looking for similar type vehicles to test drive one to check them out.
5 out of 5 stars
I dare you to find a better car for the money!
2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
Purchased '16 Limited edition of the Outback with just about everything the factory can install on it, plus a couple of dealer add-ons. It beat out the Hyundai Sante Fe Sport and Tucson, as well as the GMC Terrain. This car is comfortable given its off-road capability. It handles well on winding roads, and stops when you want it to stop. The Eyesight system works very well, and I … absolutely love the rearview camera and cross-traffic warning system, especially in mall parking lots when next to tall suv's and pickup trucks. The entertainment system is a bit intimidating, but we are catching on slowly. The interior has leather appointments, making it easier to slid into and out of the vehicle with bulky winter clothing. Plus the additional clearance height means the seating is taller, making it easy to "climb" into and out. Pros include spacious interior (you don't feel cramped), the power rear gate, fuel economy, 10-way power driver seat, lots of interior storage cubbies and cup holders, and dash instrumentation. A couple of bothersome things to get used to: 1. door locks are not activated when car is put into or taken out of gear (get with it Subaru - first car in 25 years that I have owned that did not have that feature); 2. there is a lag in the transmission when switching from reverse to drive that requires you to stay on the brake pedal bit longer; 3. it takes a touch longer to get car moving when accelerating from a standing stop. The last two will resolve themselves over time as I get used to the vehicle. Overall we are very happy with the Outback, and look forward to driving it in all types of weather. It should be on your list of cars to test drive and evaluate.
5 out of 5 stars
Very Impressed with the new Outback Limited Loaded
2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I have never owned a Subaru. I have owned 2013-15 BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Q7, VW CC, and Honda Odyssey for comparison [Yes...lots of new car purchases in last 2 years]. I test drove the 2015 VW Golf Sportwagen [better fuel economy and acceleration but smaller, less advance safety features, and more road noise] and 2015 Mazda CX-5 [just didn't do it for me but deserves a look]. I traded in my … 2013 X3. Flaws, but not deal breakers: Voice recognition for entering destination address never works, and system locks out manual address input while driving so you need to stop to change an address in this setting. The Keyless FOB can not be programed to unlock all doors with one button, but keyless entry with door button can. Key FOB open button just has to be pressed twice. Adaptive cruise control button that adjusts distance from car in front not iconically intuitive. Side mirrors don't power fold. Mute button for music doesn't pause song. Turn signal level a little high for optimal ergonomics for me. Poor acceleration but adequate for conservative drivers. XM radio screen difficult to navigate. Voice recognition takes few minutes to initialize but bluetooth acquires instantly. Things I like moving from front to back: Very good head and fog light dispersement, Limited 18" wheels, Night time Approach light in the side mirror and side mirror auto dimming feature, HK stereo is quite impressive and better than premium Q7 stereo, Lane assist really works keeping you in the lane if you don't put hands on steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, lane change warning doesn't warn too early like Honda Odyssey system, Blue interior lighting and instrument panel, 3 12V and 2 USB jacks, Quality/Speed and resolution of infotainment screen, well balanced steering, Forward Adjustable head rest [not just up and down], seat comfort and leather quality, electronic parking break, rear seat AC vents and heated seats, rear seats flip down effortlessly and flat, rear trunk screen cover can be stored in car when not in use, rear seats can recline a bit, roof rack adjustability, road noise on chip & seal roads is very good and better than Audi but similar to BMW, minimal wind noise. Corners well with minimal body roll during conservative driving but certainly not on any rails. I am very impressed with quality, comfort, and electronics. Fun to cruise [quiet and comfy] so I can hear the great stereo. Look forward to tackling some dirt roads and throwing skis, kayak and bikes on top.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 25 City / 33 Hwy / 28 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: all wheel drive
- Transmission: Continuously variable-speed automatic
- Flat 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 175 hp @ 5800 rpm
- Torque: 174 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36000 mi.
- Length: 189.6 in. / Height: 66.5 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 72.4 in.
- Curb Weight: 3593 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 35.5 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.5%
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 2016 Subaru Outback
Used 2016 Subaru Outback Overview
The Used 2016 Subaru Outback is offered in the following submodels: Outback SUV. Available styles include 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT), 2.5i Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), and 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT). Pre-owned Subaru Outback models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 175 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Subaru Outback comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2016 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 2016 Subaru Outback?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Subaru Outback trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited PZEV is priced between $18,849 and$27,998 with odometer readings between 37304 and102149 miles.
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium PZEV is priced between $18,990 and$24,998 with odometer readings between 50010 and123223 miles.
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited is priced between $17,233 and$26,998 with odometer readings between 52424 and119274 miles.
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited is priced between $14,999 and$26,990 with odometer readings between 25677 and130867 miles.
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium is priced between $18,998 and$23,590 with odometer readings between 50894 and118700 miles.
- The Used 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i PZEV is priced between $19,998 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 72381 and72381 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2016 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) 2016 Subaru Outback for sale near. There are currently 49 used and CPO 2016 Outbacks listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,999 and mileage as low as 25677 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 2016 Subaru Outback.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.