2017 Subaru Outback Review
Pros & Cons
- More spacious and comfortable cabin than many of its competitors
- Roof and cargo loading heights are lower than those of most SUVs
- Excellent visibility in all directions
- Off-road ability is above average
- Acceleration is lackluster, especially with four-cylinder engine
- Gas and brake pedal feel make it hard to drive four-cylinder smoothly
List Price Range
$12,400 - $34,990
Used Outback for SaleSee all for sale
Which Outback does Edmunds recommend?
If you simply need a big wagon that can get down and dirty for not a lot of money, it's hard to beat a 2.5i Premium. Nicely equipped with heated front seats and a good mix of tech, it's a great choice that dispenses with fuss and frills.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The four-cylinder is slow to accelerate, and handling performance isn't fantastic. The Outback is much more adept when it comes to handling bumpy back roads or snowy highways.
We were suitably impressed by the Outback's seats, both front and rear, which provide all-day comfort. The soft suspension delivers a smooth ride quality, but there's more road and wind noise than we'd like.
Subaru did a nice job updating the Outback's interior controls from the last generation. Beyond that, all the previous Outback goodness remains: plenty of passenger and cargo room and terrific outward visibility.
With its easily accessible cargo area, spacious rear seats and low roofline, the Outback offers excellent all-around utility.
The Outback is graced with a modern and reasonably user-friendly touchscreen interface, available in either 6.2- or 7-inch sizes. Some functions require unnecessary dexterity, but it's one of the easier systems to use. Also packed with abundance of features and smartphone-connectivity apps.
|Overall||4.0 / 5|
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT)
I took advantage of the August 2016 Zero down, Zero % APR offer from Subaru to purchase this car. The Outback was on my short list of new cars; I also considered the Kia Sorento, the Ford Edge, the Subaru Forrester, and Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-5 & CX-9. After test drives, much number crunching and internet research and opinions from friends, I went with the Subaru Outback. I love this car! It is quick, quiet, well-upholstered, and has the active safety features I was looking for. DETAILED REVIEWS Engine & Transmission: I have never had a car with a CVT before and I read lots of articles denigrating CVTs. However, as I do not care if my car makes sports car "vroom vroom" sounds or if it shifts like a Ferrari, I did not care about the presence of the CVT (although almost every "car guy" review does). The CVT in this car is super-smooth, except for a *very* slight stuttering at very low speed (< 5 mph) under low acceleration. Past that, the powertrain is nice and smooth, and the flat 6 does a great job getting the car up to highway speed. If you are happy with a sub-7 second 0-60 time (6.9 sec), then you will be happy with the 3.6R. Fuel economy numbers seem to be as advertised. Most of my driving is "city" driving and I drive fast (trying to change this) so after 1 month of ownership I have been averaging 21 MPG. My previous car was a diesel that averaged over 40 MPG during the summer, but the Outback is larger, more powerful, quicker, much nicer, and the fuel (87 octane) is cheaper so it balances out. Interior Trim: I have nothing but praise for the fit and finish of the cabin. The Trim of the 3.6R Limited Edition is great; smooth and attractive to the eye. The (fake?) wood trim is nice, but I do not feel it adds that much to the car. Interior Comfort: I am 6'-1" and this car has plenty of room, front and back. I love the lumbar support of the front seats, but some reviews called it "aggressive lumbar support. The lumbar support sticks out more than any other car I every had, but MY lower back loves it. My wife, at 5'-6", does not, which does not surprise me. It does not appear that the lumbar support can be lowered enough to accommodate her. She says the back seats are comfortable, so that is nice. The seats are just the right amount of firmness for me. Exterior: My main complaint is driver's side visibility. The visibility out of the driver's side mirror is poor IMHO and leaves a huge blind spot. So much that the active safety features for the left side of the car are NEEDED, otherwise you will strain your neck checking your left. The driver's side mirror is of little help. If you can live with that, everything else is great. I think the styling is very nice, great for a wagon and still distinct from other crossover SUVs. Also, mine is Venetian Red which makes it look even better ;-) Electronics/Infotainment: I do not use Subaru's Navigation system because I have Waze and Google Maps on my smartphone, so I cannot rate that Subaru's system. UPDATE - 9/27/2016: I tried it once and it worked fine although the controls are not intuitive. I believe by 2016-17 most people have a smartphone with some type of navigation app built-in that gets frequently updated, so I do not see much point in the USA for Subaru to put much effort into developing a top-of-the-line navigation system. However, if for some reason your phone is dead/lost, and you do not have paper maps (what's wrong with you?!) then this system would be adequate. My phone is linked via Bluetooth to my car (easy to do) and I exclusively listen to Pandora and Spotify through it. So much that I still have not learned how to fully operate the HD radio, such as setting preset stations, et.! When I get around to checking out the HD radio, I will update this review. Cargo: I have not tested the car's cargo capacity yet, but cargo capacity was one of the main reasons for choosing the Outback so I am sure it will great. The molded Styrofoam compartment underneath the cargo area floor mat has lots of little trays that can be used to hold a surprising amount of supplies in an organized fashion. Right now, I keep a voltmeter, bungee cords, flat repair kit and some other useful knickknacks in there. Also, the center console compartment is deep, great for storing the stuff you will use most often. Safety: The two things I insisted on when deciding on purchasing the 2017 Outback were: a 6-cylinder engine and the Eyesight system. The IIHS gives the Eyesight system its highest rating (Superior), which at the time of my research was only shared with Kia's system. Human error is the overwhelming cause of car accidents, and I believe automated systems that HELP us prevent accidents are highly desirable. The Eyesight system works great, although the lane-keeping sensor is a bit sensitive in my opinion. That's it for now. I am really enjoying this car and I hope you do as well.
2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
My wife and I did an exhaustive comparison between the Outback Limited, KIA Sorrento, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Santa Fe and the Toyota Rav 4. We test drove each of the models above -some of them two or three times. We compared features, poured over projected reliability data and read countless forums about each model. I even contacted the Service Managers at each dealership in an attempt to gleen information about common problems. In the end, the Subaru Outback excelled in every category, including advanced safety features like the Eyesight technology. Moreover, the ride of the Outback handled better and seemed more comfortable, as well as more responsive in our test drive than the other models. Subaru's Symmetrical All Wheel Drive was also a key factor in our decision. It is a superior system and due to the design, eliminates torque steer due to engine weight displacement during emergency handling. Less important features, like the self-storing roof crossbars, which eliminate drag and wind noise, pointed to the overall intelligent engineering of the vehicle. Little details like that are indications of practical design that I believe extend throughout the car. The comfort and convenience features are as nice as any $40-50,000 car. I should point out that choosing a new car in this category was not easy. Some of the other manufacturers have very competitive cars with outstanding feautures. But in the end, after literally months of research, we chose the 2017 Subaru Outback Limited because it seemed superior and met our needs. We are extremely happy with our decision.
3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT)
I bought this for my wife and wanted her to have all the best technology when it comes to safety. We identified the car we wanted and then did a factory order through a dealer for the exact color, trim level and accessories we wished for. The Eye Sight system is amazing and in my opinion worth every penny. We compared this car against the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX, based on everything that was important to us the Outback was just a much better value. One thing I learned early on in my research is that all AWD systems are not the same. Subaru really has a great story to tell regarding their symmetrical AWD system. Acura's new AWD system falls a little short and Audi's AWD is in my opinion the only one that can truly go toe to toe with Subaru on this point. I am very happy with selecting the 3.6R over the base engine as the one constant complaint I seen from hundreds of reviews was related to the base engine being underpowered. I can tell you the 3.6R offers plenty of acceleration, smoother and quieter engine operation and a more satisfying experience. Yes you take a little hit on gas mileage, but if that was my primary consideration I would have bought a small compact hybrid. The touring interior is on par with the Acura RDX and close but a little short of the Audi Q5. The safety technology on this car was much better then the the Audi Q5 and a little better then the RDX. Outward visibility is terrific in this car and ranks among the best of any car we have ever owned. The heated back seats with recline is a nice touch for passenger comfort, wish they would have included seat ventilation also for those days when our temps are in the triple digits. Like other reviewers stated the handling for a SUV/SUW is very good and you feel confidant and in control even when coming into a tighter then expected corner at a faster then desired speed. We have owned many luxury and non luxury cars over the years. While the Subaru brand does not communicate the prestige of some of the German or Luxury Japanese brands. The practicality, safety, resale, reliability and price of the Subaru far out ways any need for pretentiousness on our part. So in summary, if you are looking for a near luxury car for over ten thousand less then comparable vehicles and don't care about the badge on the front, or are looking for a very nice car with the latest and best safety features and technology the 2017 Subaru Outback Touring/Limited should be on your shortlist.
3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT)
It was time to give up the 12 year old daily driver (Jaguar x-type awd with manual transmission - LOVED this car, just did not want to part with it). Needed an all wheel drive car that could fit the family and all of our stuff. Test drove the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Audi Q5, a couple of Mercedes 4matic vehicles, and my wife has been driving Volvo for over a decade. Each time I drove one those previously mentioned brands there was something that I didn't like, but assured myself that I would get over it. Did a ton of research and kept coming away with the thought that getting over something when paying for a $45,000+ car just did not make sense. On a whim I decided to include Subaru on the last "luxury brand" internet searches...then decided to walk the lot of the local Subaru dealership. So thankful I did! As soon as we left on the first test drive of a 2017 Outback 3.6R Limited I was hooked. Unlike the other brands, there was nothing I did not like. No beeps, no over-technology, the interior trim and leather is Mercedes 350-level-nice, the visibility and sight lines are great, the sound system is awesome and the seats are comfortable. Then, we got to driving...I like to drive...and while it's a big vehicle, it does not drive like a big vehicle. It has an unexpected 4 corner balance to it and, really nice, dare I say "fun" power band. I took the thing through it's paces and didn't want the test drive to end. Went home to "digest" and then went back that night to drive it again...and then bought that very vehicle two days later. Stunned how much I like it...dare I say...love..this wagon? SUV? Cross-over? Don't care what you call it...other than possibly the best, most underrated and unexpected value I have ever come across. To be fair, this is the 3.6R with the bigger wheels. Drove the 2.5 before purchasing just to be sure (some reviews say there is not a big difference unless you are towing...don't believe it, drive them both...), and let's just say the power level of the 2.5 was not my cup of tea. Also, I am not a "technology" guy - all I wanted was Bluetooth and a sunroof - the Limited had both...and while the "Eye-sight" system seems like a great idea, I am anti-beeps and boops coming from the car while I am driving, thus no need for that either. UPDATE: June 2017 - little more than 6 months and 7500 miles later...still love it! Not a single complaint! UPDATE: Dec 2018 - 52,000 miles...still love it. Update: June 2019 - 66,000 miles...yep, still love it...
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Outback models:
- EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
- Scans the road ahead to enable adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and automatic foglights.
- Blind-Spot Detection/Lane Change Assist
- Uses radar sensors to detect vehicles in blind spot and shows visual indicator in side mirror. Indicator also warns of unsafe lane change.
- Starlink Safety and Security Plus
- Notifies first responders if an airbag deploys. Can also connect to emergency or roadside assistance services.