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
$15,180 - $26,740

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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

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

There are vehicles roughly in the same ballpark as the 2017 Subaru Outback, but nothing plays the same position. The Outback is a midsize wagon with standard all-wheel drive and about the same ground clearance as a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's definitely an alternative choice but also checks so many practical boxes that it's a must-drive for anyone looking for a reasonably priced crossover SUV.

The Outback has the interior space of midsize models such as the Ford Edge and Kia Sorento, but its lower roof makes it easier to load gear, and its higher ground clearance gets it over rocks and through deep snow without a snag. The Outback holds similar advantages over smaller SUVs including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru's own Forester, with the further benefit of greater comfort and refinement. And with fuel economy rated at 28 mpg combined (with the four-cylinder) and 22 mpg combined (six-cylinder), the Outback offers good efficiency for its size and purpose. If you like wagons, the 2017 Outback offers a just-right mix of attributes that could make your vehicle search a one-stop affair.

Notably, we picked the Subaru Outback as one of Edmunds' Best Used SUVs for 2017.

2017 Subaru Outback models

The 2017 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon that comes in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring. The base model covers the essentials (roof rails, Bluetooth), while Premium and Limited trims include conveniences such as heated seats, leather and satellite radio. Touring trims are fully loaded, and 3.6R models have similar equipment but add a more powerful six-cylinder engine.

The base 2.5i starts with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (175 horsepower, 174 pound-feet of torque) and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that feeds power to all four wheels. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, hill descent control, hill holding assist, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, roof rails (with integrated cross bars), air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, Subaru's Starlink 6.2-inch touchscreen interface, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB-iPod interface and various smartphone-integration apps.

The 2.5i Premium adds rear privacy glass, heated exterior mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, a cargo cover, a bigger 7-inch touchscreen, voice controls, Bluetooth text messaging connectivity, satellite radio, an additional USB port and a six-speaker sound system. The Power Moonroof package adds the obvious plus an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A power liftgate with memory height is also optional.

The 2.5i Limited bundles the Premium options plus 18-inch wheels, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, a front bumper underguard, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, driver-seat memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, rear air vents, heated rear seats and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Xenon headlights are optional on the 2.5i Limited.

The 3.6R Limited gets the xenon headlights as standard equipment and a more powerful engine, but it is otherwise the same as the 2.5i Limited.

The Premium and Limited trims can be upgraded with a navigation system as well as the Driver Assist Technology package that includes the EyeSight system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, steering-responsive foglights and upgraded gauges. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included in the Premium version of that package.

The 2.5i Touring and 3.6R Touring trims include the standard features and options from the Premium and Limited trims, as well as the Driver Assist Technology package. Touring models also have different 18-inch wheels, dark exterior trim, fixed low-profile roof rails without crossbars, simulated-leather extended interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited (2.5L 4-cyl.; AWD; CVT automatic).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Subaru Outback has received some revisions, including revised steering feel, updated suspension tuning on Limited models and additional safety features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 2017 Subaru Outback.

Driving

3.0
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.

Acceleration

2.0
One of the Outback's weakest areas, at least if you go with the four-cylinder engine (175 hp) instead of the 3.6-liter six-cylinder (256 hp). There's not much power with the four-cylinder ever, and it takes 9.6 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Braking

3.0
The brakes don't feel all that powerful around town, with a spongy pedal feel. At our test track, the Outback stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet and did it with considerable nosedive.

Steering

4.0
This is a precise system that responds quickly to input. Effort is appropriate, though some drivers will feel it errs a bit on the heavy side.

Handling

3.0
There's significant body roll when rounding corners in the Outback, so it doesn't feel particularly nimble.

Drivability

3.0
Aside from the Outback's abrupt gas pedal, this is an easy car to drive, with a soft suspension, a manageable size and a CVT that doesn't wind out the revs too much.

Off-road

4.0
The standard all-wheel drive adds confidence to light off-roading, and it's a well-tuned system. The Outback is more rugged than most crossovers or other wagons. Ground clearance is better than most.

Comfort

4.5
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.

Seat comfort

4.5
The front seats are fantastically plush with supple leather and generously wide with lateral support. The door and center armrests are well-padded, and the driver's seat has power lumbar adjustment. The rear seats are also comfy, though the cushions are on the short side.

Ride comfort

4.5
A generally soft, comfortable ride, thanks to plentiful suspension travel. Parking-lot speed bumps barely even register. It soaks up small ripples with ease, but strangely, certain big hits at speed come through to the cabin.

Noise & vibration

3.0
There's some tire noise over road surface changes, a bit of tire hum and wind noise from the side mirror/front roof pillar window area. The engine only gets loud at high rpm, and the transmission rarely lets it wind out that far. Engine noise on the highway is hardly noticeable. Quiet idle, too.

Interior

4.5
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.

Ease of use

4.5
All controls are within easy reach. We like the old-school, single-knob mirror controls. Temperature knobs and buttons are large and easy to use. The new navigation touchscreen has large icons and quick responses. The digital clock and outside temperature readouts are tiny.

Getting in/getting out

4.0
The front doors are large and open wide, making entry a snap. But the tall ride height and wide rocker panels make it harder to step out. The rear doors don't open wide, but it's still easy to get in and out thanks to near-perfect step-in height.

Driving position

Essentially the Outback is a tall-riding car, and that's what it feels like to drive it. Although it's lower to the ground than most typical SUVs, the height from the driver's seat feels more SUV than wagon.

Roominess

4.5
Excellent front headroom and really good elbow room thanks to the big door cutouts. In the rear, there's decent headroom and good elbow room and kneeroom. Foot space under the front seats can be a bit scrunched.

Visibility

5.0
There are slim pillars all around, especially the side roof pillars just behind the driver's head. The big rear window and large side windows make for minimal blind spots. Large side mirrors. All trims have a backup camera as standard equipment.

Quality

Compared to the last generation, this current Outback is a huge step up for Subaru. The interior has plenty of soft-touch material on the dash, window sills and door inserts. The trim textures are nice too, with convincing fake wood on the Limited. The controls feel solid and work well.

Utility

With its easily accessible cargo area, spacious rear seats and low roofline, the Outback offers excellent all-around utility.

Small-item storage

The front bin has a security door, and the armrest bin is two-tiered. Cupholders lack anti-tip functionality, but the cellphone slot is excellent.

Cargo space

5.0
Power hatch opens wide, and there's 35.5 cubic feet of space behind upright rear seats. A sturdy rubber mat helps keep cargo from sliding around and reduces worry about dirty, muddy items. Max cargo capacity is 73.3 cubes. The boxy shape and low liftover point make for easy loading of large items.

Towing

4.0
The Outback is rated to tow 2,700 pounds with the four-cylinder, or 3,000 pounds with the six-cylinder. Those are better numbers than those of the base Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.

Technology

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.

Audio & navigation

The 2.5i Limited offers a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio upgrade that includes a subwoofer. Navigation is optional on Premium and Limited trims and features clear graphics and pinch-zoom functionality.

Smartphone integration

Starlink Multimedia uses an iPhone or Android smartphone to activate on-board voice-controlled apps such as Pandora and iHeartRadio. Allows voice-to-text messaging ability. Premium and Limited trims also include Siri Eyes Free to control iPhone functions through voice commands.

Driver aids

The EyeSight driver assist system bundles adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall4.0 / 5
Driving3.0
Comfort4.5
Interior4.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Subaru Outback.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited is great!
Marques E.,09/21/2016
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.
Exhaustive comparison
Bobby W,12/07/2016
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.
2017 Subaru Outback Touring 3.6R
Dave,11/08/2016
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.
Outback Features make my commute easier!
Laura Coughlan,08/31/2016
2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I got the 2017 Outback limited with eyesight. The adaptive cruise control makes my long commute much easier, as it will slow down and speed up to keep my car at a constant distance from the car ahead of me. Even if cars move in and out of my lane (or if I change lanes), the cruise control keeps me safe and less stressed during my 45+ minute commute. And the visual and audible alerts are hugely helpful when a car is in my blind spot as I drive, or when I am getting ready to back up. My family is very happy with our new car!

Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
175 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
25 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
175 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
256 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
175 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2017 Subaru Outback features & specs

Safety

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.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2017 Subaru Outback

Used 2017 Subaru Outback Overview

The Used 2017 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), 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT), 2.5i 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl CVT), and 2.5i Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Subaru Outback?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Subaru Outback trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited is priced between $16,995 and$25,277 with odometer readings between 6595 and81621 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium is priced between $15,180 and$21,988 with odometer readings between 18671 and97432 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i is priced between $17,683 and$22,769 with odometer readings between 16611 and75983 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited is priced between $20,397 and$26,740 with odometer readings between 22832 and61607 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring is priced between $22,000 and$24,509 with odometer readings between 31976 and57503 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring is priced between $21,999 and$24,494 with odometer readings between 40396 and69825 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 2017 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) 2017 Subaru Outback for sale near. There are currently 120 used and CPO 2017 Outbacks listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,180 and mileage as low as 6595 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 2017 Subaru Outback.

Can't find a used 2017 Subaru Outbacks you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Outback for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $25,539.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $25,561.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Outback for sale - 7 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,202.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $15,087.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 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.

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