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2011 Subaru Outback

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2011 Subaru Outback Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2010 Subaru Outback is the perfect anti-SUV and one of the best-selling wagons in America. It's as agile as most mid-size sedans, but offers much of the off-road and cargo capabilities of a larger vehicle. It also offers a raised seating position that some consider a just-right balance between that of a car and an SUV. New from the ground up in 2010, the fifth generation Outback remains true to the original concept yet achieves major improvements in the areas of interior room, fuel economy and flexibility. As with all Subarus, the Outback comes standard with Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, a proven system that allows this rugged wagon to conquer the toughest terrain and deepest snow.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for an economical wagon with an emphasis on safety, features, fuel-economy and true off-road ability, the Outback is pretty much your best bet.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a third-row seat, tow heavy loads or prefer the car-like styling found on the Volvo XC70 or Toyota Venza, the new Outback probably won't be a good fit.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, Subaru adds folding side mirrors to all Outback models and makes XM Satellite Radio part of the harman/kardon audio system. New features include a rear vision camera with 3.3-inch rearview mirror display (part of the Power Moonroof package) and mobile Wi-Fi device that turns the Outback into a rolling hotspot capable of accessing the internet up to 150-feet from the car.

Driving the Outback

Driving Impressions If maximum fuel economy takes precedent over quick acceleration, the 2.5-liter four with the CVT is your best bet. With 170 horsepower on tap the engine has to work a...

bit to move the Outback. Once up to speed the CVT finds and holds the engine's maximum torque and horsepower, providing the best acceleration and fuel economy mix. The CVT does take some getting used to as there are no discernable gear shifts common to a traditional automatic. The standard steering wheel mounted shift paddles, however, allow the driver to select and hold gears as with a manual transmission, thus making passing and merging maneuvers a bit quicker. With a projected 29 miles per gallon highway and a new 18-gallon fuel tank, the Outback can cruise over 500 miles before refueling. As for the Outback's driving characteristics, it demonstrates an impressive sedan-like feel, especially surprising considering the car's high center of gravity. The steering is precise and predictable and interior sound levels are fairly low, although we did detect some wind noise around the roof racks.

CVT Automatic
Subaru's take on this fuel saving transmission uses a metal band as opposed to a rubber belt, which it claims will improve durability and longevity. The Subaru CVT includes a manual shift mode that mimics the shift points of a manual transmission without the need for clutch pedal. Best of all, the CVT is expected to return and estimated 22 city and 29 highway, which is better than the six-speed manual.

Electronic Parking Brake with Hill Holder
Not only does this feature free up more space on the center console, it incorporates and electronic hill holder that, on inclines of more the five percent, holds the vehicle in place until the driver steps on the accelerator.

2011 Subaru Outback Details
2011 Subaru Outback photo Interior

One of the biggest complaints heard by generations of Outback owners involved the car's tiny back seat. The 2011 model addresses this concern by adding an additional four inches of legroom and nearly three inches of headroom. During our test drive, we comfortable fit three, six-foot tall adults in the back seat and still had space between their knees and the front seat backs. Wide front seats and a reclining rear seat further improve occupant comfort, while upscale models offer power driver's side lumbar support and leather seating surfaces. The addition of a dash-mounted electronic parking brake allows Subaru engineers to remove the center console handbrake handle, creating more space for water bottles and latte cups. Models equipped with automatic transmission also feature steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Exterior

The 2011 Outback is a radical departure from the previous three generations, models that where off-road capable, but very car like in appearance. The Outback is now more SUV-like appearance, with thick plastic cladding on the doors, rocker panels and front bumper, as well as larger headlamps and pronounced fender arches. The 2011 Outback is nearly three inches taller and two-inches wider than the previous generation (2005-2009), yet the car's overall length actually shrinks by one inch. Frameless windows, another shortcoming of former Outbacks, are replaced by fully-framed glass, a design that helps improve body rigidity as well as reduce wind noise. Subaru stretched the rear door allowing easier entry and exit, while up top a clever roof rack features folding cross rails that can be tucked away to reduce wind noise and drag. And, with 8.7-inches of ground clearance, the Outback can tackle just about any off-road condition.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Outback 2.5i features a six-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, six airbags including front side-impact and front and rear side curtain airbags, and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, steering wheel controls for the audio and cruise control, rear wiper washer, remote keyless entry, electronic parking brake with hill holder feature and the swing away cross rail roof rack. The Premium model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat with power lumbar support, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear privacy glass. To this the Limited trim adds leather seating, and four-way power passenger seat, the All Weather Package (heated seats, side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers), the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission, dual-zone automatic temperature control, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, a 440-watt harman/kardon stereo with six-disc CD/WMA/MP3 changer and XM Satellite Radio. Six cylinder models features the same equipment, but replace the CVT with a traditional five-speed automatic.

Optional Equipment

Most options are offered according to trim. Base models offer a few dealer installed items including Bluetooth phone connectivity, exterior puddle lights, cargo organizing systems and fog lights. The Premium models offer the Power Moonroof Package with rear vision camera and auto-dimming mirror, the All-Weather Package (heated seats, mirrors and wiper de-icers) and the 440-watt harman/kardon(r) audio system, while the Limited trims offer the Power Moonroof package and a voice-activated navigation system featuring music streaming (streams music to the car's stereo from a compatible Bluetooth enabled device), an eight-inch view screen and a rear backup camera. Other stand alone options include XM Satellite radio, an iPod integration Media Hub Kit that adds a USB connector, Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity (requires subscription), remote start (automatic transmission only), a trailer hitch and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with built in compass.

Under the Hood

Subaru offers two horizontally-opposed boxer engines in the Outback. The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers 170 horsepower, which may not best in class but does generate enough muscle to provide satisfactory performance. Equipping this engine with the CVT automatic will produce the best fuel economy, but the six-speed manual is a better choice from a performance standpoint. If fuel economy is not a top priority, the best choice for the Legacy is the six-cylinder, which delivers much better acceleration and passing power than the four while delivering slightly worse fuel economy (18/25 vs. 22/29).

2.5-liter Boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 22/29 (automatic)

3.6-liter Boxer-6
256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

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2011 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 246 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

excellent value compared to similar vehicles

By on Friday, August 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value compared to other small/mid sized suvs"

Cons: "Few interior color options."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my 4th Subaru. Safety, reliability and versatility of the brand has been consistent (I drove a small Ford for 11 years between 3rd & 4th Subaru). Mileage is very good: spring through fall, I'm getting 33mpg, sometimes better, at 65-70 mph. The car hauls everything from 6' friends, bikes and kayaks to yard waste and tree limbs. No effort flat folding rear seats allow that versatility. It's a great riding vehicle."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle - comfortable, carries a lot

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Driver's seat adjustable to every person"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best vehicle I ever owned. Assembled in America, huge cargo area when back seats are down, comfortable, warm in the Winter, cool in the Summer, and high off the ground."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Really Love our first Subaru Outback

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty but rugged, yet classy, and fun!"

Cons: "Rear camera in mid dash, instead of the rear view."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"No, it is not a Jaguar, but it handles very well indeed. Slightly hesitant to get up and go when pushing it to merge on the freeway, it will get with the program within 2 seconds, and go for it with the best of them! We have never felt the need to refer to this vehicle as "a boat" nor any other bulky derogatory remarks, it is as much like a car as it can be, in actions and in feel inside, while offering me the space for my dogs, groceries, or Big Box store hauls. We love the tech options, the blue tooth, the rear view camera. We have never used the rear view mirror buttons, so those are superfluous to our lifestyle, obviously. I LOVE the outdoors package, or maybe it was called the weather package, with the sturdy floor mats, back of seats and back bed covers, is awesome, and the interior is in GREAT shape 2 years later. We also really depend on it's "higher than a sedan" ground clearance, it gets me through the flooded roads other cars have to back out from, and in muddy areas it has been great every time. Handles reliably in bad weather in Texas. So far it has never let us down! My only real negative, is that they have the rear view camera down on the mid dash, as opposed some other manufacturers whom place it in the rear view mirror. I have used both, and the rear camera view in the rear view mirror is far more user friendly and functional, to allow you to look around the vehicle and at the rear camera safely and effectively, while backing up. This is their one major failing, in my humble opinion."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Car, especially in bad weather or long road

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,523

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fit, Finish, Quality, Power, Firm Controlled Ride!"

Cons: "Wish back lift gate was a two part system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been a great car, never back to the dealer for anything, firm but smooth ride, fantastic seats in this Limited edition. Lots of room, even with the seats all the way back. very useful roof rack design with disappearing cross rails, Great stereo! Just well thought out. Dependable and very agile in snow or bad weather. Sunroof could be bigger, but not a deal breaker"

16 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Excellent car for our needs

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Pros: Fuel efficient Smooth ride and quiet Excellent handling Excellent in snow Good looking interior, shows quality"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Bought brand new. Best new car purchase choice

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All. Plenty of room, great in winter conditions"

Cons: "Haven't found any yet"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Has passed my expectations. Right now I average 30-33 mpg summer driving and 28-30 in the winter. Heated seats are fantastic along with dual controls and remote start. I have not had a need to utilize the top cargo; however, impressed with how much I can haul in the trunk/hatch area and better when seats are folded down. Nothing less that 12 bags of mulch. Saved me from having to drive my truck, which doesn't come close to the fuel efficiency. The only things I'm not impressed with is the tire sensors, but that's with any vehicle and not specific to my Outback."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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