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2011 Subaru Outback

Overview
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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 212 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Solid and reliable

By on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Little or no additional costs to operate"

Cons: "2.5 L engine could use more acceleration."

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

"Had this car for almost 3 years. Plan on keeping it for at least another 5 years. 2 gripes. Wish I had gone with the 6 cyl for more power and driver convenience space around shifter could be increased for placement of wallet, phone etc. Still would highly recommend to anyone."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love my Outback!

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"We just traded in 2 Toyota's, after owning Toyota's for over 30 years, to get the Outback. We LOVE this car. I feel like Toyota's quality has been declining over the past few years and we finally decided to make the switch. My husband had leased an Outback on a trip last year and was determined that was going to be our next car. I can't tell you how many recall notices I've received the past year or two on the Toyota's. Plus, the interior is far more impressive on the Outback than it was on either one of our other Toyota's. Looking forward to driving this car for a long time!"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

a very good vehicle

By on Sunday, November 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "handling, ride, all wheel drive"

Cons: "rear visibility, uncomfortable drivers seat,"

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

"I purchased this vehicle because i wanted an American made car. I was looking at a Chevrolet Equinox and the Subaru. I knew the Subaru was made in the USA. but to my surprise, the Chevrolet was not. Frankly, it was the best decision i could have made. I was not particularly impressed with the new style as i liked the more conservative look of the 2009 but I did buy it. The only complaint i have is that the power seat does not go straight up, it goes up and forward which brings me too close to the steering wheel, but i like to sit high, also, rear visibly is not really that good. But, the car is a pleasure to drive. I have never tired of it. I feel very secure in it and it handles well in all kinds of weather. I am contemplating trading it in and am not even going to look at another model. I will buy another outback. But one with rear view cameras and rear view warning monitors. I consistently get 33+ mpg on the highway. Whats not to like."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Very reliable, functional, good looking.

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price & options."

Cons: "Power seat passenger cannot elevate."

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

"This in my 3rd Outback. I have had them all. Jeep Grand Cherokee, Acura MDX, Ford Explorer and Chevy Blazer. This "little" car beats them all in performance, gas mileage, and COST. Well designed. I had the 3.6 L engine. Excellent pick up and power. I did pull a trailer ( about 3000 lbs without any difficulty. Would definitely recommend it."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Decent car for the money

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Safe, great in snow"

Cons: "lot of small issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is a good car for the money . Very safe and excellent in the snow. it has decent cargo area in the back and leg room is pretty good for such a small car."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Fuel efficient SUV

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great value, easy to maintain, roomy"

Cons: "Underpowered, manual's not smooth, no rear AC"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This thing does everything I need it to do. It is nowhere near fun to drive, but it swallows up gear/luggage and gets me where I need to go without drama. Good family vehicle."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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