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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 231 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

Won't purchase another

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Nothing stands out"

Cons: "Quality & design deficiencies"

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

"I was impressed with the test drives in 2012 & 2013, but in 2013 there were too many quality/design deficiencies. I add a qt. of oil every 1000mi, drivetrain vibrates between 45-60 mph, window seals keep windows from operating properly thus wind noise, belt squeaks and the power just isn't there. These issues are not common to only my 2013 Outback. Currently I am participating in an oil use campaign, several dealers have tried to correct the vibration. This car has 20000mi."

Super reliable! 120k and no problems.

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

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
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We have been very pleased with out Outback. Moved down in size and a few creature comforts, but we got more than we hoped for considering the price."

it's ok, but has a few problams

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: slow, poor 6-sp man. used oil

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "awd. solid car"

Cons: "oil useage. noisy and weak engine. cheap paint"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"i bought a 2013 6-sp. man. premium model new in july of 2013.nice car, decent mpg, quiet and solid. didn't want the CVT, so i bought the 6-speed. it was a little sloppy. after several thousand miles found the engine to loud and not very powerful. the paint is to thin or something, ended up with dents and dings everywhere. always had to check and add a little oil. The final straw was a drive to Marco Island, Florida from cincinnati. got 10 miles from marco and the oil light came on. checked the the dip stick, had to add about 3 qts. of oil. subaru has a law suit against them for oil useage. did love the AWD. ended up trading it in on a used land rover lr2 in oct. 2014. love it! big 6 cyl and regular 6-speed auto. quick and quiet car. hopefully the 2015's are better."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Best and most reliable car I have ever owned

By on Sunday, April 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 165,000

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

Pros: "space,versatility,dependability,reliable,comfort"

Cons: "lacks a bit of pickup,blutooth mic pickup"

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

"Thia is the best car I have ever owned! Reliable, dependable, versatile ,exceptional. At 165,000 miles I still am Original Brakes and just put on my second replacement set of tires..replaced the originals with Michelon Defendors;helped ride and good for 90000 miles.ONLY complaint is Bluetooth mic pickup is not real clear for others listening to me, but I hear them great. Will definitely buy another Outback! perfect size and versatility. Great gas milage as well."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Rust its what makes a subaru

By on Saturday, March 21, 2015

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

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
1/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "all wheel drive, roomy"

Cons: "rust, drives average"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

rusty exhaust

"Got a brand new 2014 Subaru 15 months ago, mostly satisfied initially with the ride. Have about 12000 miles on it so far. Some minor issues include uneven acceleration in the morning and weird jerking when changing from reverse to drive. A few months after I bought the car I noticed that the bottom exterior of the car was rusting. A few searches online and seems like we were not alone. Neither the dealer or Subaru customer service were interested in acknowledging the problem. They claim that it is normal for a 5 month old car to start rusting. I live in the Washington dc metro area where the winters are not extreme."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

rusty exhaust

Absoutely love it

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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: "Value and power for money"

Cons: "Auto gear changes could be smoother."

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

"Traded in a Miata. Needed a vehicle with easier access egress and got that. Test drove similar sized SUVs, but none had more than 200HP. I like having extra under my right foot. Outback is roomy, drives quiet and smooth, even on long trips - longest to date Richmond - Denver in 2 days. Fuel economy not fantastic, 22-25mpg. Haven't had chance to test the 4WD aspects of it. Interior well appointed, sound system great. In my 17,000 miles, no reliability issues. I highly recommend this vehicle over its competitors."

2 people out of 3 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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