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2013 Subaru Outback

Overview
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2013 Subaru Outback Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.9

Though it was originally promoted as the "world's first sport utility wagon," the 2013 Subaru Outback is more SUV than wagon, and that's a good thing. It's as spacious and capable as a conventional mid-size SUV, but delivers the fuel efficiency and driving characteristics of a sedan. The Outback also provides the all-weather mobility afforded by Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive and an elevated seating position for a more commanding view of the road. Competing vehicles such as the Toyota Venza, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox each excel in particular categories, but the 4th-generation Outback's balanced blend of on- and off-road proficiency offers a unique flavor in an otherwise well-defined category.

You'll Like This Car If...

Few vehicles on the market can equal the Subaru Outback's ability to conquer tough terrain while simultaneously delivering carlike fuel economy. Safety buffs will appreciate its perfect crash test marks and the availability of the segment-exclusive EyeSight driver assistance system.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those who wish to tow more than 3,000-pounds or frequently carry more than five passengers should begin their search for a new vehicle with a conventional mid-size SUV like the Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Highlander or the Honda Pilot. And if all-wheel drive is of little importance in your next SUV, consider the smaller, less expensive Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5.

What's New for 2013

The Subaru Outback receives a fairly significant mid-cycle refresh for 2013. Chief among the changes are a modified body structure and suspension, which result in less body roll and reduced interior noise. Additional refinements include new audio systems, a restyled front end, and a new 4-cylinder engine that is both more powerful and fuel efficient.

Driving the Outback

Driving Impressions If fuel economy takes precedent over quick acceleration, the 2013 Subaru Outback's 2.5-liter four with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is your best bet. The 173-horsepower engine has to work...

a bit, but once up to speed, the CVT finds and holds the engine's peak torque, providing a good balance of response and efficiency. The CVT does take some getting used to, as there are no discernible gearshifts like a traditional automatic. The standard steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, however, allow the driver to simulate manual gearshifts, for quicker passing and merging. With an estimated 30 mpg highway and an 18-gallon fuel tank, the Outback can cruise well over 500 miles before refueling. On the road, the Outback demonstrates an impressive sedan-like feel, in part because the low center of gravity of its powertrain more than offsets its tall bodywork. Steering is precise and predictable, and only some slight wind noise around the roof racks intrudes on the quiet ride.

CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION (CVT)
Subaru's take on the popular, fuel-saving transmission-without-gears features a paddle-shifted manual mode that mimics the shift points of a manual transmission without needing a clutch pedal. Best of all, the Outback CVT's estimated 24 city/30 highway mpg is better than with the 6-speed manual.

ELECTRONIC PARKING BRAKE WITH HILL-HOLDER FUNCTION
The traditional parking brake handle is replaced by a soft-touch push/pull switch on the dash. The electronic brake system includes a feature that holds the brakes for a moment on inclines greater than five degrees, for easier takeoffs without unwanted rollback.

2013 Subaru Outback Details
2013 Subaru Outback photo Interior

The roomy, versatile 2013 Subaru Outback cabin is stylishly functional. Responding to owners' desires for more rear-seat room, Subaru added four inches of legroom and nearly three inches of headroom with the 2010 redesign. During our test drive, we comfortably fit three 6-foot adults in the back seat without their knees touching the front seatbacks. Wide front seats and a reclining rear seat further improve comfort, while the upscale Limited and Premium trims offer power driver's-side lumbar support and leather seating. A dash-mounted electronic parking brake frees up console space for water bottles and latte cups. Automatic-transmission models also feature steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Exterior
2013 Subaru Outback photo

While previous Subaru Outback generations seemed more like a jacked-up, fender-flared Legacy, the newest models – including the Outback – take on more personality of their own, with a 3-inch-higher roofline and a better-integrated look of ruggedness. Thick plastic cladding, a raised ride height and 8.7 inches of ground clearance reveal its off-road capability, while beefy black roof rails conceal fold-out crossbars that stow away to reduce drag when not in use. The Outback's exterior styling looks even sleeker for 2013 thanks to new headlights, a redesigned front bumper and a more prominent grille.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Subaru Outback is offered in five trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 3.6R and 3.6R Limited. Base 2.5i models feature all-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels with covers, roof rails and a 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and a USB port for portable music players. Moving up to the Premium trim adds alloy wheels, fog lights, a 10-way power driver's seat, and two additional speakers, while range-topping Limited versions include leather seating, dual-zone climate control and 440-watt harman/kardon sound system. Safety equipment consists of six airbags, all of the expected electronic stability controls, and Subaru's new EyeSight driver-assistance system, which includes an adaptive cruise control system that automatically maintains a preset distance between the vehicle ahead, pre-collision braking, and lane-departure warning to alert drivers of an unintentional lane change.

Optional Equipment

Most options for the Subaru Outback are dependent on trim level. The CVT automatic transmission is the lone option on the base 2.5i, with Premium and Limited models offering a Power Moonroof Package comprised of an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear backup camera and – you guessed it – a power moonroof. Limited models offer voice-activated navigation, the aforementioned EyeSight safety system and a Special Appearance Package with metallic gray exterior adornments, wood-grain-style interior trim and keyless access with push-button start. Given the standard audio system's marginally adequate sound quality, we suggest upgrading to the available 9-speaker harman/kardon setup.

Under the Hood

Subaru offers two boxer engines in the 2013 Outback. What's a boxer engine? Glad you asked: It's a low-profile and naturally balanced design in which the pistons lay flat in a horizontally opposed configuration. The new 2.5-liter four delivers 173 horsepower, not best-in-class but enough muscle for satisfactory performance. Matching this engine with the CVT automatic will produce the best fuel economy, but the 6-speed manual offers sportier performance. The most refined choice for the Outback is the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder and its conventional 5-speed automatic, whose strong acceleration and passing power come at the expense of fuel efficiency: an estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway (versus the 4-cylinder CVT's 24/30).

2.5-liter boxer-4
173 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (manual), 24/30 mpg (automatic)

3.6-liter boxer-6
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

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2013 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 232 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

great auto ,but for us BIG GUYS

By on Saturday, May 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun vehicle"

Cons: "as stated above"

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

"vehicle needs to be 3" wider in the cab and 4"longer,need to add 8 way power seats for both pass. and rider.other then that its a great vehicle and very good on gas."

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."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

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."

6 people out of 9 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."

6 people out of 10 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."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

rusty exhaust

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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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