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2013 Subaru Outback

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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 255 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 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 vehical

By on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,800

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

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

"This outback was owned by my brouther who past away. He was in the hospital and that is why the low milage. The car has been kept in the garage and cleaned once a month. I need to sell to pay bills for the estate. he bought the car from C&S and they valued it at $27,000 retail."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Awesome, Luxury vehicle

By on Thursday, January 07, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

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: "Fun to drive, I paid top dollar, with no regrets."

Cons: "None"

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

"I love this car, it has beautiful interior, outside is white with black trim, it is sexy. Drives like a dream, feals very heavy and the rear camera is super efficient. The. Leather is definitely old school with the smell and padding of top of the line luxury vehicle. Love my car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Good AWD crossover with poor reliability

By on Friday, December 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Good AWD, Smooth H6 Engine"

Cons: "Poor Reliability and Quality"

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

"Bought Subaru 2010 Subaru 3.6R. The car is comfort, smooth and Subaru AWD system is really good for New England Winter. However, I will not recommend this car until subaru has better quality. Engine oil leak at 44k mile 3 month after warranty expired. Interior material start color bleach. My friend bought 2013 subaru 2.5i also has engine oil problem at only 15k miles"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love this car

By on Thursday, December 17, 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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "AWD, Mileage, Handling, Versatility, Snow"

Cons: "None"

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

"This is a great car that I bought new as I usually keep cars till they wear out. I fully expect this car to last to 200,000 miles or more. I use this car to transport kayaks and bikes and it is perfect in that regard. It drives better in the snow than a Jeep. Its low center of gravity gives one a great feeling of solidity and security. This car has quickly become my favorite vehicle ever."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

2014 2.4L Preium - There are better choices

By on Sunday, November 29, 2015

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

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "AWD -great in winter, Lots of cargo space"

Cons: "CVT, Cold interior in winter"

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

"CVT transmission is worst feature on this vehicle. Slow acceleration and high RPMs are common when trying to get this vehicle moving especially in cold winter weather. Cold interior when it is really cold outside. My 2002 Camry does a much better job of interior heating. Engine burns a quart of expensive sythetic oil every 5200 miles. Subaru dealership considers this "normal". Again, my 02 Camry with 171,000 miles on it uses about the same amount of oil. How much oil will the Outback be using at 171k?"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Loaded, reliable, safe, luxurious snow machine

By on Monday, November 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Seats, NAV, sound, snow car"

Cons: "mileage 85K- due to weekly 180m trip to mountains"

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

"Loaded: (NAV, CD/MP3 harmon stereo, perforated leather heated electric front seats, moon roof, back-up camera, built for snow safety, great gas mileage, lots of room for toys."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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