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2014 Subaru Outback

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2014 Subaru Outback Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.8

The 2014 Subaru Outback is somewhat like a wagon and perhaps more like an SUV. To practical buyers it offers the spacious interior and versatility of a more-or-less traditional midsize SUV, with driving attributes and fuel efficiency more in line with a wagon. But perhaps its strongest virtue is the all-weather capability delivered by its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. If Subarus are known for anything, it’s their well-deserved reputation for dealing with just about any weather condition Mother Nature can toss their way. Other vehicles might offer most of what the Outback delivers, and may be more engaging to drive or present more stylish faces, but the Subaru’s all-around proficiency on good days and bad gives it a unique spot among its competition.

You'll Like This Car If...

Need a lot of interior room? Reasonable fuel economy? Rugged durability? All-weather capability? Good results on crash tests? And all that at an affordable price? The 2014 Outback should be high on your list.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Just because it’s an SUV doesn’t mean the Outback can deal with a trailer over 3,000 pounds or more than five occupants; if those are your requirements you need something bigger, a Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot. And if you don’t need all-wheel drive, there are less-expensive, although smaller, choices.

What's New for 2014

In 2013, the Outback received significant updates, and for 2014 the changes are minimal. The 2.5i Premium models now include, as standard, the All-Weather Package (heated front seats, heated side mirrors and windshield de-icer) and the display audio system (4.3-inch screen, six speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio).

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, as with 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 intrudes on the reasonably 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.

SYMMETRICAL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Perhaps Subaru’s biggest claim to fame is its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which continually sends power to all four wheels for optimum traction. If you live where the weather can turn foul and the roads slick, this could be reason enough to consider the Outback.

2014 Subaru Outback Details
Interior

The roomy, versatile Outback cabin is stylishly functional and remarkably roomy. Of particular note is the rear seat – we were able to fit three 6-foot adults in the rear seat, everybody was comfortable and none had knees touching the backs of the front seats. Equally comfortable are the wide front seats, which clearly are configured for adults, a reclining rear seat further improves 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

The Subaru Outback is admittedly not the most stylish thing on the road, but it is clean and purposeful. The high roofline promises (and delivers) ample interior space, the generous ride height (with 8.7 inches of ground clearance) announces its off-road and bad-weather capabilities, while the sturdy black roof rails provide secure mounting when carrying extra stuff on the roof (and the roof-rail crossbars stow away when not in use, to reduce aerodynamic drag and wind noise). Up front, the headlights, front bumper and prominent grille give a sleek appearance that blends well with the overall rugged character.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

For 2014, the Outback is offered in four trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited. Base 2.5i models feature all-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails and a 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and a USB port. The Premium trim adds alloy wheels, fog lights, a 10-way power driver’s seat, the All-Weather Package and the display audio system, while Limited versions include leather seating, dual-zone climate control and a 440-watt harman/kardon sound system. Safety features include six airbags, electronic stability control, and Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance system (includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-departure warning).

Optional Equipment

Most options for the Outback are dependent upon 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 with a power moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear backup camera. Limited models offer voice-activated navigation, the 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. The standard sound system has been upgraded for 2014, but audiophiles may want to choose the optional 9-speaker harman/kardon setup.

Under the Hood

The Outback is available with a choice of two “boxer” engines. “Boxer” means the cylinders are horizontal and opposed to each other, so the pistons go back forth somewhat like a boxer’s fists, and the engine is low and flat, which reduces the height of the center of gravity – which in turn aids handling. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 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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2014 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 264 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Great all-around rig

By on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Value, space, awd system, economy"

Cons: "Dated infotainment, stability control undefeatable"

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

"Bought this car after many years with a Ford Escape Hybrid. There is literally nothing on the market comparable in size to the Outback that can touch its fuel economy. I have not experienced any of the oil consumption issues, but did have initial problems with the tensioner pulley at 10k. Otherwise super reliable. Love that the rear seats fold without removal of headrests but wish they formed a fully flat load floor and also notice that while the cargo area is sizable, it isn't as tall as my Escape - the full-size dog kennel scrapes the roof where the 3rd seatbelt sticks out. The infotainment works well but pales in comparison to Sync from Ford when it comes to options, I'd imagine the new Starlink system introduced in 2015 is a big improvement. I would absolutely buy another Outback, especially if Ford never builds the Escape Hybrid again!"

Failed Timing Belt

By on Friday, June 3, 2016

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

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

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

"Timing belt was worn at 50,000 miles. Replaced. 1 year later timing belt failed, and now have engine with no compression. So I would not recommend the 4-V Subaru engine to anyone. If you have one make sure you get the tensioner and all the parts associated with the timing belt changed when you change the timing belt. Also get YOUR TIMING BELT CHECKED EARLIER THAN THE RECOMMENDATION FROM SUBARU. Engine rebuild will cost me 5000."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Love the room but not the oil consumption

By on Thursday, May 26, 2016

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value, good gas mileage, lots of room"

Cons: "OIL CONSUMPTION"

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

"I purchased this vehicle for the family since my son does travel hockey. Has a lot of room for gear and gets decent gas mileage. But every 2000 miles, I have to put a quart of oil into the engine. So to me this is not a reliable car since I have to make sure I keep a quart of oil in the car at all times. I have discussed this with the service reps and they told me it's the boxer engine. If this is true, why does my wife's Empreza does not have the same problem. I have owned numerous cars in the past and I have never had a new car with oil consumption issues. At this point, I would not recommend this car if ALL the Outbacks burn through oil. In fact, I am at the point of considering trading the car into the dealership."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best Car I've Owned

By on Monday, May 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"This Outback has been outstanding overall for performance and reliability. The 3.6L six cyl engine is very quiet and has excellent torque -- very quick in acceleration, both from standing start and for passing on highway. At steady highway speeds easily gets 28-30 mpg. The all-wheel drive makes it very stable and secure on wet roads. At 5 years the seats are still very comfortable and interior has remained in excellent condition and appearance. Very satisfied in almost every way."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Poor dealer repair service. Quality not great!

By on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Good interior space. Smooth ride"

Cons: "Too many problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Have 2010 2.5i Outback since new. The ride is smooth but my gas mileage has lowered in the last 20K or so. I don't race and keep oil changed regularly. Quality of the car is only ok probably since it's US assembly. The hatch is very hard to close. The driver head rest is extremely uncomfortable. Thrusting head forward giving neck pain. Like other owner reports, car kept stalling around 30K. Dealer didn't know how to fix it, kept reprogramming the computer. Finally after 3 try, went to another dealer. They replaced the cam sensor. This should not have happen that early. I believe is defective part. At 60K, car hesitated on acceleration and throttle intake needed cleaning. I owned many other Japanese, none of those cars needing this done and all ran smoothly. Subaru is high maintenance. Dealer requires much more work than owner's manual stated. They also do not train their mechanic properly. Sloppy oil change, spill oil all over my engine block causing bad burnt smell. I will be replacing this car soon. Hopefully resell value is ok."

Superb vehicle

By on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

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: "Holds the road; high resale price."

Cons: "No focused rear reading lights; make it bigger!"

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

"The worst thing I could say about this vehicle is Subaru should have put in focused reading lights in back and shielded the front interior overhead lights from the driver. At 48000 miles the wheels are still in alignment despite bumps and curbs and the tires still have lots of tread. I have gotten up to 36 MPG on road trips, but drive it faster most of the time and the overall MPG has been 25, as Subaru claims. Nothing has needed replacing except one headlight bulb and one tail bulb. I had larger SUVs prior to the Outback (Yukon XL, Several Mitsubishi Montero Sports) and wish Subaru made one Yukon size. I remain a Montero Sport fan and recently rented one in Costa Rica. That would be my preferred vehicle, but Mitsubishi quit selling them in the USA years ago."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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