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Used 2012 Subaru Outback

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Combined Fuel Economy
22 MPG
170 HP
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If you value the capability of an SUV to handle cargo and rough roads, but appreciate high ratings for safety, fuel-efficiency and driving enjoyment, the Outback wagon is likely the best mix of these virtues on the market. Subaru's flat "boxer" engine and all-wheel drive lower the car's center of gravity, for more stable handling.


If you need a third-row seat or tow heavy loads, a traditional SUV might be a better fit. If you prefer more carlike styling, consider a Volvo XC70 or Toyota Venza. Not everyone likes the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that is offered with the 4-cylinder, but it is among the best of its kind.

What's New For 2012

The 2012 Subaru Outback offers a wide range of equipment among its six trim levels. The popular mid-level Premium wagon models add an improved 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone and wireless audio streaming plus an iPod connection. The clever standard roof rack with foldaway crossbars is mildly revised.

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Used 2012 Subaru Outback Pricing

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Used 2012 Subaru Outback Expert Review

The 2012 Subaru Outback wagon is the perfect anti- SUV and one of the best-selling wagons in America. It's as agile and efficient as most mid-size sedans, but offers much of the off-road and cargo capability 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 its original concept yet enjoys major improvements in refinement, cabin room, fuel economy and flexibility. As with every Subaru, the Outback comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a proven system that allows this rugged wagon to conquer tough terrain and deep snow as confidently as any SUV, while taking to the open road with sport- sedan manners.

Driving the Used 2012 Subaru Outback

If fuel economy takes precedent over quick acceleration, the 2012 Subaru Outback's 2.5-liter four with the CVT is your best bet. The 170-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 discernable 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 29 mpg highway and an 18-gallon fuel tank, the Outback wagon can cruise 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.

Favorite Features

CVT Automatic
Subaru's take on this fuel-saving transmission uses a metal band instead of a rubber belt, which it claims to improve durability. A paddle-shifted manual mode mimics the shift points of a manual transmission without needing a clutch pedal. Best of all, the CVT's estimated 22 city/29 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 5 degrees, for easier takeoffs without unwanted rollback.

Used 2012 Subaru Outback Interior

The roomy, versatile 2012 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 upscale models 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.

Used 2012 Subaru Outback Exterior

While previous Subaru Outback generations seemed more like a jacked-up, fender-flared Legacy, the newest models - including the 2012 Outback wagon – 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. Frameless windows, a former Subaru styling cue that led to some complaints of wind noise, are replaced by fully framed glass, a design that also helps improve body rigidity.

Used 2012 Subaru Outback Standard Features

The base Subaru Outback 2.5i features all-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary jack, manual air conditioning, power windows/locks, height-adjustable driver's seat, front side and side-curtain airbags, keyless entry and stability control. A 6-cylinder 3.6R version is similar, though with a 5-speed automatic, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a cargo cover. The 2.5i Premium adds an automatic transmission and 17-inch wheels, while both 2.5i and 3.6R Premium models include a 10-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 6-speaker audio with Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity. The 2.5i and 3.6R Limited trims add a front underguard, an All-Weather Package (heated front seats, mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers), plus leather, a power passenger seat, dual-zone climate control and 9-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system.

Used 2012 Subaru Outback Options

Most options are offered according to trim. The base 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i offers the CVT automatic, All-Weather Package (heated seats, mirrors and wiper de-icers) and an alloy wheels/foglight package. The 3.6R base trim offers almost no options, not even heated seats (all 3.6R models include a 5-speed conventional automatic). The 2.5i and 3.6R Premium trims offer the harman/kardon audio, All-Weather Package and a moonroof /rearview camera package. Limiteds offer voice-activated navigation with rearview camera and auto-dimming mirrors. Subaru dealers also have a generous selection of accessories, from cargo carriers to a rear-seat entertainment system.

Used 2012 Subaru Outback Engine

Subaru offers two boxer engines in the 2012 Outback wagon, a low-profile and naturally balanced design in which the pistons lay flat in a horizontally opposed configuration. The 2.5-liter four delivers 170 horsepower, not best-in-class but enough muscle for satisfactory performance. Equipping 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 6-cylinder and 5-speed conventional 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 22/29).

2.5-liter boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 22/29 (CVT automatic)

3.6-liter boxer-6
256 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

How Much Does the Used 2012 Subaru Outback Cost?

The 2012 Subaru Outback Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $23,000 for the base 2.5i wagon, jumping to around $25,000 for the 2.5i Premium and edging just over $29,000 for the Limited trim. Six-cylinder models range from around $28,000 for the base 3.6R to nearly $36,000 for a fully optioned 3.6 Limited. To make your best deal, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area might be paying for their Outbacks. When looking at the Outback's competitors, you can see it easily undercuts the Volvo XC70 and a comparably equipped Toyota Venza, is on par with the Honda CR-V, but is a bit more expensive than its own kin, the Subaru Forester. As for resale, we expect the Outback wagon to hold high 5-year values, leading the wagon segment in residuals.

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Used 2012 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews


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1st Subaru
2014 Subaru Outback

"So solid and safe"

safety, durability, reliability, roof rack, tech
Heavy car means lower mpg and slower stopping
Bought this car in Feb 2014 just as a major snow storm was starting. The all wheel drive was amazing as I drove securely on I95 in Philly. Other cars were stopped on the side of the road and I was comparing the subaru to my all wheel drive Mazda CX9. The safety over the last 5 years has been amazing. I have Eye sight and that has saved me twice in bumper to bumper traffic when I looked away for a short period. There is no blind side alert which is a slight negative. No mechanical problems to speak of. Only recall was the airbag. My college age son drives it now and I am thrilled that he will likely keep it for at least 5 years. I drove it for 13K miles per year for 3.5 years and he only drives it about 6K a year now. MPG could be better. Usually around 24 mpg and can get 30 on highway if I keep to the speed limit or max of 65mph. At 70 mph+ I lose fuel economy quickly. Everything has worn well inside and out. Some fake leather panel inserts have come loose and need to be tucked in again. It is 5 years old and still one of the safest and most reliable cars on the road. 2019 competitive models in this price range are just starting to catch up. Quite amazing!Read less
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2012 Subaru Outback

"Would not buy one again"

Good looking car
noisy, bad transmission and head gaskets
Since owning the car we have had to replace the transmission at 101,000 miles and now at 112,000 we are having to replace the head gaskets. Very disappointed in the Subaru Outback. Would not recommend a Subaru to anyone.
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2010 Subaru Outback

"I love my outback. I've owned it for 5 years."

I love my outback. I've owned it for 5 years. Interior holds up real well and not a lot of maintenance. Drives great.
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2013 Subaru Outback

"Outstanding winter & road trip car, but burns oil"

Excellent AWD, roomy, rear seat comfort
slow acceleration, oil burning, slow to warm up
Our 2.5 CVT Outback somehow manages to do just about everything just right. It never gets stuck, even in a foot of snow w all-season tires. It has just enough room for a ski weekend with 3 passengers and gear. The seats are comfortable and roomy. The infotainment system works ok with a phone cable. Acceleration is adequate, but just barely, and we average 26 mpg overall. Range is good too, around 450 mi @ 75mph. It's quiet and well mannered on the highway and handles well around town, but the engine roars transmission whines when accelerating hard. Lots of cupholders and compartments, and enough power outlets. On the bad side, it burns about 1Q oil every 2500-3000 mi, and is getting worse, but is covered by an 8/100 recall warranty. The integrated USB does not provide sufficient power to charge a phone when using GPS. The HK radio sound is rather lame. Maintenance costs have been minimal so far, with only brake and rotor replacement and scheduled maintenance.Read less
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2014 Subaru Outback

"I feel very safe driving this car."

Safe. Easy to drive. Roomy. None
This car will be five years old in April and has only 16,000 miles on it. It is a one owner car. Owned by elderly woman. No dings. Garaged. Recently serviced.
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2012 Subaru Outback Photos & Videos (63)

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2012 Subaru Outback Specs & FeaturesBased on lowest-priced style.


  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology
  • Cruise Control
  • Hands Free Phone
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Internet Access
  • Remote Engine Start


  • AM/FM Radio
  • MP3 Player
  • Satellite Radio
  • Auxiliary Input Jack
  • Bluetooth Streaming Audio
  • CD Player
  • Rear DVD Entertainment System
  • Subwoofer


  • Folding Rear Seat
  • Cloth Seats
  • Heated Front Seats

Comfort & Convenience

  • Front Air Conditioning
  • Power Locks
  • Auto-Dimming Interior Mirror
  • Integrated Garage Door Opener

Fuel Economy

  • EPA City - 22 mpg
  • EPA Class - Sport Utility Vehicles
  • EPA Hwy - 29 mpg
  • EPA Combined - 24 mpg


  • Horsepower - 170 hp
  • Horsepower RPM - 5600 rpm
  • Torque - 170 foot pounds
  • Torque RPM - 4000 rpm


  • Cup Holder
  • Power Windows
  • Compass
  • Power Outlet
  • Steering Wheel Controls
  • Tilt Steering Wheel
  • Tilt/Telescoping Steering Wheel


  • Alloy Wheels
  • Automatic Headlights
  • Heated Mirrors
  • Number of Doors - 4 doors
  • Power Mirrors
  • Roof Rails
  • Tires / Wheel Size - P215/70SR16
  • Upgraded Wheels
  • Wheel Type - Steel with Covers
  • Fog Lights
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Trailer Hitch Receiver


  • Alarm System


  • Basic Miles - 36000 miles
  • Basic Years - 3 years
  • Corrosion/Rust Through Miles - Unlimited miles
  • Corrosion/Rust Through Years - 5 years
  • Powertrain Miles - 60000 miles
  • Powertrain Years - 5 years
  • Roadside Assistance Miles - 36000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance Years - 3 years


  • Brakes: Front - Disc
  • Brakes: Rear - Disc
  • Braking System - Anti-Lock
  • Drivetrain - AWD
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Engine Type - Gas
  • Power Steering
  • Tachometer
  • Transmission Type - Automatic
  • Cylinders - 4 cylinders
  • Displacement - 2.5 liter
  • Compression Ratio - 10.0
  • Fuel Induction - Sequential Fuel Injection
  • Total no. valves - 16 valves
  • Valve Train - Single Overhead Cam
  • Engine Configuration - Inline
  • Emissions Rating - PZEV
  • CID - 150 cubic inches
  • Recommended Fuel - Regular
  • Transmission Sub-Type - CVT
  • Manual Mode - Manual Mode
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Paddle Shifters

Dimensions, Weights & Capacities

  • Curb Weight - 3498 pounds
  • EPA Passenger - 105.4 cubic feet
  • Fuel Capacity - 18.5 gallons
  • Head Room: Front - 40.8 inches
  • Head Room: Rear - 39.3 inches
  • Height - 65.8 inches
  • Leg Room: Front - 43.0 inches
  • Leg Room: Rear - 37.8 inches
  • Max Seating Capacity - 5
  • Minimum Ground Clearance - 8.7 inches
  • Overall Length - 188.2 inches
  • Shoulder Room: Front - 56.3 inches
  • Shoulder Room: Rear - 56.1 inches
  • Standard Seating Capacity - 5 passenger
  • Towing Capacity, Maximum - 2700 pounds
  • Trunk or Cargo Capacity - 71.3 cubic feet
  • Turning Diameter - 36.8 feet
  • Wheel Base - 107.9 inches
  • Cargo behind second seat - 34.3 cubic feet
  • Width without mirrors - 71.7 inches
  • Cargo with seat down - 71.3 cubic feet
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2012 Subaru Outback Safety

Crash Test Rating
Frontal Crash
Side Barrier
Rollover Rating
Side Crash
Provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2012 Subaru Outback Safety Technology
  • Child Door Locks
  • Child Seat Anchors
  • Driver Airbag
  • Passenger Airbag
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Front Head Curtain Airbag
  • Front Side Airbag
  • Rear Head Curtain Airbag


2012 Subaru Outback Rankings

170 HP
MPG Combined
22 MPG
Consumer Ratings
4.4 Rating
200 HP
2012 Subaru Outback
170 HP

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