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  • Solid build, reliable, safe, easy to live with, heaps of room, very comfortable
  • Consistent Bluetooth issues; SatNav not the best; No rear parking sensors as standard

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report

Having spent more than four months with our Subaru Outback covering more than 5000km, it was time to give it back and with that, time to end our long-term road test.

Over the last four months we’ve come accustomed to the Outback’s versatility and durability. While technically the Outback is a high-riding version of the Liberty medium car, our experience with the car suggests it’s not so strange that it’s officially classified as a large SUV. It’s a spacious and roomy wagon.

It has performed the role of our family car well. It’s simple to drive and park, has enough grunt for carrying the family and its luggage around, and it sips a reasonable 9.2L/100km on average for mainly inner city suburban driving to and from the shops.

Our only consistent issue has been the Bluetooth connectivity, which works intermittently. It occasionally allows you to use the steering wheel telephone controls to pick up or hang up a call but the majority of the time you are forced to use the phone to manually perform the task (which is illegal when driving).

As for Bluetooth audio streaming, even though the car says it has the functionality, we’ve managed to get it to work just the once. It refuses to enable the functionality no matter how many times we’ve tried. It clearly has an issue with Apple’s latest version of iOS which runs the iPhone, iPad and iPod lines, which means it’s now up to Subaru to issue a software update (something that is not likely to happen anytime soon).

Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report

The 2013 models come with USB support so that will eliminate any need for having to mess around with Bluetooth audio streaming if you don’t want to.

Inside, the cabin makes a little too much use of hard plastics, which has resulted in some superficial surface scratches from bags and other items being put inside the car. It’s not a huge issue and overall the leather seats and the well-designed cabin has survived the onslaught of a baby and still looks new.

The big LCD screen certainly helps improve the cabin’s ambience. The satellite navigation system itself isn’t too bad once you get the hang of it but the Japanese insistence that you can’t program in a new destination when driving (even if the passenger is performing the task – with the seatbelt on) is infuriating. But this is the same case for any Japanese manufacturer so its not exactly a Subaru-only matter.

Just last week Subaru announced that it will launch an Outback diesel automatic, and no matter how we look at the petrol version, the diesel auto is certainly going to be the pick going forward.

Overall, here’s a more comprehensive summary of what we liked and what we’d like to see improve in the Subaru Outback:

  • A very spacious and roomy cabin with a practical design ideal for a family of four. If you don’t need seven seats and have big prams and a general tendency to frequent Ikea, it’s perfect.
  • Great refinement in build quality and minimal noise vibration and harshness inside.
  • Easy to drive with light but direct steering
  • Plenty of grunt to get you going without being a fuel guzzler.
  • Smart electronic park brake, freeing up room in the cabin and automatically disengaging when appropriate.
  • Ride and handles well for a car its size
  • AWD handy if you plan to hit a few dirt roads or country roads.
  • Good outward visibility and simple to park

Dislike

Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
  • Not exactly a looker
  • The infotainment and Bluetooth system lack finesse and a user-friendly interface
  • No USB port on models with satnav (added in 2013 models)
  • No rear parking sensors (but has a rear parking camera)

Next year we are swapping from the large SUV and wagons and going for a new style of car altogether. Check back in Feburary to see what our long term review will be.

Read: Subaru Outback Long Term Reports


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SUBARU OUTBACK BREAKDOWN

Subaru Outback Review: long-term final report
  • 7
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
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  • Jetset

    I recently had one of these as a work rental from Eurocar. I enjoyed the different feel and solid build quality. The CVT worked extremely well and the performance, while no rocket, was more than adequate. I think I may not have been used to the AWD or the wheelbase length but I found myself occasionally clipping the rear tyres as I went around corners like on roundabouts. Not a big issue just a slightly different driving style required.
    Fuel consumption was about average. Not brilliant but not bad.
    It felt refined and comfortable and I could easily live with it as a daily driver. Just seems a little on the expensive side if it was your cash that had to pay.

  • Boom_Tish

    I say it once, I say it again. It’s the equivalent to a white good. A 4WD appliance with no flair or substance. Previous generations were much nicer cars. I would not touch any Subaru now.

    • Autolove

      You don’t seem to get it. Whitegood cars are what most people want to buy.
      It’s why Toyota is the world’s number one auto manufacturer.
      I understand clearly that it’s not what you want in a car but to say previous generations were nicer is merely a minority opinion.

      • Vantage

          I had a ’98 outback and it was a brilliant car.

          I agree with Boom_Tish they have gone backwards. The current styling of the liberty range is awful.

    • James Cortez

      Hey F150 can be considered as white goods, they are everywhere and no 1 pick up in the country.

  • Golfmother

    DISLIKES no rear sensors , not an issue as it has a camera , rather
    a camera any day, so much better , hey robin how about RVC on yesterdays falcon G6E , not likely yesterdays tech . .

    • Poison_Eagle

       G6E has had both since 2008. Idiot. Can’t help yourself dragging Falcon into it and then you get schooled yet again. This topic is about a Subaru, did you notice that ? :)
      On topic I like the Liberty 3.6X, it cleverly combines the high driving position of the Outback with the sedan body style. Great concept.

    • Karl Sass

      “(Edited by a moderator)” lol

  • Gibwater

    These have have shocking styling.Remember the svelte looking predessessers? Sube…..what have you done/

    • Autolove

      Nothin wrong with the looks IMHO….

      • Noddy_of_Toyland

        It’s all relative I guess. Relative to whether or not you have sight/taste.

      • Tim

        You’re in an extremely small minority.

        • Autolove

           We will see what the market says……

          • Bob222

            The market has already spoken and these sell in a fair degree smaller numbers than the previous generation.

  • Martin

    Love the concept of these AWD wagons, just would prefer if Subaru finally cleaned up and refined the design language

  • Not Happy

    I have a 2010 2.5l petrol outback which I purchased new. It’s very comfortable & apart from some hard plastics, the cabin is a nice place to be. It is a 6 speed manual and is quite economical for an AWD.
    That’s the positive side. Let me say now that this is the worst car that I have ever owned. This is because of the following.
    . The engine has absolutely no torque
    . The gear change is terrible and makes my old 1973 4speed Torana feel smooth in comparison
    . There is a rattle (I think the exhaust ) when the car is started, but the dealer cannot find or repair
    . After approx 2000 km, there was a vibration & unusual sound which turned out to be a missing bolt in the driveline
    . The high beam is woeful for a modern car
    . It is extremely easy to flatten the battery as the headlights and interior lights do not have an automatic cut-off. This is a feature that the Commodore had over 10. Years ago.
    . The volume control

  • Not Happy

    Type your comment here….continuing on….
    . The volume control on the steering wheel only works when it feels
    like it……even though it has been replaced.
    . It has the optional iPod connection is such an after thought that it is extremely hard to use
    .

  • Bugly

    Have a premium diesel 2010 model, have had a blown turbo, and constant issues with particulate filter/engine warning lights.  Great car when it works … but I suspect that the diesel engine has design problems based on incidence of engine problems posted on the net

  • mr p

    you list the electronic parking brake as a plus – this feature has been a common reliability issue for subaru – until they sort out the reliability of it and cease leaving drivers and vehicles stranded, i consider it a negative attribute.

Subaru Outback Specs

2.5i PREMIUM (SAT-NAV) : 2.5L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP MANUAL - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
SUBARU
Model
OUTBACK
Variant
2.5i PREMIUM (SAT-NAV)
Series
MY11
Year
2012
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
229Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
123kW @  5600rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
81.7W/kg
Bore & Stroke
99.5x79mm
Compression Ratio
10.0
Valve Gear
SINGLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.44
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
65
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1505
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1615mm
Length
4790mm
Width
1820mm
Ground Clearance
213mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:735
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
7x17
Rear Rim Size
7x17
Front Tyres
225/60 R17
Rear Tyres
225/60 R17
Wheel Base
2745
Front Track
1535
Rear Track
1530
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seat Driver, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Reversing Camera
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Roof Racks, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  12.5,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-I-15
Country of Origin
JAPAN