2014 Subaru Outback

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$12,780–$23,728 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2014 Subaru Outback. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Spacious second row
  • All-weather performance
  • Cargo room
  • Affordable price
  • Step-in height despite high ground clearance

The Bad

  • Inconsistent cabin-materials quality
  • Standard backup camera screen is too small
  • Wimpy seat heat
  • Center rear shoulder belt extends from ceiling

Notable Features of the 2014 Subaru Outback

  • Standard AWD
  • Four- or six-cylinder engine
  • Revised suspension for flatter cornering
  • Available backup camera

2014 Subaru Outback Road Test

Kristin Varela

Where many manufacturers have wavered with the coming and going of wagons in and out of their lineups, Subaru has stood firm with its iconic all-wheel-drive wagon, the Outback.

The 2014 Subaru Outback may not woo you with the most innovative features or dazzling luxury finishes, but this tried-and-true wagon will carry you and your family dutifully through any condition you can throw at it.

The Subaru Outback is not just another test car for me; it's a trip down memory lane. I used to own an Outback and brought both my daughters home from the hospital in it. I had chosen the Outback for its safe feel, low center of gravity and ability to handle mixed Rocky Mountain weather conditions without batting an eye, but its massive hump in the center of the backseat back then made it impossible to install a third child-safety seat, which locked me out of carpooling when my girls started school. This frustration birthed my career quest for the quintessential mom-mobile a decade ago.

I'm happy to announce that in the past ten years, I've eliminated all chunky, ribbed turtleneck sweaters from my wardrobe, and Subaru has done away with the massive center hump in the backseat. Win-win.

The 2014 Outback comes in four styles, including the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and a 3.6R Limited (which is the one I drove). See them all side by side here.

The Subaru Outback has some updates for the 2014 model year, including a revised continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), o...

Where many manufacturers have wavered with the coming and going of wagons in and out of their lineups, Subaru has stood firm with its iconic all-wheel-drive wagon, the Outback.

The 2014 Subaru Outback may not woo you with the most innovative features or dazzling luxury finishes, but this tried-and-true wagon will carry you and your family dutifully through any condition you can throw at it.

The Subaru Outback is not just another test car for me; it's a trip down memory lane. I used to own an Outback and brought both my daughters home from the hospital in it. I had chosen the Outback for its safe feel, low center of gravity and ability to handle mixed Rocky Mountain weather conditions without batting an eye, but its massive hump in the center of the backseat back then made it impossible to install a third child-safety seat, which locked me out of carpooling when my girls started school. This frustration birthed my career quest for the quintessential mom-mobile a decade ago.

I'm happy to announce that in the past ten years, I've eliminated all chunky, ribbed turtleneck sweaters from my wardrobe, and Subaru has done away with the massive center hump in the backseat. Win-win.

The 2014 Outback comes in four styles, including the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and a 3.6R Limited (which is the one I drove). See them all side by side here.

The Subaru Outback has some updates for the 2014 model year, including a revised continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), options for Premium and Limited models that include EyeSight driver assistance technology, an optional backup camera, and Aha internet radio smartphone integration packaged with the optional navigation system. There's an optional alloy wheel package on the 2.5i model. Check out 2014 and 2013 versions side by side here.

If you're in the market for a solid family-hauling wagon but Subaru just doesn't fit the bill for you, you may also want to consider the Honda Crosstour and Toyota Venza. See them compared with the Outback here.

Exterior & Styling
The 2014 Outback fit right in here in Colorado. You see them in the city, freshly waxed and reflecting the skyline; in the burbs, carrying a load of school kids; and in the mountains, caked with ice and snow. It presents a nice mix of functional SUV qualities (8.7 inches of ground clearance and a large and usable cargo space) with a fairly refined carlike look that you wouldn't be embarrassed to park with a valet.

Despite its SUV body-type and ground clearance, somehow the Outback still provides a manageable step-in height, making it easy for kids and grandparents alike to step in without having to engage their rock-climbing skills. However, the low car-like roofline does require a slight duck to get in without hitting your head.

How It Drives
The Outback 3.6R Limited I drove features a five-speed automatic transmission along with the standard all-wheel drive. I had plenty of power both around town and getting up to speed quickly on the highway.

I was a little surprised by the bounciness of the Outback over even small bumps on the highway; rather than damping them out immediately, the Outback exhibited a noticeable recovery bounce.

Cornering in the Outback — whether at speed on highway off-ramps or on the slow, twisty roads on the way to my girls' school — felt confident and solidly planted. I was happy to see that the main thing that attracted me to the Outback for my own family so many years ago has most certainty endured.

The Outback 3.6R Limited sports a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that gets an EPA-estimated 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined. For a vast improvement in fuel consumption — though at the cost of acceleration — you can opt into any of the 2.5i models with their 173-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT. These models get an EPA-estimated 24/30/26 mpg city/highway/combined. A six-speed manual-shift transmission, available on base and Premium trim levels, gets an estimated 22/29/24 mpg.

Interior
My family and I were pleasantly surprised by how spacious and roomy the Outback felt, even with all five of us packed in. My girls (a modern mix including my 9-year-old stepdaughter along with my "babies," who are now 11 and 13), had plenty of backseat legroom (37.8 inches). This is a tad more than the Honda Crosstour's 37.4 inches of rear legroom, but if you really want to stretch out, the Venza has the most legroom, with 39.1 inches. The Venza also wins in terms of hip room for those who regularly pack three kids in or need to squeeze in multiple child-safety seats.

The rear seat's bottom cushion is virtually flat, making the center seat quite a usable position for a child or car seat. However, the center rear seat belt extends down from the roofline and tends to cut high and uncomfortably across a child's neck, not to mention the slight rear visibility distraction this causes. Why not just install the seat belt into the seatback, Subaru?

Kids in the back can stay comfortably cool or warm with their own air vents at the back of the center console. The center armrest in the backseat folds down to provide two cupholders, and both the front and rear doors have additional storage pockets.

The interior of my Subaru Outback was equipped with the standard finishes, which looked and felt a little cheap for my taste. I noticed some scratches already appearing on the faux brushed-aluminum trim pieces adorning the center control panel. An optional Special Appearance Package is available for the more discriminating consumer and includes saddle brown leather-trimmed seats (which would hopefully hide more dirt, as the black on my test car seemed to illuminate every speck) and a matte wood-grain-patterned interior trim finish.

Ergonomics & Electronics
My test car did not come with the optional navigation system and its corresponding 7-inch touch-screen display. The standard 4.3-inch screen in my tester seemed antiquated. It was hard to navigate through menus, and the backup camera's tiny image on this screen felt like a mean joke. Is that a child behind my neighbor's garden gnome?

While both the front seats were heated in my test car (standard on all but the base trim), the amount of heat they produced was on the wimpy side. My husband commented that if he'd purchased this car, he'd return it solely for the fact that the seats didn't get hot enough to actually warm his backside. That might be a bit of an overreaction, but you get the idea.

Cargo & Storage
There's a load of cargo space in the Outback that's perfect for families who evolve from hauling double strollers to hockey gear or massive dance competition rolling garment bags with pop-up closet racks. (Yep — they exist. Save me!)

The rear seats split 65/35 and fold flat easily for a maximum cargo volume of 71.3 cubic feet. The Outback is the winner of the bunch, with the Venza just behind at 70.2 cubic feet and the Crosstour offering just 51.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity.

Safety
The 2014 
Subaru Outback is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus — the organization's highest honor. It received the highest rating of good in the moderate overlap frontal crash test, as well as the side, roof-strength and head-restraints-and-seats tests. It received a slightly lower rating of acceptable in the small overlap front test, but only two models in the Midsize Moderately Priced Cars category, the Honda Accord sedan and Chevy Malibu, earned the good rating in this test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also performed crash tests on the Outback, which earned an overall score of five out of five stars.

Families installing child-safety seats with the Outback's Latch system will be pleased with access to the lower anchors. They're concealed within covered slits in the seat bight, yet are fairly easy to access without incurring bodily injury. Older children in booster seats will be happy with the seat belt buckles in the two outboard seating positions. They're on solid bases, making them easy for children with small hands and developing fine motor skills to buckle on their own.

The center seating position is a different story. There's that shoulder belt extending down from the roofline, and the center seat belt buckle receptor is on a flimsy base that's harder to buckle. The optional EyeSight system was not included on my test car, so I didn't have an opportunity to try it out myself, but that option package includes additional safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection. IIHS rates these features superior, making the Outback and Subaru Legacy the only models in the class rated so highly in this area. We only wish these active-safety features weren't tied to non-safety features in expensive option packages. Safety features should be a la carte.

See all the Subaru Outback's standard safety features listed here.

Value in Its Class
The Subaru Outback is one of those vehicles that will continue to have a loyal cult following, especially as each version improves a little bit. Sure, when you boil it down it might be falling behind other progressive brands in terms of the speed of evolution of interior niceties and modern electronic conveniences, but the Outback remains the strong, silent type that will get you where you're going come rain, snow or sun — without the brash and overly brute, aggressive qualities of a typical SUV.

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Latest 2014 Outback Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

My dream car!

by FRGPPL from Rugby,ND on June 27, 2018

Has all the features I wanted. Was hoping for more ease entering and exiting the vehicle,but for most people it would be just right. I?m just getting OLD! Good visibility. Smooth riding and running Read full review

(1.0)

New car breaks down, wanted to love it

by AMinIrvine from Irvine, CA on June 21, 2018

This dealership sold me a brand new Subaru Outback, that immediately had problems with alignment. It took more than 2 trips to their dealer to argue and get it sorted. Within a few months one of the ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2014 Subaru Outback currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2014 Subaru Outback has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Subaru

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance and Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    Powertrain: 7 years/100,000 miles from original date of first use. Roadside assistance: 1 year from date of purchase
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 85,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 152 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Outback received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker