2017 Subaru Outback

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

189.6” x 66.1”


All-wheel drive



The good:

  • Refinement of optional six-cylinder
  • Adaptive cruise control smoothness
  • Easy entry and exit
  • Visibility
  • Interior quality
  • Maneuverability
  • Cargo room

The bad:

  • Weak acceleration with four-cylinder engine
  • Seats not supportive
  • Child seat Latch anchors sit too deep for easy access
  • Uncomfortable middle belt in backseat
  • Limited front passenger seat adjustability
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

6 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2017 Subaru Outback trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • Five-seat, all-wheel-drive SUV
  • Four- or six-cylinder engine
  • 8.7 inches of ground clearance
  • Forward collision warning with braking
  • New top Touring trim level
  • Reverse automatic braking available
See also: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2017 Subaru Outback?

2017 Subaru Outback review: Our expert's take

By Joe Bruzek

The verdict: Whether you consider the 2017 Subaru Outback a wagon or a crossover SUV, it’s a home run for families and well-rounded enough to appeal to a large crowd.

Versus the competition: Though the Outback doesn’t have the sheer capabilities and size of a traditional midsize SUV, there’s enough SUV flavor there to satisfy more than just loyal Subaru owners.

For 2017, the Subaru Outback adds a new Touring trim level that gives an extra bit of luxuriousness to the top of the four-cylinder (2.5i) and six-cylinder (3.6R) trim ranges. Outback trims now include the base 2.5i trim, plus 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring. Compare the 2016 Outback with the 2017 here. Otherwise, this is the same great Outback that was redesigned for 2015, transforming the formerly quirky and polarizing wagon into a more mainstream vehicle with good looks, a nice driving experience and a loaded suite of safety features.

For this review, I drove a 3.6R Limited, which we tested alongside a crop of two-row SUVs for Cars.com’s $45,000 Midsize SUV Challenge, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Kia Sorento and Ford Edge.
Exterior & Styling
The Subaru Outback’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance is more than many midsize SUVs and contributes to the Outback looking like a wagon with a lifted suspension, which isn’t a bad look. For 2015, the Outback streamlined its formerly awkward, polarizing appearance. Little has changed for 2017 except for the new Touring trim, which adds a dark gray grille, 18-inch wheels with dark gray accents, and silver-painted roof rails.
How It Drives
The optional 3.6-liter flat-6 cylinder is an interesting engine choice. On one hand, the six is smoother and quieter than the four-cylinder. On the other hand, its 256 horsepower isn’t managed very well by the continuously variable automatic transmission. You really have to be dedicated with the accelerator pedal to reap the benefits of the six’s extra 81 hp. Acceleration is sluggish at lower engine speeds, and power doesn’t come on strong until roughly 5,000 rpm. The 3.6-liter really starts cookin’ at high engine speeds, where the Outback starts to cover ground quickly.

The CVT is clearly an efficiency choice; its conservative tuning keeps engine speed low and fuel economy high. In our fuel economy test of five SUVs, the Subaru Outback came in second only to the front-wheel-drive Ford Edge and its turbocharged four-cylinder. All Outbacks are all-wheel drive, which typically sucks more fuel than front-wheel drive, and the one we tested was a six-cylinder, as well.

Towing capacity for both engines is 2,700 pounds, which puts it in a competitive spot for compact and some midsize SUVs. If you need to tow more, there are beefier towing machines out there. The Edge and Santa Fe Sport can tow as much as 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, and the V-6 Jeep Grand Cherokee can tow up to 6,200 pounds.

The Subaru Outback’s ride has a medium firmness that doesn’t float over roads but was still wholly comfortable and livable on the rough roads of Chicago. Maneuverability is more akin to a sedan than an SUV, with a tight turning radius and nimble nature around town. I observed not-too-subtle tire noise at highway speeds, but overall wind noise was in check. The Outback is inoffensive and pleasant to drive around town.
The Outback’s high ground clearance oddly doesn’t harm accessibility; it’s easy enough to get into the front and backseat. The front seating position is taller than a typical sedan’s, but you don’t get the high-off-the-ground feeling of an SUV, like in a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Edge. Outward visibility is, however, exceptional, with small pillars, tall glass and nearly unobstructed views from the driver’s seat. Just having a great view of the road goes a long way toward making the Outback comfortable to drive.

Seating comfort is about average, with medium-firmness cushioning and limited adjustability. The front passenger seat doesn’t have height adjustment, and there’s no ventilated seating, like competitors offer. Backseat comfort also comes up short, with a large center floor hump that takes up legroom and a low bottom cushion angled flat enough that my thighs didn’t rest comfortably on it (I’m 6 feet tall).

The Outback’s interior quality can go toe to toe with any midsize SUV except the Murano, which is in a class above its competitors. The Subaru Outback’s interior has a classy, understated design. I wouldn’t call it luxurious, but it has higher-end qualities without being flashy. The matte imitation wood trim contrasted well with the light leather and silver trim on our test car.

Less classy was the steering wheel, which was overcrowded with buttons for the Outback’s optional adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, plus sound controls, voice commands, trip information, and mute and back buttons. Touring trims add a heated steering wheel button.
Ergonomics & Electronics
Subaru won’t debut Apple CarPlay and Android Auto until later this year, on the redesigned 2017 Subaru Impreza, so the Outback doesn’t have that desirable smartphone integration at the moment. That’s too bad, because the rest of the multimedia system is well-done, with pinch-zoom functionality for navigation and mechanical dials for volume and tuning. The “capacitive” touch-sensitive buttons are reasonably easy to use for what they are.

Our test car had an optional 7-inch touch-screen with two USB ports and a navigation system, including three years of map updates and traffic information. Neither of those USB ports is in the back, however, and there are no power outlets back there, either, so kids with devices are out of luck when it’s time to juice up the tablet. This is a notable omission considering how many competing SUVs offer either USB charge ports or household AC power outlets in the backseat, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee (rear USB and AC outlet), Nissan Murano (rear USB outlet), Kia Sorento (rear USB and AC outlet) and Ford Edge (rear AC outlet).

A 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo is included on the Limited trim, but it’s nothing to write home about. Luckily you don’t have to pay extra for it; if you did I’d strongly advise against it. Sound quality when playing high-quality music sources was dull and lifeless despite the number of speakers and the system’s 576 watts.
Cargo & Storage
The Outback’s cargo space compares favorably to a typical midsize SUV like the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or Ford Edge. The cargo opening is wide and tall, and there’s plenty of room behind the backseat: 35.5 cubic feet. There’s 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the backseat folded, though the wheel wells seem to intrude more than in other SUVs, narrowing the cargo space. The Limited trim I tested included a power liftgate with adjustable height, a feature that’s common in SUVs but not found in many non-luxury wagons.
The new Subaru Outback has nearly flawless crashworthiness ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks it a Top Safety Pick Plus — its highest accolade — and the Outback’s optional forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking earned the highest rating in IIHS’ precollision system testing. See the Outback’s IIHS results, as well as those for the entire midsize car class (that’s where IIHS classifies the Outback).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Outback five out of five stars in its overall crash ratings, and four out of five stars in rollover ratings (see the results).

The Subaru Outback’s available pre-collision system with automatic braking, EyeSight, comes in an option package on Limited trims, along with navigation, for $1,595. The package also includes adaptive cruise control plus lane departure warning and assist. EyeSight works by using two cameras mounted high on the windshield to monitor vehicles, pedestrians, obstacles and traffic lanes ahead of the vehicle; it can even detect brake lights. EyeSight can brake to a stop autonomously if a potential collision is detected, so long as the speed differential between the Outback and the other vehicle or object is less than 30 mph. Also included with EyeSight is reverse automatic braking that can detect a collision when reversing and apply the brakes. See a list of standard safety features here.

Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on Limited models, giving the Outback a comprehensive suite of safety features. The active systems work well, alerting the driver to obstacles without too many false or annoying alarms. The adaptive cruise control performs exceptionally well given it relies on cameras, not radar, with smooth acceleration and braking. While the naming is the same on other Subarus, performance isn’t and EyeSight on the 2016 Subaru Impreza didn’t perform nearly as smoothly as on the Outback in our testing. Few adaptive cruise control systems outside the luxury segment work as seamlessly as the Outback’s.
Value in Its Class
The Subaru Outback Limited pegs the value-meter when you consider its safety features, fuel economy and cargo room at our as-tested price of $37,465 with the 3.6-liter six-cylinder and EyeSight. In Cars.com’s $45,000 Midsize SUV Challenge, the Outback was a competitive body type and came in $3,000 less than the next cheapest competitor.

What do you lose? You’ll miss out on a few creature comforts and a bigger backseat. If you can live with that, the Outback can do just about everything else a traditional midsize SUV can — for a steal.



Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.8
  • Interior 4.7
  • Performance 4.7
  • Value 4.7
  • Exterior 4.7
  • Reliability 4.8

Most recent consumer reviews


Disappointing car with issues from start

Got this car new, deluxe version, 3.6i, and a problem from beginning. Am a woman in my 60s, drive locally, only 32k miles on 2017 car, 7 yrs old! Started with battery completely draining 4 times with nothing “on”… replaced battery 3 times. Class action lawsuit on battery now too. Then about a year ago, the navigation system completely failed…l no cruise control or any of the other expensive features worked. Lots of issues with this too, expecting recall, but in mean time, after 4 trips to dealer, they replaced whole navigation system. It’s definitely a design flaw. Lastly, one of the main reason I got the car was to lock it, go hiking or surfing, and not worry about the key/fob. Well, they do have a system, buts it’s not easy or obvious. Even dealer folks couldn’t get it to work. You have to disengage the lock on inside, then punch in a 6 digit code in back of car by license plate. Technically, you set the code to 999999, and punch in 9x6 or 54 pushes! And if you make a mistake, you only get 3 chances! HORRIBLE DESIGN. IT IS NOT A KEYPAD BUT SHOULD BE.


Functional, cute, & saved me from a bad crash!

I went from owning a 2003 Monte Carlo SS to a 2017 Subaru Outback. It was worth every penny. My Subaru is not only reliable, functional, and cute; it also saved me from being injured in a bad crash. This past fall a six point buck hit my car head on and I never saw it coming. It was a fatal crash for the deer, but not for me. As heartbroken as I was to see my car crumpled on the front, I was so glad it wasn't me. It was a repairable fix and made me really appreciate my car.


Outback is a car for family or the sport enthusias

This is my 3rd Subaru Outback. I have found the Outbacck to be a very reliable, comfortable and excellent all-wheel-drive vehicle. I love that even with the updated Subaru makes every few years, when I purchase a new one I have very little I have to learn to drive the newer version. However, it is always good to have the dealer go over the various updates and idiosyncrasies of your new or used Subaru Outback. I have been driving an Outbac since 1990's, and always seem to go back to this same brand and model because it is so safe in North Carolina's winter months when we get icy roads and sometimes snow. I have even tried to spin out my Subaru Outback on ice covered snow, just toseewhatwould happen. The car skidded to the side of the road but didn't sin out. And yes, I did this in a very safe environment where I had lots of empty space and room. I'm not totally crazy. The Subaru outback is a perfect car for individuals that doa variety of sports, for families looking for a safe and roomy car for up to 3 children. It easily sits 5 comfortable lying, and has child locks on the doors. The All-wheel-drive is the best other road. I also love the daylights that stay on all the time, and don't effect the battery running down as Logan you drive it regularly. My 2017 pairs well with my Samsung phone, as it would with any Android or I-phone. Ithaca plenty of additional electric outlets for listening to your MVP player or for your children playing games on their cell phones or tablets. The cargo area, whichI love, it bigger than that on a Forester, although Iusually put the backseat down sour dog s can move around while we drive. They have been trained Nottoway come into the frontseat area, unless invited at the beginning of a ride. You can also use a dog seat belt or a baby or dog seat installs easily in the Outback. And your can easily reach into a baby seat of dog seat to check on your human or pet baby, if it is placed on the opposite side inches backseat from where you are seated.in newer models of the Outback they have added extra storage compartments for electronics or other small to medium size objects that you may need handy. I also like that their is no ashtray, though one can be requested being put in. Their are plenty of cup holder both in the frontseat area and back seat area. An Ihave haul lumber an long items on top ofthe vehicle on the storage rack, and bought home a considerable load of plants and soil with the back seat folded down. The protective Tay and backend storage net came standard with my 2017 Subaru Outback, unlike many more expensive stationwagons or SUVs. The rear net is great for holding a small amount of grocery bags in place or several trays of plants. My 1917 Subaru Outback has airbags front and on the sides. The dashboard elements are easy ro read, and setting up the cruise control and distance from cars is easy to do. I sometimes frustrates me, but the 2017 Outback is set to slow down automatically if you are behind an vehicle. This can be a pain when you are wanting to past another car, but I've learned through habit to exceleratemanually when passing, so it is not a big deal, and the slow down feature is great when traveling it tracific, such as in big cities like Charlotte or Raleigh. Lastly I love my leather seats. They looks good today in 2022 as they did when I first purchase this car is December 2017. With regular washings, and dusting and or leather treating the interior the leather will last beautifully until the car has well over 250,000 miles on it. And that is both on road and off road driving. I've taken my Outback on some pretty rough roads, like Old 105going from Lake James area Linville using very old forestry back roads. My car takes these dirt, bumpy roads like a dream, with room to spare underneath.

See all 369 consumer reviews


Based on the 2017 Subaru Outback base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
Combined side rating rear seat
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
Overall rating
Overall side crash rating
Risk of rollover
Rollover rating
Side barrier rating
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
Side pole rating driver front seat


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Subaru
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years/80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Coverage available for purchase
7 years/100,000
Dealer certification required
152-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

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