2017 Subaru Outback

Change Year or Vehicle
$25,645–$38,195 MSRP range
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2017 Subaru Outback. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Attractive styling
  • Easy entry and exit
  • Backseat roominess
  • Visibility
  • Interior quality

The Bad

  • Lack of acceleration with four-cylinder engine
  • Seats not supportive
  • Roof rails mean car can be pitched around by heavy winds
  • CVT's lack of idle-creep leads to lurching starts
  • Car-seat Latch anchors sit too deep for easy access
  • Rear center seat belt not integrated with seat

Notable Features of the 2017 Subaru Outback

  • Five-seat all-wheel-drive wagon
  • Four- or six-cylinder engine
  • 8.7 inches of ground clearance
  • Camera-based EyeSight safety system available
  • Outback Touring is new top trim level
  • Reverse automatic braking available

2017 Subaru Outback Road Test

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 ap...

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.
Interior
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.
Safety
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.

email  

 


Latest 2017 Outback Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Attractive car with utility

by Subaru_Owner on July 16, 2018

This vehicle looks good and is generally comfortable with lots of safety features we appreciate. One point of feedback is that we wish the AC/heat circulation was better distributed through additional ... Read full review

(5.0)

Just bought this used. Nice.

by SusanS from Cambridge, MA on July 2, 2018

I just bought this car a few weeks ago, used. Got a good price from a non-Subaru dealer. so I am not sure about reliability. But with 13k miles, the car is sweet. I read a lot of reviews of the 2017 ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Subaru Outback currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
marginal

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Restraints and dummy kinematics
good
Small overlap front
good
Structure and safety cage
good
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

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.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Booster

(second row)

B

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

B

Rear-facing convertible

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

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