Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid – Is It Worth Considering?

Are you planning on purchasing a used Subaru Outback and you are looking for the Subaru Outback years to avoid? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to explain everything you need to know when it comes to getting one of these models.

Performing thorough research is probably one of the best things that you can do as a car owner. As you are probably aware, the market is filled with a plethora of cars. There are different makes and also different models. And on top of that, there are different generations of the same model. Some cars even have up to six generations like in the case of the Outback.

And each of these models carries some problems. Some of them are less while some of them are more. And it is up to you to investigate deeper and find out which of these models is more prone to problems than others. By choosing the right model with the least problems, you could save thousands of dollars during your ownership of the car. And this is why we are going to help you out.

First, we are going to learn more about the Outback and understand what this model is all about. Then we will cover the last four generations of this model. We will briefly go through their specs and then cover the problems, reliability, best years, and the Subaru Outback years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

What Is The Subaru Outback

Now before we dive into more complex topics like the Subaru Outback years to avoid and its common problems. Let’s learn more about the Outback in general and what this model is all about. So, if you are not yet familiarized with the Outback, this is the information you really need.

Nevertheless, the Outback is a model produced by Subaru since 1994. Subaru saw that there is a big market for the station wagon version of the Subaru Legacy and decided to market this version of the car as a separate model. And that’s how the Outback model was created.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

But the Outback was not only the station wagon of the Legacy. The Outback was a model that was off-road oriented. This means that on the Outback you have a beefier suspension and also this model is lifted more significantly than the standard Legacy, allowing greater ground clearance in the process.

What is worth noting is that even though the Outback was introduced in 1994, more substantial mechanical changes that improved the suspension came for the 1996 model. So, this is the model that you really want if you are an OG Subaru guy.

This is how legends are born. It takes a lot of years and different generations of a car to create a strong legacy on the market. And that’s what the Outback did. It has six total generations as of 2022. And in the following chapters, we are going to discuss the last four of these generations and learn more about them. As well as the Subaru Outback years to avoid. So, you don’t want to miss that.

Subaru Outback Generations

Now let’s discuss the generations of the Outback. As we mentioned previously, there are six generations in total. But in order to simplify things, we are going to cover the four most recent generations since these cars are readily available on the second-hand market.

First, we are going to learn some basic specs about each of these four generations. Then cover the common problems, reliability, best years, and the Subaru Outback years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Third Generation Subaru Outback (2004 – 2009)

The third generation of the Outback debuted in 2003 and 2004 was the first model year of this new generation. This model was built until 2009 when it was replaced with the fourth generation that we will discuss later on.

As you probably know, this model was based on the Subaru Legacy and shares a lot with this model. Except for the suspension that was beefed up a little bit and the ground clearance increased to 7.3 inches. What is interesting is that this generation also has a sedan version from 2005 to 2007.

The wheelbase of this model is 105.1 inches and it has an overall length of 188.7 inches for the wagon and 186.2 inches for the sedan. But what are the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

The base engine of this model is the 2.5L H4 engine that produced 165hp and 166lb-ft of torque. There was also a 3.0L H6 engine that produced 242hp and 219lb-ft of torque. There was also a 2.5L turbo that produced 250hp and 243lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there were a few. Two automatics, a 4-speed and a 5-speed. As well as a 5-speed manual.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy for the 2.5L was good, it got 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Safety

In terms of safety, the Outback was a really good performer. The 2005 model was tested by IIHS and got Good scores on most of their tests. And got the Top Safety Pick award for 2006.

Subaru Outback Problems

When it comes to Outback problems, it is worth mentioning that this model had a lot of them. Namely, the engine was the weakest point of this vehicle. No matter if you got the 2.5L or 3.0L. Both of them are really susceptible to the following problems.

Namely, the first problem is the oil leaks that often come from every gasket possible on the engine. The second common problem is coolant consumption because of a bad head gasket. This gasket also allows oil to mix with coolant and create sludge.

Then consequently engine overheating is an issue in these situations. And eventually, the engine starts to knock and it becomes a big metal scrap. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Subaru Outback Reliability

The reliability of this model when it comes to the engine is quite poor. These engines have problems and you cannot expect them to last like an inline engine on other vehicles.

Best Subaru Outback Year

The best year of this generation is definitely 2009. Go for the most recent model possible and also the model with the least miles because the more miles this engine has, the bigger the chance to fail and you end up paying thousands to replace it. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that next.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

When it comes to the years to avoid, we would definitely recommend avoiding 2008 since it has the most reports on blown head gaskets and other problems concerning the engine. Now let’s move on to the next generation.

Fourth Generation Subaru Outback (2010 – 2014)

The fourth generation of the Outback debuted in 2009 at the New York Auto Show and 2010 was the first production year of this model. The model was in production until 2014 when it was replaced with the next generation.

This model was based on the fifth generation of the Legacy and this meant that the model will grow in size. This new generation became a proper crossover SUV. A wheelbase of 107.9 inches allowed more leg room in the rear and an overall length of 189 inches allowed more space for cargo. The curb weight of this model is 3,658lbs. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, there were a few of them. A 2.5L H4 engine that produced about 170hp and 174lb-ft of torque. A 2.5L H4 turbo that produced 265hp and 258lb-ft of torque. And a 3.6L H6 engine that produced 256hp and 247lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there was an improvement. The new model included a CVT automatic, a 5-speed automatic, and a 6-speed manual. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy for the base 2.5L was 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. For the 3.6L the fuel economy was 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.

Safety

This model of the Outback performed well on the IIHS testing. And the 2010 model got Good scores on most of their tests and was also awarded the Top Safety Pick award. The Outback also has higher ground clearance which to some extent is an advantage when compared to the standard Legacy. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Subaru Outback Problems

The problems with head gasket issues, oil consumption, oil leaks, overheating, and rod knock continue to appear on this generation of the Outback. So, beware of the engine and the mileage. Stay away from high mileage engines.

Another problem that this model has been concerned with is the torque converter on the 2010 model. It locks up under braking and causes problems. Owners reportedly fixed it by replacing the torque converter.

The automatic transmission also loves to fail on this generation of the Outback and a rebuild is essential to be brought to normal.

The light bulbs tend to burn out quite frequently on these early models of this generation. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Subaru Outback Reliability

From a reliability standpoint, this model is slightly worse than its predecessor. The problems with the engines continue, while there are new problems concerning the transmission. So, be really aware of them.

Best Subaru Outback Year

Of all the aforementioned production years, 2012 has the least complaints. So, we would definitely recommend this model year.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Subaru Outback years to avoid, we would say to avoid 2011, 2013, and 2014, these model years have the most reports on carcomplaints.com. Now let’s move to the next generation.

Fifth Generation Subaru Outback (2014 – 2020)

The fifth generation of the Outback was the new take by Subaru to improve this model and bring the newest features and technology. This new generation debuted in 2014 and 2015 was the first production year. The model stayed in production until 2020 when it was replaced with the sixth generation.

Similar to its predecessor, this model also included AWD and very useful off-road features that no other station wagon offers. So, if you are on the market for an off-road capable station wagon, this might be the car you are looking for since you can find these with really low miles on the second-hand market and enjoy them without worrying about oil leaks and blown head gaskets. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, there are two engines available. The 2.5L H4 FB25 that is producing 173hp and 174lb-ft of torque. And a 3.6L H6 EZ36 that is producing 256hp and 247lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there is only one. And that is the Lineartronic CVT transmission. In Canada, there was a 6-speed manual with certain packages.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy with the 2.5L is really good. It gets 25 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg overall. The 3.6L gets 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Safety

In terms of safety, this model performed really well. The 2015 model was tested by the IIHS and got a Top Safety Pick+ award. The model that was tested was the standard Legacy and it got Good scores on most of their tests.

Subaru Outback Problems

When it comes to the problems that this generation has, the engine issues are basically the same as in every other previous generation, with oil consumption being the worst problem.

Other problems with this generation include electrical problems. Many of these 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 models suffer from a parasitic loss that kills the battery rather quickly.

Also, on the 2015 model, the windshield is really prone to cracking. Problems with the radio and other accessories were also quite common. In general, minor things that will annoy you. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Subaru Outback Reliability

In terms of reliability, this model is reliable as same other Outback before, let’s say average. It has problems with the engine, also quite a lot of electrical problems as well. Luckily, it doesn’t have transmission issues.

Best Subaru Outback Year

The best model year is 2019. This model year has the least complaints among all production years of this generation.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Subaru Outback years to avoid, we would definitely recommend avoiding the 2015 model year. Mainly because it is the first production year and these are rather prone to defects compared to other production years of the same model.

Sixth Generation Subaru Outback (2020 – Present)

The sixth generation of the Outback debuted in 2019 and 2020 was the first production year of this fresh model. This model understandably is still in production as of 2022.

This new model was based on the seventh generation of the Subaru Legacy and has some really cool features. One of the most interesting things to mention is the new “Wilderness” trim level. This new trim level is perfect for off-roaders.

The new generation also implements a giant screen in the middle and follows the modern trends in the car world. Another thing worth mentioning is the longer wheelbase of 108.1 inches and an overall length of 191.3 inches. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, this new model comes powered by the 2.5L FB25 H4 naturally aspirated engine. This boxer engine develops 182hp and 176lb-ft of torque. There is also another engine that you can get as an option. This is the 2.4L H4 turbo. This engine produces 260hp and 277lb-ft of torque.

The transmission used on these two engines is the CVT automatic. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy is rather good with the 2.5L. This engine gets 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The turbo engine gets only 26 mpg combined.

Safety

The new Outback also performs well in terms of safety. The 2019 model got the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Subaru Outback Problems

For this model, there are no reports considering the engine and issues like oil consumption, coolant consumption, and blown head gaskets. So, maybe they finally sorted out the problems with these vehicles.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

Other problems include windshields prone to cracking. This problem occurs often in these models.

The issue with the dead battery is still present on this model as well. Many other electrical problems, as with the past model. Also, some owners reported heavy steering. For more, you can check on carcomplaints.com.

Subaru Outback Reliability

When it comes to the overall reliability, we can give this model a good grade. Mainly because it is still new and the engines are quite fresh and not worn out. So, having problems with the engine is not very common as with older ones. But what about the Subaru Outback years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Best Subaru Outback Year

When it comes to the best year of the Subaru Outback, we would recommend going for a 2020 model or newer. Newer models perform better than the first model of each generation.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Subaru Outback years to avoid from this generation, we would recommend avoiding the 2019 model. This model is the first in this generation and a lot more prone to issues than newer ones.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to the Subaru Outback. First, we introduced ourselves to the model and learned that this is the off-road station wagon that Subaru is offering.

Then we covered the last four generations of the Outback. We covered some of the most interesting specs, including engines and transmissions, fuel economy, and safety. Then, we discussed the problems that these vehicles have, also the reliability aspect, the best years, and the Subaru Outback years to avoid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Where Does Subaru Come From

Subaru is a car manufacturer that comes from Japan. They are present in the US market for decades and created a true Legacy with their models like the Impreza, Forester, Legacy, and Outback.

Where Are Subarus Made

Subaru models are made in Japan and the US. The Gunma factory in Japan produces the Forester, Crosstrek, BRZ, and Forester. While the one in Lafayette, Indiana produces the Legacy, Outback, and Impreza models.

Where Are Subaru Outbacks Made

Subaru Outback models are produced locally in the US. This means that these cars are not imported. The plant where they are produced is located at Lafayette, Indiana. Also, the factory in Gunma, Japan produces the Outback and Legacy models as well.

Is Subaru A Good Car

In general, Subaru cars are really good cars when new. As they age, they start to develop problems. Mainly with their engines. This is the case because these are boxer engines. And all the seals and gaskets are vertically aligned. This makes the development of oil, coolant, and other leaks much more probable. So, the more miles the Subaru has, the bigger the chance for problems.

Is Subaru Outback A Good Car

The Outback in general is a really good car. The biggest drawback of this model are electrical issues that it can have, like battery drain and also problems with higher mileage engines that can leak oil, and coolant and cause many problems and eventually cause engine failure.

Which Subaru Engines To Avoid

Well, all of their engines are rather problematic. They all leak oil, leak coolant, have blown head gaskets, overheat, and whatnot. Instead of avoiding a certain engine, we would say to avoid greasy engines, engines that have high miles, engines that run poorly, and engines that run hot. These are the engines that you need to be worried about.

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