In-depth Reviews

Subaru Outback estate

"The Subaru Outback is a practical family car and it's also good off-road – but rivals are more stylish"

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.6 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Plenty of safety kit
  • Capable off-road
  • Well built

Cons

  • Dull interior
  • No diesel option
  • Rivals are more refined

The original Subaru Legacy Outback went on sale over 25 years ago and it was the first estate car with the looks of a 4x4 off-roader. It’s now in its fifth generation and Subaru has sharpened up the looks, upgraded the interior and thrown in some new technology.

The Outback is fitted with Subaru’s tough four-wheel-drive system, which means it can show some bigger and pricier 4x4s a clean pair of heels off-road. It also has a 200mm ride height and panels that protect the underside of the car to help it over rough terrain. A 173bhp 2.5-litre petrol is the only engine option, while there are two trim levels – SE and SE Premium – each of which has a lot of equipment.

Basic SE trim is well kitted out with the likes of 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, heated seats and Subaru’s EyeSight safety features, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, so there’s little sense in paying more for the SE Premium.

Subaru no longer sells the Legacy (the car on which the Outback is based) in the UK, but the Outback is similar to the new Subaru Levorg estate, which replaced the Legacy. In terms of rivals, the Outback competes with niche estate cars that have been tweaked to better handle off-roading, including the Volvo XC60, Audi A4 Allroad, and Audi A6 Allroad. The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer and Skoda Octavia Scout occupy a similar place in the market.

Although it takes a bite out of fuel economy and emissions, the car's Lineartronic automatic gearbox is great if you plan to use the Outback off-road, as it has a special mode that sets the car up for slippery surfaces and maximises grip.

The Subaru Outback finished 20th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK.

Recommended

Rugged Subaru Outback starts from £33,995
Subaru Outback estate
Subaru Outback estate
7 May 2021

Rugged Subaru Outback starts from £33,995

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Nissan Qashqai
Deals
11 Jun 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Best 4x4s and SUVs
Peugeot 3008 SUV rear 3/4 tracking
Family SUVs
3 Jun 2021

Best 4x4s and SUVs

Best hybrid cars
Toyota Corolla Trek
Best cars
8 Jun 2021

Best hybrid cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

Best cheap cars
Dacia Duster SUV
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap cars

Bold new Vauxhall Grandland SUV arrives with technology overhaul
2021 Vauxhall Grandland SUV.
Vauxhall Grandland X
8 Jun 2021

Bold new Vauxhall Grandland SUV arrives with technology overhaul

Speed awareness course: all you need to know
Police car - open boot
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Speed awareness course: all you need to know

How to remove bird poop from a car
How to remove bird poop from car
Tips and advice
26 May 2021

How to remove bird poop from a car

First look at the new Audi RS3
2021 Audi RS3 saloon and hatchback
Audi RS3
10 Jun 2021

First look at the new Audi RS3

Dartford Crossing toll changes and Dart Charge
Dartford Crossing
Tips and advice
8 Jun 2021

Dartford Crossing toll changes and Dart Charge

New Kia Sportage revealed with radical design
2021 Kia Sportage - front 3/4
Kia Sportage SUV
8 Jun 2021

New Kia Sportage revealed with radical design

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
2020 Ford Puma - front tracking
Ford Focus hatchback
4 Jun 2021

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

Best small cars and superminis
Renault Clio driving
Renault Clio
3 Jun 2021

Best small cars and superminis

More on Outback

Rugged Subaru Outback starts from £33,995
Subaru Outback estate
Subaru Outback estate
7 May 2021

Rugged Subaru Outback starts from £33,995

An all-new Subaru Outback is a four-wheel drive estate with real off-road and towing ability
Best cars for winter
Best cars
3 Jan 2020

Best cars for winter

We select a great group of 4x4 cars to help keep you on the road and moving this winter.
Top 3 used rugged estates for £10,000
Top 3 used rugged estates for £10,000
Skoda Octavia Scout estate
16 Aug 2019

Top 3 used rugged estates for £10,000

“Dear Carbuyer, I need an estate car that can handle the outdoors, that’s family friendly and good to drive. What does £10,000 buy?”
Best car manufacturers UK: Driver Power 2019 results
Lexus
24 Apr 2019

Best car manufacturers UK: Driver Power 2019 results

The UK's best car brands revealed, based on results from our 2019 Driver Power survey
Out and about with the Subaru Outback (sponsored)
Subaru Outback
25 May 2018

Out and about with the Subaru Outback (sponsored)

The Subaru Outback is the perfect choice for drivers who rack up cross-country miles as well as short journeys
Facelifted 2018 Subaru Outback unveiled
Subaru Outback estate
10 Apr 2018

Facelifted 2018 Subaru Outback unveiled

More technology for updated rugged estate, but no more diesel engines
New Subaru Levorg: prices, specs and release date
Subaru Outback estate
14 Aug 2015

New Subaru Levorg: prices, specs and release date

Tough estate set to join Outback and Forester models in September
New Subaru Outback: on sale next month
Subaru Outback estate
23 Mar 2015

New Subaru Outback: on sale next month

The new Subaru Outback will cost from £28k and sports a range of new features and improved quality
New Subaru Outback estate pictures
Subaru Outback estate
4 Apr 2014

New Subaru Outback estate pictures

The new Subaru Outback will be unveiled at the New York Motor Show this month
Subaru Outback estate (2009-2014)
Subaru Outback estate
2 Apr 2014

Subaru Outback estate (2009-2014)

"You won't buy a Subaru Outback for it's fuel consumption, but four-wheel drive and decent practicality mean it's worth a look."
New Subaru Outback revealed
Subaru Outback estate
2 Oct 2013

New Subaru Outback revealed

The new Subaru Outback will go on sale in November with a range of updates

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
6 May 2021

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks