Discover the Top Used Subaru Outback Best Years Models

Patrick Oziegbe
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Buying a Subaru Outback can be an exciting experience, but with so many model years to choose from, you might wonder which ones offer the best value and reliability.

Worry not, as we’ve done the research for you to determine the best years for the Subaru Outback.

In our findings, the most reliable Subaru Outback models are the 2003-2004, 2005-2009, 2012-2014, and the 2021-2022 models.

These years stand out for their performance, durability, and overall value, making them terrific choices for your next car purchase. However if you desire to know, we previously published the Subaru Outback worst years list.

best models for Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback Best Years

1994-1999 First-Generation

The first-generation Subaru Outback made its debut in 1994 and marked the beginning of a long-lasting legacy.

While these early models weren’t as refined as their successors, they still offered excellent off-road capability and reliability.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or a well-preserved classic, the 1996 and 1999 models stand out as solid choices within this generation.

2000-2004 Second-Generation

During the second generation, the Subaru Outback continued to improve in terms of comfort and handling.

The best years during this period are the 2003 and 2004 models. These years saw enhancements in safety features and interior quality, making them ideal choices for fans of this generation.

2005-2009 Third-Generation

The third-generation Outback brought about significant changes in design, suspension, and interior quality. During this time, the 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 models were particularly noteworthy.

These models featured excellent safety ratings, improved fuel efficiency, and impressive new technology.

2010-2014 Fourth-Generation

The fourth-generation Subaru Outback ushered in a larger, more comfortable design and continued to build upon its predecessors’ success.

The 2012, 2013, and 2014 models stand out as the best years within this generation.

These models offer improved ride comfort, handling, and even more advanced safety features, making them great choices for buyers who value a blend of on-road performance and off-road capability.

2015-2019 Fifth-Generation

The fifth-generation Subaru Outback boasted a reengineered platform, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and handling.

While the entire generation is generally well-regarded, the 2016 and 2018 models stand out as the best years.

With updated interior materials, increased safety features, and streamlined technology, these models maintain the Outback’s position as a versatile and reliable choice.

2020-Present Sixth-Generation

The most recent generation of the Subaru Outback, beginning in 2020, showcases even more sophisticated technology and a cutting-edge design.

So far, the 2021 and 2022 models are highly praised for their advanced safety systems, stylish interiors, and well-rounded performance.

As you explore the history of the Subaru Outback, keep these standout years in mind to find the perfect model for your needs and preferences.

Outback SUV best years

Subaru Outback Worst Years

While many Subaru Outback models have performed well, there are a few years that you might want to avoid.

The worst years include 2010-2011 and 2017-2020. These models experienced more issues and less satisfaction among owners compared to other years.

In the 2010-2011 models, some common problems included excessive oil consumption, head gasket failure, and transmission issues.

The 2017 model is known for its uncomfortable ride and poor quality interior materials, while the 2018 and 2019 models faced similar issues.

Lastly, the 2020 Outback had a recurring windshield crack problem that frustrated many owners.

Keep in mind that every car can have unique issues, and your experience might differ from others. Always consider your needs and preferences, and make sure to do your research before making a purchase.

That being said, it’s recommended that you steer clear of these worst years for the Subaru Outback to enjoy the best that this popular wagon has to offer.

What Year is the Safest Subaru Outback?

The 2013 Subaru Outback seems to particularly shine in the safety department.

This model earned a rating of “Good” in four out of five tests for crashworthiness, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Additionally, the 2013 Outback received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the same institution, which applies to all Outbacks built after August 2012.

The overall performance of the 2013 Subaru Outback was even rated as “Superior” when tested with vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention.

This high level of safety means you can trust your 2013 Subaru Outback to protect you and your family on the road.

So, when you’re hunting for your next automobile, give the 2013 Outback some consideration—it could just be the perfect combination of reliability and security that you’ve been searching for.

Subaru Outback Performance and Reliability


You’ll enjoy the performance and reliability of the Subaru Outback, with engines that are known for their dependability.

The 2022, 2021, 2014, 2013, and 2012 models, for example, have particularly solid reputations for reliability and value.

The XT turbo engine, available in some Outback models, can produce a robust 250 hp, delivering strong performance and added excitement.


Both manual and automatic transmission options are available for different Outback models.

The newer models typically come equipped with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) system, offering smooth and responsive shifts while maximizing fuel efficiency.

Fuel Economy

Subaru Outback models boast impressive fuel economy, with ratings generally staying within the range of 25-30 mpg for combined city and highway driving.

This makes the Outback a cost-effective choice for those seeking a reliable vehicle with good performance.


The Outback’s suspension is well-regarded for its smooth ride and impressive handling.

Distinctive all-wheel-drive systems enable you to navigate varying road conditions with confidence, making it a great choice for those who appreciate a sturdy suspension system.

All-Wheel Drive System

An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system comes standard in all Subaru Outbacks, providing excellent traction on various terrains and weather conditions.

The AWD system, coupled with durable and agile suspension components, enhances the overall driving experience.

Subaru Outback Safety Features

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

The Subaru Outback has received impressive safety ratings from the IIHS.

For instance, the 2013 model achieved a Top Safety Pick+ award, and the overall performance was rated as “Superior” concerning vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention.

Airbags, including side and curtain airbags, help protect you and your passengers in the event of a collision.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Regarding the NHTSA safety ratings, Subaru Outback models consistently score high, ensuring your protection on the road.

However, it’s essential to stay aware of potential recalls, so you can address any issues promptly.

Remember, your Subaru Outback comes equipped with advanced safety features like collision-avoidance technology, enhancing your driving experience.

Remember, proper maintenance and timely recall repairs are crucial in maximizing your Outback’s longevity and ensuring a safe driving experience.


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