2013 Subaru Outback Review
Test drivers say the 2013 Subaru Outback successfully combines the utility of an SUV with the drivability of a car, making it one of the best wagons in the class.
The 2013 Subaru Outback has standard all-wheel drive and a choice between a four- or six-cylinder engine. Test drivers note that the four-cylinder engine is best for commuting and in-town driving, but the six-cylinder is better at freeway passing and merging, as well as navigating hilly terrain. Handling is a standout for the Outback, with most test drivers agreeing that it drives like a sedan, with confident handling and a smooth ride. Kelley Blue Book says the Outback is "as spacious and capable as a conventional mid-size SUV, but delivers the fuel efficiency and driving characteristics of a sedan." Safety is another high point for the Outback. The 2012 model, which is similar to the 2013, is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick for its strong crash test performance.
The Subaru Outback is the 2013 Best Wagon for the Money because it has the best combination of ownership costs and positive reviews in its class. The Subaru Outback is also the 2013 Best Wagon for Families because it has the best combination of quality, size and family-friendly features in its class.
Reviewers say the interior of the 2013 Subaru Outback is well-built, with nice materials for the price and plenty of space for passengers and cargo. The five-seat Outback features a back seat that reclines, as well as newly-standard Bluetooth phone and music connectivity. Reviewers say the base stereo doesn't sound very good, however, and recommend upgrading to the premium system. Also new for 2013 is Subaru's EyeSight crash mitigation system, which works to detect and prevent or mitigate collisions.
- "A new, more efficient engine, high-tech safety features and commendable off-road performance make the 2013 Subaru Outback a top pick among utility crossovers, especially for those who frequently enjoy the great outdoors." -- Edmunds
- "For those who want a fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive crossover, the 2013 Subaru Outback still offers practicality with ample passenger and cargo space." -- Car Gurus
- "The Outback also provides the all-weather mobility afforded by Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive and an elevated seating position for a more commanding view of the road. Competing vehicles such as the Toyota Venza, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox each excel in particular categories, but the 4th-generation Outback's balanced blend of on- and off-road proficiency offers a unique flavor in an otherwise well-defined category." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "If you need a very good car and you don't need flash, get the 2.5i with some frills. If you need a very good car and you want a little bit of zip, get the 3.6. Either way, you're buying a terrific piece of equipment that offers the fortitude of a bison wrapped in the appeal of a pony." -- Autoblog (2010)
Other Wagons/SUVs to Consider
Like the Outback, the Toyota Venza has a wagon-like design that provides a lot of utility along with car-like handling. The Venza comes standard with an automatic transmission, but it lacks standard all-wheel drive. However, both front- and all-wheel drive six-cylinder Venza models get slightly better fuel economy than the six-cylinder Outback.
At an EPA-estimated 42 mpg combined, the Toyota Prius v has much better fuel economy than any Outback model. It gets that better fuel economy while also providing about the same amount of cargo space behind the second row as the Outback does. The Prius v is only available with front-wheel drive.
Details: 2013 Subaru Outback
The Outback is available as a 2.5i or 3.6R model. The 2.5i comes in base, Premium and Limited trims, and the 3.6R is offered in base and Limited trims. The Outback was redesigned in 2010 and receives only minor changes for 2013. As a result, this review uses research from the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years.