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Should I Buy a Used Subaru Outback? Yes, but you should know this!

If you have ever heard of Subaru as a company, you most likely associate them with their Outback. One of the reasons this car is so popular is because it can tackle terrain that is typically reserved for bigger SUVs. With six generations, spanning from 1995 to 2021, it’s very possible you will come across an Outback, but should you buy a used Subaru Outback?

If you are looking for a safe and versatile car, the Subaru Outback offers great value for your money. However, buyers should beware of the head-gasket problems which plagued some of the older models.

Let’s look more closely at this wagon to see if it might be a good fit for you and your family. 

Subaru Outback

Are Subaru Outback’s Reliable?

Regardless of whose rating you look at, the Outback has proven to be a reliable vehicle. Below you will find a list of J.D. Power’s reliability ratings by year.

YearRatingYearRatingYearRating
202271/1002017 #3 in Midsize SUV80/1002012 #3 in Midsize SUV82/100
202171/1002016 #5 in Midsize SUV79/1002011 #3 in Midsize SUV82/100
2020 #6 in Midsize SUV70/1002015 #7 in Midsize SUV76/1002010 #5 in Midsize SUV81/100
2019 #6 in Midsize SUV79/1002014 #3 in Midsize SUV82/1002009 #8 in Midsize SUV81/100
2018 #2 in Midsize SUV81/1002013 #6 in Midsize SUV81/1002008 #9 in Midsize SUV81/100

Source: J.D. Power

All in all, the Outback has an above-average reliability rating when compared to most vehicles in the category.

How long Do Outback’s Last?

A vehicle is typically considered to have high mileage at about 120,000 miles. However, if properly cared for, an Outback can easily exceed this and reach 250,000 to 300,000 miles. If the vehicle is driven an average of 15,000 miles a year or less, it could last anywhere from 16 to 20 years.

How Much Will It Cost to Maintain a Used Subaru Outback?

According to CAREDGE, the maintenance and repair cost for a Subaru Outback will average $2,137 for the first five years of its life, and an average of $8,037 during the first ten years of service. During this time there is a 23.97% chance of a major repair being needed.

YearProbability of Major RepairsYearly Maintenance Cost
12.47%$278
24.10%$325
34.60%$399
48.13%$518
511.64%$617
613.10%$772
714.13%$1,087
818.26%$1,212
920.18%$1,328
1023.97%$1,501

Source: CAREDGE

What Are the Most Common Problems With a Subaru Outback?

When trying to figure out what problems a car might have, you must think about things like, “Who drove the car?” and “Where was the car driven?” Obviously, a vehicle that was kept in a garage maintained on time, and rarely driven is going to have fewer problems than a car that was driven like a racecar on snowy roads and never maintained.

However, there are some problems that plague all Outback’s, no matter who has driven them. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Below you will find a list of the most common problems reported by drivers along with the average price of repair. 

Most Common ProblemRepair Cost
Excessive Oil Consumption$1,500
Windshield Cracks Easily$600
Transmission Failure$6,500
Brake Bleed$95
Battery Test$44
Wheel Alignment$152
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Relearn$44

Source: RepairPal

According to CarComplaints.com, the worst year for Outback’s was 2015, which had the most overall complaints. However, the 2013 model’s repairs cost more and appear at lower mileages. The most-reported problem was in the 2017 Outback and was for dead batteries.

Subaru Outback interior

Are Subaru Outback’s Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducts crash reviews and rates vehicle performance with a 5-Star Safety Rating system. According to NHTSA, the Subaru Outback has received 5-Stars in both frontal crashes and side crashes in all models from 2013 to 2021. Additionally, each model received 4-Stars in the rollover test. You can look at the safety rating of each year in more detail on NHTSA’s website here.

In addition to NHTSA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is funded by insurance companies and associations, also tests vehicle safety ratings. It is IIHS that issues the Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards. The Subaru Outback has received both Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ in all generations, with superior ratings in many of their tests. You can find more about each individual year here.

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Used Subaru Outback?

It’s important to understand that insurance prices depend heavily on their age, location, driving history, and credit score. Additionally, some companies may offer different discounts that apply to you, so it is always a good idea to shop around. However, you can find the average price to insure each model year, along with the lowest quote, in the table below.

YearAverage PriceLowest Quote
2020$1,411Allied: $599
2019$1,461Cincinnati Insurance: $832
2018$1,108GEICO: $723
2017$1,425GEICO: $579
2016$1,854Allied: $633
2015$1,089GEICO: $505
2014$1,063GEICO: $486
2013$872GEICO: $423

Source: TheZebra Compare quotes from all companies.

Compare Subaru Outback’s by Year

2022

  • Price: $26,945 to $39,945
  • Average Used Price: $39,343
  • MPG: 24 to 29
  • Horsepower: 182 to 260
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2021

  • Price: $26,795 to $39,945
  • Average Used Price: $37,182
  • MPG: 26 to 29
  • Horsepower: 182 to 260
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2020

  • Price: $26,645 to $39,695
  • Average Used Price: $35,397
  • MPG: 26 to 29
  • Horsepower: 182 to 260
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2019

  • Price: $26,345 to $38,995
  • Average Used Price: $29,996
  • MPG: 23 to 28
  • Horsepower: 175 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2018

  • Price: $25,895 to $38,690
  • Average Used Price: $27,667
  • MPG: 23 to 28
  • Horsepower: 175 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2017

  • Price: $25,645 to $38,195
  • Average Used Price: $24,498
  • MPG: 23 to 28
  • Horsepower: 175 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2016

  • Price: $24,995 to $33,395
  • Average Used Price: $21,083
  • MPG: 23 to 29
  • Horsepower: 175 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2015

  • Price: $24,895 to $32,995
  • Average Used Price: $19,046
  • MPG: 23 to 29
  • Horsepower: 175 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic

2014

  • Price: $23,495 to $32,095
  • Average Used Price: $15,770
  • MPG: 21 to 27
  • Horsepower: 173 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic, Manual

2013

  • Price: $23,495 to $32,095
  • Average Used Price: $13,243
  • MPG: 21 to 27
  • Horsepower: 173 to 256
  • Seats: 5 passengers
  • Drive Type: AWD
  • Engine: 4 – Cylinder, 6 – Cylinder
  • Transmission: Automatic, Manual

Older Models Average Used Price

  • 2012 Average Used Price: $11,943
  • 2011 Average Used Price: $10,453
  • 2010 Average Used Price: $9,196
  • 2009 Average Used Price: $8,354
  • 2008 Average Used Price: $7,862
  • 2007 Average Used Price: $6,974
  • 2006 Average Used Price: $6,779
  • 2005 Average Used Price: $6,996
  • 2004 Average Used Price: $5,308
  • 2003 Average Used Price: $5,081
  • 2002 Average Used Price: $4,844
  • 2001 Average Used Price: $4,508
  • 2000 Average Used Price: $4,504

If you do choose to buy a used Outback or any used car, it’s worth investing a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.

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