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2012 Subaru Outback Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by jcdonaho17



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Reviewed: 2012 Subaru Outback

4dr Wagon 170-horsepower 2.5L H4 6-speed shiftable CVT AWD

Why the 2012 Subaru Outback?

Front seat support & comfort

I have found our 2012 Outback to be very comfortable for long drives. The driver's seat has plenty of adjustment to accommodate my frame. Legroom is outstanding. My wife got so spoiled with the heated seats in our 99 Outback Limited that she balks at cars without. So our 2010 and now the 2012 have had the heated seats.

Powertrain performance

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the CVT. To me it is like driving a rubber band. I have found it to work well though. The engineers say the CVT is one of the reasons for good gas mileage, so it is ok with me. I have lately done a fair amount of driving on 2 lane highways that require passing ability. The Outback will jump out there and accelerate quickly to passing speed. It is not a V8 or a WRX, but it seems to have enough power to me. The CVT does not require any service until at least 100,000 miles. There isn't even a dipstick to check the fluid level on the CVT.

Rear seat room & comfort

Rear seat comfort is excellent even for very tall teenagers and 20 somethings. The redesign of the Outback in 2010 noticeably improved rear seat space. One note when flipping down the back seats. Make sure your head is out of the way when you lift the release lever. The seat back springs forward quickly. The angle of the rear seat can also be reclined for additional comfort. The fold down center cup holder is a nice touch. The seating position is high so visibility is great.

Brand reputation & image

This is our 3rd Outback and 10th Subaru with ours and our kids. We love Subaru's. Safety was the reason we purchased our first Subie, a '95 Legacy, for our daughter. All wheel drive and the other safety features of Subaru sold us. We still feel like our Subaru's give us an edge in any unexpected unpleasant situation on the road. When Subaru came to the U.S., it was known for quirky fun vehicles. The Subaru's of today remain fun, but a lot of the quirkiness is gone. In design and execution, they seem more mainstream now. Our Subaru's have been reliable. The all wheel drive system seems bullet proof and with one exception the engines have been the same. Our '99 Outback has had an overheating gremlin. With normal maintenance a Subaru can be trouble free.

Interior styling

The ivory colored leather interior of our Outback is proving durable and good looking. I like the contrast of the black carpet with the light interior colors. (I don't recommend the ivory fabric like we had in our 2010 Outback. That was a nightmare to keep clean.) Interior lighting is good for loading cargo and people. The blue light that softly floods the front seats at night is very cool. Seat and mirror controls are well located and intuitive. The dash lights seem disjointed to me. The radio and AC controls in the center dash section have red lighting at night. The instrument panel has blue and green lighting at night. I would prefer a unified lighting scheme. The Outback has achieved a luxurious look and feel.

Why Not the 2012 Subaru Outback?

Exterior styling

Outbacks prior to 2010 had a distinctive profile. Today they share a corporate shape with any number of small SUV's. I'd like to see something a little more distinctive.


Stock tires seem to be short lived.

Warranty, maintenance cost

I'd like to see Subaru go to a 5/50 or longer warranty period. The 3/36 seems outdated especially in light of the quality of cars they now produce. They are definitely at a competitive disadvantage with the shorter warranty period.

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