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2012 Subaru Outback Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Great car with limited competition by mschafer



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The Outback is a great car that offers a safe, 4 wheels drive experience, with elevated ride Hight but reachable roof rack and very generous searing front and back with plenty of cargo room. All that for at a great price point. The maintenance at eh dealership is actually higher than expected, about once every 6 weeks I'm there otherwise I'm looking forward driving this for a couple of more years without any problems.

Reviewed: 2012 Subaru Outback

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

Why the 2012 Subaru Outback?

Exterior styling

Asian standard outside, but interestingly others, like Toyota seem to aim for this look in newer models.

Interior styling

Simple and a bit plasticky, but very functional and easy to navigate

Color choices

Fair, but some combinations are not available. The special edition I just saw has too many strong tones to be convincing, feels aftermarket and not integrated designed, a real missed opportunity for Subaru.

Powertrain performance

CVT performs adequately, it's a wagon with a SUV slant, so I don't expect BMW sedan, supercharged SUV or sport car performance. And for passing and ridding this vehicle a bit harder the manual downshift gives it adequate kick to perform a quick acceleration by bypassing the CVT reaction time. The sound is a bit whiny and sound dampening could be improved drastically.

Fuel economy

Fuel economy is great, on the highway at 70mph I get in the summer around 30-33mpg, winter it drops to around 27 ( board computer after refill with a warm engine). Combined 10% city, 20% suburb and 70% highway it's a 25-28mpg with relaxed driving. Fully loaded doesn't seem do make a big impact, AC set usually around 65 in winter and 72 in summer.

Why Not the 2012 Subaru Outback?


Better than most SUV, still a big and relatively high car, so I feel crosswinds on occasion otherwise surprisingly nimble and corners better than expected. Driving on snow and sand is perfectly fine and always makes me happy I have this car. Ground clearance is great after the frequent storms we had on the east coast the past month and great to get into the driveway when the street was plowed and build up in front.

Safety & braking

Feels save, no experience, the brakes could be a bit more efficient, safety can always be improved and these brakes do absolutely not compare to a BMW or MB wagon

Ride smoothness

Good enough, could be smoother and eat the road but again compared to SUV it's a huge improvement, now if the could insulate this for noise...


On that subject, it shows the price point. Cars these days can be very efficiently insulated. Starting with the windows. But that obviously contributes to the cost and at this price point it's a compromise I have to accept. Having travelled at high speeds in recent top vehicles, from Phantom to the lowly BMW 760iL and standard issue S550 I know what's possible and how that contributes to a relaxing experience. So unfortunately the outback can not deliver here.


Nothing to report, great on solid snow, summer streets, rain and sand, after 20k miles look like new, but we already had 2 holes that needed to be plugged.

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