The Subaru Outback has a quiet cabin, a spacious rear-seat and a capacious cargo area. Handling is good in routine driving, but clumsy when pushed to the limits. With its four-cylinder engine and CVT, the Outback gets very good fuel economy for this class. Acceleration is just adequate, though, and the engine can be noisy when it's pressed. The optional six-cylinder engine is quieter and quicker, though less fuel efficient.
There are 16 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say


Anonymous, GA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I've read where the acceleration was below par. I drive mine it has a 2.5i w/cvt. When weather is rainy and you need a quick start to get moving the car accelerates rather quickly especially in manual mode. No tire spin when wet or dry. Has great handling even in emergency situations."

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Nothing with the handling, best in rain and bad weather. My "bad" opinion is about the acceleration. The car, is a 2.5, is fairly putrid at acceleration, even with the six-speed manual transmission. She's fine in city traffic, as long as you like to be busy while you drive."

ERIC M., FL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Very good acceleration and power for a 4 cylinder car. All wheel drive for going in snow and ice"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It is a v6. When I want to step on the gas, it really goes"

Anonymous, AB (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Excellent mileage on long trips, keeps up with traffic flow, this 4 cyl. Beats the compation hands down, handling is rock solid."

KAY P., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Noisy, gutless engine with relatively poor economy. Lane holding takes too much effort."

MICHAEL G., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It does not handle as well as my 2001 outback. I wish I had gotten the 6 cylinder and not the cv transmission but I bought it used and overall am very satisfied."

DAN S., MT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Handling is good and acceleration is so-so. I did not expect the auto to have "smoke the tires acceleration" given its power-to-weight ratio."

ROBERT M., OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Handles as a luxury ride performs great with acceleration & mileage is the best . On a full tank I can get 500-580 miles THE GREATEST"

ELIZABETHANN B., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I do a lot of long distance driving as well as local driving in heavy traffic. Car holds the road, accelerated well. Also does very well in rain and snow. Trust this car."

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"weak ac vague steering cabin noise bouncy ride"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Outback)

"steering feels like there is a bind in column."

HENRY M., FL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Needs more power"

WILLIAM D., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Very comfortable ride but unsettled handling at the limit"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Acceleration is not great, especially at higher speeds. I would favour the 6 cylinder option on a new purchase."

PAUL T., NL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Steering feel is terrible, when you make a turn you actually have to pull the wheel back to straighten up or it will just keep turning off the road. If you let go of the wheel it will not straighten on its own."

PHILLIP R., SC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Performance is remarkable."

JOSEPH L., TX (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Feels under-powered and noisy, with slow acceleration - due in part to the CVT transmission"

WILLIAM G., VT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"My Subaru Outback is great with acceleration, it really gets up and goes. It also has a great radius for turning, both are a great plus for this car."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Very firm and solid on the freeway. Good comfort"

D F., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"CVT is loud and unresponsive. Person needs to learn to drive it to get the mileage. Car "rolls" in the corners"

Anonymous, MN (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Very good car on the open road for trips."

JAMES E., IL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The 6-cyl engine provides plenty of power to pass, climb hills, and do it all quietly. Handling with the AWD makes stability in all conditions very good and creates confidence"

DONALD G., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Best car in the now I have ever driven - with good snow tires."

BEN T., VT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Handle's well on and off road."

MICHAEL M., OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It handles well and has a tight turning radius which I really like a lot. It makes it very easy to drive and park in town and it has a relatively high ground clearance for a station wagon also."

Anonymous, TN (2012 Subaru Outback)

"This vehicle saved our lives when we hit a snow drift that was hidden behind a sharp corner. We hit the drift going 50mph and just kept going. I believe that most other vehicles would have lost control."

DAVID S., MT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Lots of power. Much better than previous 4 cyl model we had. It corners like it is running on rails. A great handling car."

GARY C., OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The stiffness of the steering has bothered me from the beginning. Checked out by many dealers and other mechanics. It's all part of the rack-and-pinion system, designed to be that stiff, and it's never bothered anyone else. Still, this factor might "steer" me away from Outback."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I am disappointed with the gas mileage considering that it is a 4 cylinder engine. The acceleration is sluggish and the handling at highway speeds is a little "Squirrely" because of perceived oversteering. But the vehicle is very solid, it actually feels like a small truck."

KRISTOPHER K., OH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Acceleration is unbelievably great for a 4-cylinder. Can get up to 80 mph in a hurry when passing on PA 2-lane roads"

LAWRENCE J., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The CVE gearbox is kind of sluggish and it sticks once parked on hills."

Anonymous, VA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Excellent vehicle for traction and handling during the long Alaska winters."

Anonymous, AK (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Poor acceleration"

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"needs 30 more horsepower"

W D., NV (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The car handles freeway speeds at relatively low RPM with good mileage, but it can accelerate immediately when needed as with merging onto the freeway."

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"While not the peppiest car on the road, it is totally sufficient for a careful driver - both in the city and on the highway. With all-wheel drive, it handles exceptionally well in a climate where we have dry road summers and snowy road winters."

ROBINSON L., CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"This vehicle handles beautifully. It does not do very well with passing without a long stretch to complete the pass."

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"its great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

SUSAN Z., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Drives well but sloe acceleration. The car Ferrell's heavy and sluggish when you first start out."

Anonymous, VA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Road noice is more pronounced than I like. I wish it was quieter. Otherwise handling and acceleration are good."

GORDON B., OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It doesn't handle like either a car or pickup, and I can't get used to that. Doesn't corner like I think it should ."

Anonymous, MT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Hugs the road in all types of driving conditions"

RICHARD R., NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"This is a perfect car for driving in our 2nd home at Lake Tahoe. It handles AMAZINGLY in snow and in all mountain conditions."

BETTY K., MD (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Noisy engine and slow pickup when entering highway traffic."

NINO D., VT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Poor acceleration from a stop (I have a manual transmission car; the CVS versions seem to accelerate faster)"

JO B., WV (2012 Subaru Outback)

"3.6 engine and paddles controlling gear shifting make this car truly fun to drive"

BENJAMIN S., NM (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I feel very secure on Maine roads in the winter due to the all-wheel drive on this vehicle."

NANCY T., ME (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Safest and best handling car in bad weather that I have ever had."

JACK W., OH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Quite zippy for a 4!"

BETSY C., VA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It handles well, but acceleration is leisurely. Mileage drops significantly at speeds over 65 mph."

KENNETH V., IL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Plenty of smooth power"

ROD G., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Wanders; needs constant steering input"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"There is a big difference in the 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder in terms of responsiveness and acceleration. Although gas mileage is compromised I feel much safer in my 6 cylinder."

KATHLEEN M., NV (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Bought my Subaru from Carmax. Great experience, but wish that it was a 6 cyl rather than a 4 cyl."

DIANE J., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Very quiet relative to any previous car including 2000 Subaru"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seats comfortable on long drives, across country."

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I would not buy anything else . Comfort is as if u were home on a couch & heated seats the BEST"

ELIZABETHANN B., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"No lumber support."

JO B., WV (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The leather upholstery has had to be replaced, both on passenger side (first year) and driver's side (after three years). Discouraging! Expensive!"

R C., MT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I like that I can raise the height of the seat. I don't like the way the ventilation system blows air. The steering wheel tends to block the air flow. And the vents near the feet don't warm the driver's foot area very well. They need to improve the ventilation system."

SUSAN G., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seat comfort on long trips is excellent."

JAMES C., IL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Heat for the floor of the drivers side is minimal compared to the passenger side. When I asked it seems that is just how it is made."

Anonymous, KS (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are not comfortable especially on long trips. I've spent several hundred dollars trying to find a seat cushion that soften and provide support for driving comfort."

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"seats, noise, ride, all good heater could be a little more effective"

W D., NV (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The seats are comfortable however they stain incredibly easy. They are very nice fabric, however, even a water spill leaves a mark. I wish I had gone for the upgraded package with leather. The passenger seat doesn't have great back support for long drives. We added a $5 mesh lumbar support to fix the issue."

F W., NC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Very noisy car, ruff ride, poor service from dealer, tire rims pitted within 4 months and lost center caps, supposed to have sirus radio, but did not, dealer changed radio at time of purchase, then wanted additional when we returned and wanted sirus , Have had about 20 Subaru outbacks, and would not purchase another, was going to trade in after 1st year and the amount offered was 9000 dollars, and only had 3500 miles on, never again another Subaru,"

FRANCIS S., OH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I have to focus on the climate controls which distracts me while driving."

RICHARD W., NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"AC - Could be a little colder. Also I would have like to have a heated steering wheel."

Anonymous, MD (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Engine and road noise are well above my expectation."

JACK R., GA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The a/c in the 4 cylinder doesn't seem to be strong enough for the whole area inside. Kids stay hot in the backseat. Possibly early signs of head gasket failure before realizing the problem."

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"engine noise"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seat pan is short for my height -- 6'"

GLORIA S., NC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I'm almost 6' tall and, yet, I am very comfortable driving my Outback. No noticeable noise issues, the air conditioner and heat (inc. seat warmers) work well, The ride is what I really like. Had a Forrester in the past but find that the Outback "hugs" curves and the road more closely."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It's too big and high off the ground for my comfort."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seats adjustment quite basic (would like more height range, e.g. Fairly noisy at highway speeds. Ride is good, climate control also--though fan is very loud at highest levels."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"This car is so much quieter than my old crv. Love the way it handles and rides."

Anonymous, VA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seats are okay. The climate control is fine but it's easy to turn on the seat heat because the buttons on in a bad spot. It's not the quietest ride but not horrible."

Anonymous, NH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"everything is very confortable"

FRANCIS L., WI (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It's a very comfortable car for a tall person. It's somewhat noisy on the highway, which may be the tires, which I will be replacing soon even though they aren't worn out."

KENNETH V., IL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"good support for long trips. offers plenty of leg room for me 6'5""

WILLIAM K., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"A bit noisy for occupants at speed."

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seating is not very comfortable particularly for long drives."

GARETH G., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Our backs bother us on long trips. We added back supports to our seats."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The ride is a little stiff."

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Road noise is the only issue I have."

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"My base Outback 2.5 with manual transmission doesn't have an electrical seat. The climate control is barely keeping up with Florida heat, slow to cool. A fair amount of noise from engine on start up from cold engine. Are these bad? No. They disappear with the next trim level."

ERIC M., FL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"drivers seat bottom is too short causing discomfort for driver"

JEFFREY S., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seating is very comfortable front and rear and climate control is super. No problem with noise or the ride."

RUTH P., TX (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Fairly noisy generally and the cvt only adds to the noise"

DAVID D., MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"seats are uncomfortable, leg height doesn't adjust very well"

JERRY H., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Love the style/durability of my leather seats & seat heaters are really helpful with arthritis, even in FL. I have the see-thru divider for my dog in the rear compartment, which keeps my active dog safe and me comfortable."

SUSAN S., FL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Passenger seat is low and cannot be raised."

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I wish Subaru (and all auto makers) included bench seats as an option to bucket seats... or at least a bench-style seat for the driver. Bucket seats drop my line-of sight down 2 inches, which makes it harder to see over the steering wheel as I am very short waisted."

Anonymous, KS (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The biggest things that bother me are; The noise of the transmission, and any movement (minute) to the steering, the car moves dramatically, a little scary at times. I have never noticed that in my other Subaru Outback. Also, the driver seat is very uncomfortable."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Good leather seats and seat adjustment. Limited edition has very good climate controls. Some engine noise with 4 cylinder version especially when accelerating. Some road noise at higher speeds. Very stable and sure-footed on slippery road conditions. Best 4-wheel drive on any vehicle I've ever owned."

WILLIAM P., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The driver's seat is not comfortable for trips over an hour or so. (Seems to be designed for the backside of a 100 - 130# driver!) I'm also irritated that I have a +/- eco-gauge instead of the oil temperature gauge. I generally use the temp gauge to determine how soon I can get good heat on cold days."

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It is somewhat noisy and the ride a bit harsh. Acceleration is not adequate."

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"It's much too noisy under hard acceleration. Under normal driving, it's fairly quiet. I generally like the seating, except the back seems a bit bumpy and digs into my side sometimes. Othewise we're very happy with the comfort of the vehicle."

PAUL D., MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"a little noisy (wind, road noise on some roads) passenger seats have no height adjustment"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Seats need more thigh support (cushion too short). Car requires constant steering inputs to stay in lane"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Outback)

"A/C is adequate but very weak"

JACK W., OH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Back seat has plenty of room to be comfortable."

MARY G., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Generally comfortable, but the seats are too short and don't support my thighs as well as they could. The HVAC controls take a long time to catch up with the cabin temperature when first starting out (ie, in winter, blast heated air when the cabin is already above the set temp.)"

GREGORY E., TX (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Good highway car, quiet for its class"

Anonymous, GA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The front seat headrests are not comfortable for a very tall person, though seating otherwise is excellent. The climate control produces unexpected results and isn't intuitive."

DAVID K., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Can always get a comfortable seating position relative to steering wheel and pedals. Seating comfort is great."

Anonymous, OK (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Air conditioning output unsatisfactory. Dealer still insisted that system was within specifications"

KJELL O., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"My wife finds the shorter seats in the 2012 Outback to be "uncomfortable" compared to those in the 2005 that she alone drives. Enough so that she refused to trade UP to the Outback when offered and simply kept her Forester."

GARY W., SC (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Height of passenger front seat not adjustable. Not so much a comfort issue, but awkward looking down at person."

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"* air conditioner makes too much noise. You can hear the unit under the dashboard. * bring back knobs for climate control (and keep it for the radio). Too many buttons or touch-screen makes you take your eyes off the road to activate them."

STEVE N., CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"i has great traction in the snow and rain thanks to subarus all -wheel drive"

J A., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Great value. It certainly gives excellent performance - equal to that of more upscale cars at up to twice the price."

ROBINSON L., CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"all wheel drive - great in snow up to 16 inches"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Outback)

"We drive it back and forth to Florida from NJ and find that there is plenty of room for luggage and other stuff."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Due to past experience I know that the Subaru Outback holds its value exceptionally well. My first Subaru, a 2008 Outback, was totaled when I was hit broadside. My passenger and I were uninjured. Additionally, the insurance company gave me what I had invested in the car the past 15 months. Granted, I had gotten a good deal on the car when I bought it, however, I'd say this was proof the Subaru Outback holds its value exceptionally well."

CYNTHIA L., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The reliability and safety of this vehicle are better than many others at a comparable price point."

Anonymous, CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Better than expected gas milage for such a roomy car at 33 mpg highway. Absolutely no mechanical problems in 4 1/2 years except for one tire sensor. Only disappointment is poor quality audio and satellite radio."

THOMAS W., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Great car for the price, with good safety and reliability and nice features in the top models"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Nice value - engine a bit noisy - driving lights keep burning out - very difficult to change"

NINO D., VT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Subaru's are expensive"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"not really anything"

J A., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Great 4 wheel AWD. Great value."

GERALD R., VT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Excellent in snow and very roomy. 4 cyl engine too loud and underpowered for size/weight of vehicle"

MICHAEL S., CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Good on road and off road"

Anonymous, GA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Always highly rated in all categories"

WILLIAM K., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The Subaru Outback is the vehicle of choice in Northern New England."

DENNIS P., NH (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I paid about $26000 for a very functional AWD station wagon. It has been perfect for my situation (snow country, 2 big dogs)."

Anonymous, CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Used prices from computer volume sellers and got 10% off retail at local dealers and a deal in 10 minutes"

LAWRENCE J., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I think other than the engine problem they are VERY reliable cars. It's my first Subaru and am currently looking for another. The turning radius is incredible. The size and what I needed it for, [ i.e. fishing, running and cycling are perfect!"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"The only complaint I have is that the heater controls and the center display are difficult to read under some lighting conditions."

ROBERT M., OR (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Lots of features for the price,"

ROBERT O., CO (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Excellent investment."

DAVID M., TX (2012 Subaru Outback)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"I don't care for the wood look interior"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"This is my third Subaru Outback and I love everything about it."

MARYANN L., PA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I have had numerous positive comments on my car since I bought it. The color (brown) is actually a bronze color and is quite striking. I've only seen one other like it this area."

CYNTHIA L., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Visibility all around is outstanding."

JOSEPH L., TX (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Loose the plastic trim on the side of the vehicle, it takes away from the appeal."

GLEN W., WA (2012 Subaru Outback)

"good looking vehicle."

JOSEPH C., FL (2012 Subaru Outback)

"I like the way it looks."

Anonymous, OK (2012 Subaru Outback)

"Women have a hard time seeing over the front of the Subaru."

JOHN W., CT (2012 Subaru Outback)
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