2013 Subaru Outback Review

Regular listeners to my show know that I recommend the Subaru Outback a lot. Oh sure, it is great where the weather is rainy or snowy a lot, but the truth is, it is just a great crossover SUV no matter where you live.
The 2013 got even better with a new engine, a new suspension system, and a refreshed look that included new headlights and grill among exterior changes that give the Outback a more rugged look.

Although the old engine and the new engine are both 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, the new engine has more horsepower and gets better fuel economy. This new engine is rated at 173-horses and comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that make it feel like it has over 200 horses easily. Acceleration is strong and smooth. There is a V6 available also.

My tester is the Limited model which gives you leather interior, all power, Blue Tooth, heated leather seats, power driver’s seat, Harman Kardon stereo system, and a whole lot more. It is a beautiful Red Pearl with tan interior that is very nice. It has an amazing amount of cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded down.
For me, the attraction to them is the Subaru powertrain and all-wheel drive system. All Subarus use the boxer engine and that starts the symmetrical layout as the left side of the engine is the same as the right side and it is longitudinally mounted (crankshaft goes from front to rear). The transmission is also laid out longitudinally and two identical axle shafts emerge from the transmission housing, one on each side to drive the two front wheels. The driveshaft emerges from the rear of the transmission as usual to drive the rear wheels.

There are no external parts, axles or shafts on either the left or right to offset the symmetry as there are in other all wheel or four wheel drive systems. The entire drivetrain is along the center line of the vehicle and balances the weight and power distribution on both sides. The end result is superb handling in bad weather, and superb performance on good road surfaces.

Something new for 2013 Outback is the Eyesight system. This is an advanced safety system that includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, and lane sway warning. All of this is set from the steering wheel controls. Most systems like this work on radar, but Eyesight uses two cameras mounted at the top of the windshield.

Eyesight comes in option package 20 for $3940 which also includes power moonroof, navigation system, voice activated controls, rearview handling, and upgraded stereo. For all those features, plus the Eyesight system, that’s a bargain.

Subaru took a great SUV, tweaked it, and made it even better. It drives great, the handling is superb, it’s quiet, and now it is more fuel-efficient without sacrificing horsepower. I liked it before, I like it even more now.

What I liked most: Handling and the new engine for 2013.

What I would change: I like the cargo space, would prefer a little more backseat room.

MSRP: $29,095 base, $33830 as tested.

Fuel Economy: 24 city/30 highway.

Warranty: 3 years/36000 covers everything. 5 years/60,000 on the powertrain.

2013 Subaru Outback in a few words: A great SUV got greater.

  1. Robert 6 years ago

    Hi Jerry,
    I’ve read your review on the 2013 Subaru Outback and was just wondering if you’ve had a chance to look at the new Subaru Crosstrek?

    I’m interested in both. I’ve driven both. I do feel the Crosstrek may be a little under powered, but the gas mileage is great for a AWD compact SUV. Will you be reviewing the Crosstrek anytime soon? Any preliminary feedback?


    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Robert, I’ve not had the Crosstrek yet, but have requested it. I’ve helped a few people get them and they love them.

      Stay tuned too the show and newsletter, I’m sure I’ll have one soon. If you decide to make a move sooner, check out Certified Subaru dealers on our website, http://www.carprousa.com. We have good dealer partners in every market.

      Thanks for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”

  2. Rob 6 years ago

    Would the newer 2.5-liter 4 cylinder be suitable for mountain driving or would you recommend the V6?

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      If it is just occasional mountain driving, I think the 4 cylinder will be fine. But if it a common occurrence, I’d get the 6, I think it will last a lot longer for you.

      Let me know where you are located if you need a good Subaru dealer! THANKS for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

      • John 6 years ago

        I rented a 2013 Outback Ltd. with the 4 cylinder and CVT transmission and drove it for a few days. Down in the central valley of California on freeways it regularly returned over 30 mpg. When I drove it in the Sierra’s (where I live) the mileage dropped to the mid-high 20’s. As for power, I found there was plenty of power with the 4 and I was able to maintain the same cruising speed (legal) that I get with my 5.3L V-8 Suburban. If I lived and drove regularly at elevations of 6K or higher I’d probably opt for the 6 so unless you are a frequent driver at high elevations and very steep roads I think the 4 cyl would serve fine and return better mileage.

        Try going to a dealers service shop and renting one. Better way to find out what works for you than the ’round the block test drive. After all, you’re going to be into about 30K so you might as well make sure.

  3. Marcy 6 years ago

    It seems that the Forester has bigger wheels than the Outback. What are the other differences.
    Thank you.

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Marcy, good to hear from you. The Forester is much different from the Outback, and size is certainly a part of it.

      You should drive both and see which you like best, both are great!

      Let me know which market you listen to the show from, I am sure I have a great Subaru dealer near you.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks
      Office: (972) 755-7575

  4. jane from sacramento,ca 6 years ago

    dear jerry, i have wanted a subaru outback for many years. the only issues holding me back are the gas mileage (i drive a pruis now) and the fact that the new models do not offer a panoramic sunroof that they used to offer. using your imagination and insight, how long will i have to wait for either.

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Jane, thanks for listening to the show. Hard to say on the sunroof, but gas mileage is increasing every year. Subaru generally sticks to a 5 year cycle plan, which means 2015 will probably be the next really big change.

      For it’s size, and the fact that it’s all-wheel drive, the current Outback actually does pretty well.

      If you decide you want to look at the current version, let me know and I’ll set you up with Vince, the GM at Elk Grove Subaru.


      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  5. Sandy Martinez 6 years ago

    Hi Jerry

    I own ’02 Subaru outback sport and I’m looking at getting a new 2013 outback in February. Can you recommend a dealer in San Antonio?


  6. Brent Ipsen 6 years ago

    Can you recommend any Subaru dealers in Utah.

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      NO I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone in Utah.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  7. Steve 6 years ago

    I was wondering,besides style and size what are the differences between the Outback and the Forester.

    • Jerry 6 years ago


      I find the Outback to ride better, probably because it is longer and wider, but Forester is tall. Ground clearance is the same, Outback has more cargo area. Otherwise, they are quite similar. Outback is about $2000 higher. Both are great, they really are, just depends on budget and which you like better.

      If you need a good dealer, you’ll find them all here:


      Thanks for listening to the show.
      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  8. Ed Reed 6 years ago

    May I please have your opinion of CVT transmissions in general, and, in particular, in the new
    Subaru Outback and Forester. Thank you.

    I really enjoy your radio show on WOAI

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Thanks for listening Ed, I appreciate you! Subaru’s CVT has been flawless, I drove the very first one in 1985. I know of no issues at all with them. Overall Subaru quality is exceptional, including the CVT.

      I wish you all the best!

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

      • Howard 6 years ago


        I know you like the Subaru Outback. The name and reputation suggest that it’s a rugged vehicle. How rugged is the Outback compared to your average car? Briefly list the difference in the mechanics of the Outback v.s. your average automobile. I just purchased one and the rough roads where I am make me wonder what the Subaru can really take compared to other cars.

        • Jerry 6 years ago

          Howard, you would be better served asking your dealer about the intricate technical aspects of the car, but I can tell you that in my opinion, their all-wheel drive system is the best in the industry. Not only does the symetrical all-wheel drive system perform terrifically, it is hard to wear it out no matter how tough the terrain is. It’s capable and dependable, I think you made an excellent choice for your type of driving.

          Thanks for listening to the show.

          Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
          President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  9. Max 6 years ago

    Thanks for the review. One comment – there is no V6, it’s a flat 6 Boxer.

    • Jerry 6 years ago

      Thanks Max! You are correct. I am so in the habit of writing V6 it just rolled off! GOOD CATCH. THANKS for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds “The Car Pro”
      President, Car Pro Radio Networks

  10. J Kaup 5 years ago

    I bought a 2010 Outback for my wife at the end of 2009. We really love it for vacations and surprised the power of the 4cyl. I’ve been thinking about trading in my 2011 mustang v8 for the v6 version of the outback. I live in Forney, Tx and wanting to know what Subaru dealership you would recommend around here.

    • Jerry 5 years ago

      Talk to my friend Doug at Sewell, he’ll take SUPER care of you!

      Sewell Subaru of Dallas
      7800 Lemmon Ave.
      Dallas, TX 75209
      Doug Veling – GM

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

  11. Chas 4 years ago

    I am looking at the 2014 or 2015 Subaru Outback for the AWD and for a family car. We are replacing a 2004 Jeep Liberty 4WD and are looking for a bit more room and are attracted to the Subaru for the quality and value.

    Do you have a dealer in the Denver Metro area that you deal with?
    We are looking at the possibility of a lease too? Would you recommend a 2014 or 2015 for a lease?

    Thanks in advance,


    • Jerry 4 years ago

      Chas, the Outback is awesome. I would go with the 2015 model, they made some nice changes to an already great vehicle. Sorry, I only have dealers where the show airs.

      If the miles you drive is 15000 per year or less, then leasing is a great way to go. THANKS for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

  12. Raj 4 years ago

    Subaru Outback 2011 vs 2013 and above – is there a big difference or enhancements in 2013 and above compared to 2011 model?

    We are considering to buy Subaru Outback and wanted to know if it is worth buying an used 2011 subaru outback with 40,000 miles on it or better to buy a later model.

    • Jerry 4 years ago

      Good to hear from you. I don’t recall ay changes from 2011 to 2013 except a few small things, Outback has been great for years.

      If you need a good dealer, check here: https://www.carprousa.com/car-pro-approved-dealers/

      Thanks for listening!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

  13. J Skelton 4 years ago

    Great Show, I listen all the time. A word on Subaru Outback. We are on our 4th. We bought our 2014 last fall, and just returned from a 7,100 mile road trip. We love our Soob! I put very high quality tires on the 17 inch wheels. We regularly get 26-32 miles per gallon. We actually get better mileage at high altitutdes, but, the engine will knock at slow speeds when we get over 7,500 feet, even with high octane fuels. The CVT is awesome! I set the cruise control and sit back. No more of those nasty downshifts going up steep, long grades. We have the 2.5 L engine, and have never needed a 6, even when we backroaded it up in the high Sierras about a month ago. We put 300,000 miles on our first 2002 Legacy Outback, then replaced the engine because the car was still in great shape.

    Subaru has the nicest fit and finish and some awesome colors.

    The weakiest link for me, is that I really hate the location of the center console/cup holder up front. If I have anything in a cup holder, my elbow is banging into it on every corner it seems. But that’s my only issue.

    Subaru just knows how to do this and do it right. I’ve driven in show, ice, rain, mud and even took it elk hunting one season pushing show 2 feet deep with the bumper, with highway tires! And never spun a wheel.

    It’s the only car we will own.

  14. Suzzan 3 years ago

    We’re buying a car for our grandson who is a timid driver and we want an SUV that is big inside as he’s over 6’3 and he has big friends. College grad present. It needs to be safe not to expensive (no Lexus etc.) and are considering this one. We drive a Lexus and they are so very reliable and last forever so I don’t really have any idea about a car that will last a long time and be safe for him. This will probably be his car for over 10 years so it needs to be reliable. We are considering the Subaru Outback, Honda CRV, Volvo SUV and the Nissan Murano. Which would you suggest might best fit our needs? Any other suggestions? thank you in advance!

    • Michele Sanders 3 years ago

      Thanks for listening to the show. I don’t think the CRV or Outback will be large enough. The Volvo XC60 is a great choice and very safe, I would put it at the top of the list, the Murano just after. Of course the lower the miles the better, but both those are good quality. I’d consider the Ford Edge too, it’s terrific.

      Check with our dealers here on the website, they’ll take good care of you.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

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