2013 Subaru Outback at the 2012 New York Auto Show


  • Competes with: Toyota Venza, Volvo XC70
  • Looks like: The Outback gets some styling tweaks for a more rugged look
  • Drivetrain: New 173-hp, 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine; 256-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine carries over
  • Hits dealerships: This summer

Subaru's Outback gets freshened styling, a revised powertrain and more features for 2013. The midsize wagon was last updated for model-year 2010.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

Exterior styling updates like new headlights, grille, front bumper and fog lights combine to give the new Outback a more rugged look. For 2013, the model's standard roof crossbars have an adjustable design, allowing them to be moved to accommodate larger items. Under the skin, Subaru says improvements to the Outback's steering, body structure and suspension make for a smoother ride with a decrease in body roll and increase in handling agility.

Outback 2.5 models will again be offered in base, Premium and Limited for 2013. A revised four-cylinder powertrain increases torque and horsepower slightly from the 2012 model. The new 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder puts out 173 horsepower and 174 pounds-feet of torque, compared to 170 hp and 170 pounds-feet with the old engine.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a new version of Subaru's continuously variable automatic transmission. The latter features a six-speed manual mode with steering-wheel paddle shifters. Subaru predicts that CVT-equipped models will see a bump in fuel economy with an estimated 24/30 mpg city/highway, compared with 22/29 mpg in 2012. As usual, all-wheel drive is again standard. Outback 3.6R models will be offered in base and Limited trims and carryover with the same 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission.

Upgrades to the Outback's interior include what the automaker calls more comfortable seat fabric; it's joined by new wood grain trim in the cabin. Newly optional is a Special Appearance Package with keyless access and start as well as driver-seat memory system.

Subaru is using the Outback and Legacy to debut a new safety feature. The EyeSight driver-assist system uses a wide-angle camera and combines the wagon's adaptive cruise control, precollision braking system and lane departure warning program to provide a more comprehensive driver safety system.

The 2013 Outback goes on sale this summer.


Chris K

I'd seriously consider replacing my wife's 2005 Outback Sport if I could get this new Outback in a more wagon-like body.

I know it's irrational, but I won't buy something that looks like an SUV. I don't like driving tall vehicles. And I could barely get my wife into a larger car than a Focus.

And now the Outback Sport is going Mad Max... my wife's car has a few years left before I replace it, I hope Subaru brings back their wagons soon, or our third Subaru will have been our last.

Chris K,
I own a 2010 Outback and would say it isn't a tall vehicle in terms of getting in and getting out. It's a nice compromise height between a sedan and SUV. But my wife went from a Jeep Grand Cherokee to her first Outback so maybe it's easier to go down in size than up.

Max Reid

Good that they are applying CVT in V4 version. People are very particular about mileage now a days with gas prices at 3.92/gallon.

Chris K

My wife loved the last gen Focus sedan, HATED the Mazda Tribute she drove for a day during some service to our Miata (I thought the Tribute was very car-like), and turned down a 2005 Forester because it was too tall (those were pretty small cars in 2005!).

I guess I'm trying to say the new Outback would be a tough sell for her, and to be honest seeing the new Outback next to a CR-V a while back invoked my SUV angst, so it would be a bitter pill to swallow for me too. :)

I like everything about the new Outback except the overall height. I know it would be easy enough to drop the car a couple inches... my '08 Impreza had a set of STi lowering springs available right off the bat. I just don't want to go buying what has become a pretty expensive car and immediately work on it. Not when Volvo's wagons are starting to overlap with Subaru on price and are a (IMHO) proper wagon height.


Get a VW Jetta sportwagen.

Chris K

I wish they were AWD! With the wagon market so nearly consumed by crossover SUVs I'm starting to inch closer to moving back to FWD. That'll probably mean I'll be the one stuck driving the FWD car while my wife gets the AWD car, however. And she doesn't even use it to do donuts!


It's a little higher price range but how about Audi A3 or A4 Avant? They are AWD.


Too bad no 6 speed manual for the 3.6 boxing 6 engine.

Chris K

Hm, hadn't thought of the A3. It's a pretty small car, but it's a lot more affordable than the A4 Avant. (Or the now-dead 328xi wagon)

I think this car has great performance on the road. I know it is made from high quality materials.


You can't really compare a CRV to a Subaru Outback. It compares to the Forester. The Outback is about 10 inches longer and 2-3 inches wider then the CRV. Even though Subaru has more ground clearance then the CRV, RAV 4, and the Ford Escape at 8.7 inches they also cut their doors wider and lower for easier access in and out of the vehicle. Audi has an excellent AWD but still is second place to Subaru statisticly and twice the price. Not to mention in the long run you will be paying HIGH PRICES for maintenance. Subaru is the best product on the road. Top Safety Picks on all models (IIHS) Highest resale value (ALG,KELLYBLUEBOOK.COM), #1 Automaker (CONSUMERREPORTS.ORG), and most fuel effecient AWD system in America. Can't beat those numbers. LOVE, It's what makes a Subaru a Subaru.


Chris K, why not the Subaru XV Crosstrek that comes out this Fall? Hatchback wagon with 8.7 inch ground clearance. Just a thought.

Chris K

Larry, I've owned three Subarus and that sounded like an ad even to me!

188L x 71W x 65H
8.7" ground clearance

178L x 71W x 65H
6.8" ground clearance

Forget the Forester, the Outback slots in somewhere between a small and mid-size SUV. My whole point is, I don't want an SUV. My wife (who will be the primary driver) and I dislike tall vehicles


ChrisK, don't blame Subaru for the move to change the styling from wagon to suv. As I asked our region rep. Why the change to the higher stance, because many of our customers were complaining of how the loved the wagon style. His response was not for more market share. But one that surprised me. It has to do with EPA Regs on mpg. So the raised the suspension just enough to be considered a SUV. You are not alone in your love for the wagon.


I have had so many sports cars, even a WRX before my Outback, and I can honestly say the Outback is my favorite car EVER! I just returned from a 900 mile roadtrip and I got and honest 28 miles per gallon...amazing! I would never drive an SUV, way too big, but the Outback, to me, is the ultimate compromise. Superb AWD system, excellent fuel economy and an interior that rivals a Lexus.

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