2018 Subaru Outback Buying Guide

by Heather Platt | Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

From outside, the 2018 Outback has a clean look that’s similar to the rest of the Subaru range. The front and rear have been reshaped and fitted with new headlights and taillamps. A wide range of new wheel designs are also available, along all trim levels. Overall, it’s a slightly more upscale design, which is exactly what you’ll find when stepping inside.

2018 Subaru

The dashboard and infotainment system have received a substantial refresh and have a more modern look and feel. Higher-quality materials help give the Outback cabin an overdue upgrade, since the previous model was starting to significantly trail its rivals when it came to interior style and amenities.

Mechanically, the 2018 Outback carries on as before, with the same four and six-cylinder engine options, both of which are coupled to standard all-wheel drive and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) across all trim levels.

Here you’ll find all the information needed to make an educated buying decision if you’re considering a 2018 Subaru Outback, including safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing.

Is the 2018 Subaru Outback Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Subaru Outback an overall crash-test rating of five stars. The Outback scored perfect five-star ratings in front and side impact tests, along with a four-star rating for rollover resistance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, gave the Outback its “Top Safety Pick+” — the highest possible rating. The Outback scored “good” ratings in every crash test. It also earned a good rating for the effectiveness of its headlights, along the ease of use of onboard LATCH anchors for child seats.

Ratings may differ for Outbacks from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you’re researching.

Is the Outback reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2016 Outback, before the current model year’s significant makeover. At the time, it gave the Outback three out of five possible stars for Overall Quality — an “average” score. The Outback also registered a three-star rating in the category of Overall Performance and Design.

Scoring improves when it comes to reliability, however. The 2016 Outback earned four out of five stars when it came to the Predicted Reliability category. That should ease concerns about issues this popular wagon might have once it gets a few miles on the odometer.

While it doesn’t sit as high off the ground as many crossovers or SUVs, the Outback’s lower ride height makes stowing things on the available roof rack that much easier. A lower center of gravity also helps improve ride and handling, especially coupled with the Outback’s boxer motors that lay low and flat in the engine compartment.

Calling it “versatile, safe and efficient,” it’s no wonder the Outback remains so popular, and why it earned a place in our recommendation of Best Cars for $30,000.


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