• Car Review

2017 Subaru Outback Review

By Autolist Editorial | September 10, 2020

Quick Facts:


  • Excels at tackling common off-road conditions.
  • Generous amount of cargo storage compared to rivals.
  • Provides a nice alternative to the more common SUV or crossover.


  • Some interior materials are sub-par.
  • Underwhelming four-cylinder engine.
  • Base safety features could be more robust.

Would we buy one? Yes.

Vehicle Type: Five-door compact crossover wagon with seating for five.

Price Range: The base model starts at $25,645; the Premium trim starts at $27,695; the Limited trim starts at $32,390; the 3.6R Touring trim starts at $35,995. All prices include destination but are before any options.

Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque.

A 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine is available; it makes 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque.

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with all-wheel-drive is the standard drivetrain configuration for the entire lineup.

Competitors: Volkswagen Alltrack, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, Volvo XC60, Nissan Rogue.

More Photos

See more 2017 Subaru Outback Photos.

Overall Score: 8.2/10

Safety Features: 9/10


All trim levels of the 2017 model year of the Outback offer excellent safety with an array of basic features plus advanced upgrades.

Standard features include four-wheel ABS, electronic stability control, airbags, child safety locks, and traction control. Advanced features like rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring are available.

There are some advanced safety features in the Outback's EyeSight package that are standard on the Touring Tim level and available on the Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium and Limited trims. It includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning.

The NHSTA gave the Outback five out of five-stars, and the IIHS designated it a Top Safety Pick+; both ratings are the highest each agency assigns.

Value: 8/10


The midsize Subaru Outback continues to be a reasonably priced new car in a segment of mostly crossovers and SUVs.

There are four trim levels for the 2017 model year: Base (2.5i), Premium, Limited, and Touring.

The base 2.5i starts at $25,645.

Premium trim starts at $27,695.

The Limited trim starts at $32,390, with the Touring models starting at $35,995.

All prices include destination but no options.

For the money, the Premium and Limited are good choices that have advanced safety features available plus other goodies like heated leather front and rear seats.

Tech Features: 7/10


Base tech includes a 6.2-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, a USB port, and a four-speaker stereo audio system.

The infotainment system is adequate, but certain common features like ApplePlay and AndroidAuto are absent.

For the Outback Premium trim, a larger seven-inch touchscreen is provided with satellite radio and a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and fog lights.

The Limited trim level gets heated rear seats, a power liftgate, an upgraded Harman Kardon 12-speaker stereo system, driver's seat adjustments, and proximity keyless entry with push-button start.

Finally, the Touring trim comes stock with extras, including advanced safety features in the EyeSight package and navigation system.

While not overly impressive, the Outback offers intuitive, user-friendly touchscreens and isn't lacking for basic infotainment and some decent audio upgrades.

Practicality: 9/10


One thing the 2017 Subaru Outback can boast about is ample cargo space. It offers 35.5 cubic feet behind its rear seats; that number jumps up to 73.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Overall interior storage upfront is fair. A good size center console well can hold daily-use items.

Rear seat legroom is ample for adults, and the headroom isn't compromised even in the middle. The rear seats offer recline.

The Subaru Outback has comfortable seating; attractive woodgrain veneer paneling and leather upholstery are available.

The decent ground clearance makes the Outback ready for off-road conditions.

Styling & Design: 8/10


While Subaru has kept up appearances with near-luxury rivals like the AWD Volkswagen Alltrack, it is more at home with off-road functionality and less concerned with looks. But that doesn't mean some style is missing.

The higher-tier trim levels like the 3.6R Limited and Touring models get real woodgrain veneer paneling, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, and perforated leather seats in rich java brown color palettes, which add a touch of opulence.

Elsewhere, the Outback has an assertive, sporty SUV look with roof rails, alloy wheels, and a moonroof available.

Driving Experience: 8/10


The 2017 Outback didn't change much in performance over previous model years, and that is not a bad thing. Instead, Subaru follows the consistent performance of previous versions of the Outback with a tried and true four-cylinder and a capable six-cylinder engine hooked up to a CVT.

Handling and responsiveness excel on light and moderate dirt roads but are less engaging at highway speeds. It is on par with rivals like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in overall performance.

If you regularly transport a family or haul loads, consider the stronger six-cylinder engine 3.6R Limited or Touring trim.

Fuel Efficiency: 8/10


Fuel economy is on par with rivals in the segment for the Subaru Outback. The six-cylinder engine does consume more fuel than the small four-cylinder, making it less fuel-efficient, so if fuel economy is important to you, be mindful of this when making your choice on powertrains.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine gets 25/32/28 city/hwy/combined EPA estimated mpg.

The 3.6-liter gets 20/27/22 city/hwy/combined estimate mpg by the EPA.

More Photos

See more 2017 Subaru Outback Photos.