2013 Subaru Outback Overview

Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - January 8, 2013

The Subaru Outback has long been a 'tweener type of vehicle, as it is too small to be an SUV, yet too utilitarian to be a station wagon. This firmly plants it in the classification now known as the crossover market. Despite the confusion, the Outback remains one of Subaru's best-selling vehicles.

Using extreme care not to rock the boat too much, the 2013 Outback arrives with only basic changes from the 2012 model year. The front fascia has been slightly revised, giving the Outback a smoother nose. Subaru also revised the Outback’s standard 2.5-liter engine to get an additional 2 mpg in the city and 1 mpg on the highway, along with a revised constantly variable transmission and suspension. A few extra optional features also make their debuts in 2013, including remote start, adaptive cruise control and a collision-avoidance system.

For the 2013 model year, the Outback comes in five trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 3.6R and 3.6R Limited. The 2.5i trim levels feature the fuel-sipping 2.5-liter engine that nets the Outback 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The 2.5i includes only the most basic standard features, like cloth interior and a quad-speaker sound system. The 2.5i Premium adds two more speakers and a set of alloy rims. The 2.5i Limited adds in all of the luxury features, like a premium stereo and leather seating. The 3.6R trims feature a less economical, but more powerful, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that gets 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The 3.6R trim comes with just basic amenities, just like the 2.5i, and the 3.6R Limited is loaded to the gills, like the 2.5i Limited. Something that has always set the Outback apart from the competition is the fact that every trim level comes standard with Subaru’s famed all-wheel-drive system.

When it comes to competition, the list is a little thin, but there are some out there. One of the Outback’s closest competitors is the 2013 Toyota Venza, which comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower, cloth seating, and 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Next up is the 2013 Volvo XC70, which features a standard 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine, cloth interior, and 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Another alternative is the 2013 Audi Allroad, which comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, loads of standard features, like leather seating, and gets 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Lastly, is the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, which is a little bit of a stretch, as it’s closer to an SUV than a wagon. It includes a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower, cloth seating, and get 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

As you can see, competition is not easy to come by for the Outback, hence its success. However, there are still some options out there, so Subaru needs to keep advancing its Outback to keep it ahead of the curve.

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