The 2016 Subaru Outback: A roomy and reliable family waggon

The 2016 Subaru Outback: A roomy and reliable family waggon

Written by Sanket Goyal, In Cars, Published On
May 28, 2024

The fifth-generation Subaru Outback has been a huge seller since it came out last year. It is a rugged but stylish wagon/crossover. Not only have Outback sales gone up a lot, but they are now among the highest in the country for big SUVs and wagons. The only cars in that class that sold more than the Outback in June were the Holden Captiva, the Toyota Prado, the Toyota Kluger, and the Hyundai Santa Fe. For the year so far, the Outback has sold more than the Forester, which is the only other Subaru stablemate.

2016 Subaru Outback Specifications



ModelSubaru Outback 2.5i Premium
Engine2.5-liter “boxer” four-cylinder
Power Output129 kW (173 hp)
Torque235 Nm (173 lb-ft)
TransmissionContinuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters
Drive TypeSymmetrical All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (Combined)7.3 L/100 km
Safety RatingsIIHS Top Safety Pick+, 5-star NHTSA rating
Interior FeaturesDual-zone climate control, heated front seats, power liftgate, LED headlights, push-button start
Infotainment System7-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, connectivity for apps
Seating Capacity5
Cargo VolumeUp to 1,801 liters with rear seats folded
Additional FeaturesRoof rails, fog lights, full-size spare tire, X-Mode terrain management, Subaru EyeSight system
PriceStarting at $41,990 (2.5i Premium)

People like the bright new look

2016 Subaru Outback

People have clearly been interested in the radical changes that came with the latest crop of Outbacks. Even Subaru’s tough black body covering around the wheel arches, fog lights, rear bumper, and side skirts, which used to be a point of contention among SUV fans, is now generally liked.

Even though the Outback isn’t really an SUV, it created its market when it came out as a higher, more powerful version of the old Legacy Waggon. The Outback is one of a kind because it is the only wagon SUV that has a straight competitor. The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, a raised all-wheel drive wagon, and the Skoda Octavia Scout, a midsize passenger car, are the best alternatives.

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Due to its size and price, the Outback goes up against bigger three-row cars like the Holden Captiva and Colorado 7, as well as specialized SUVs like the Toyota Prado, Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Ford Territory, and Everest. These are more expensive and look more like regular SUVs, but they have a lot more space. Some customers might look at both the Outback and more high-end small SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson.

The Premium Mid-Trim Tester with All the Tools

We’re testing the 2.5i Premium trim, which is in the middle of the price range. At $41,990 before on-road costs, it cuts in half the price difference between the top-of-the-line $48,490 3.6R Premium and the base $35,990 2.5i. One 2.0D costs $36,490, and the other is $42,990. Both are 2.0D Premium units. Everything in the Outback comes with symmetrical all-wheel drive as standard. Diesel models can have either a continuously variable automatic gearbox (CVT) or a 6-speed manual gearbox. When our 2.5i Premium came, it came with the CVT and paddle shifters.

Features of Signature Subaru

The Outback has some of the unique qualities that have helped Subaru build a loyal fan group, especially among daring buyers. Its “boxer” horizontally opposed engine layout and the low center of gravity of a standard symmetrical AWD system make it easier to drive. The Outback is truly capable in all weather situations thanks to these two unique Subaru features, even though it’s not a serious off-road vehicle.

The Outback has a lot of excellent features at a fair price, no matter what level of style you choose. All versions come with roof rails, fog lights, a full-size spare tire, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen entertainment system with a rearview camera, “X-Mode” terrain management with hill descent control, and Subaru’s great EyeSight driver aid system.

The Premium has extra convenience features like heated front seats, LED headlights, a power liftgate, and a push-button start. It can also connect to apps. Electric seats, leather seating, ambient lighting, a sunglasses holder, two USB ports, and more are some of the other features that make this a helpful car. To put it another way, its regular material really packs a punch above its weight class.

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Inside, it’s big and useful

.The Outback is great for families because it has a big, flexible interior, which is one of its best features. The front seats are very comfortable and offer good support. There is enough space for your head and legs. It’s the same for the roomy back seats, which have armrests that fold down, air vents in the back, and valuable storage areas like map pockets and door bins. The wide liftgate opening and 60/40 split-folding seatbacks give you more ways to carry your stuff than any other vehicle. When set up to its full 1,801-liter size, the Outback can easily fit bigger things like bikes or household items.

The basic 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system was kept simple by Subaru by adding physical buttons for features that are used a lot. The design is suitable for your body and almost removes frustration and the need to learn.

Good enough A rough look and refined details

2016 Subaru Outback

Inside, there is just the right amount of excellent polish and brutal capacity. But that’s not the case with the Outback’s design, which Subaru fully supported. Its SUV-like shape, big metal wheels, and roof rails show that it is ready for off-road use. Still, the LED lights, smooth body lines, and sculpted back profile give it an athletic and stylish look. A lot of SUVs and crossovers don’t quite hit the right mix between being big and looking good.

Good but not remarkable Motivational for performance The Outback 2.5i Premium has a continuously variable gearbox (CVT) and a 2.5-liter “boxer” four-cylinder engine that makes 129kW and 235Nm. This engine is good enough for daily driving, but it’s not as strong or quick-responding as some of its competitors. The CVT’s remarkably smooth and well-tuned operation somewhat makes up for the powertrain’s low output. In town, it feels a little lively, but when passing or turning onto a highway, you need to be careful with the accelerator. It uses gas well for a car of this size; the 9.2L/100km we tried and the 7.3L/100km combined that the company says it can do both pretty well.

The Outback’s driving and ride are much better than any problems with the engine. Subaru’s famous all-wheel drive system gives the car excellent turning grip and stability, and the suspension does a great job of smoothing out bumps and holes. Even though the mood is sporty and tense, passengers are never heavily punished for rough parts. The grown and sure-of-its-self Outback is a great car to drive because it strikes the perfect balance between comfort and agility.

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The X-Mode system records real off-road skills

.For Outback buyers who want to go off-road, Subaru’s “X-Mode” terrain control technology gives them excellent off-road capabilities. When X-Mode is turned on, it adjusts the multi-mode AWD system, traction control, and engine response to handle slippery, loose, or uneven ground. It can handle even tough climbs and descents thanks to its hill-downhill control. The instrument cluster gives specific data about the vehicle’s dynamics to keep you informed. The Outback did better in my off-road tests than just a soft-roader, but it wasn’t really built to rock crawl.

Outstanding Progress in Safety

2016 Subaru Outback

One thing that makes Subaru stand out is that its cars get the best safety scores in their class. The 2016 Outback brings that tradition to the next generation. It has earned the prestigious IIHS Top Safety Pick+ title and a 5-star rating from the NHTSA for overall, frontal, and side impact protection. The EyeSight suite of driving assistance technologies from Subaru stands out. It has active safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and more. There is a lot of peace of mind that comes from driving aids like SRVD (Side/Rear Vehicle Detection), blind spot tracking, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Bottom Line

If there is one bad thing about the 2016 Outback, it’s that the guarantee coverage is barely good enough. The basic warranty only covers three years and as many miles as you want. The powertrain guarantee covers five years and 60,000 miles. A number of well-known companies now offer more full packages, and some of them even include free regular maintenance. At least Subaru pays for the first visit after 7,500 miles.

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