Which Subaru Outback Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

Since its introduction over two decades ago, the Subaru Outback has become one of the most popular SUVs in the US. A Subaru Outback year to avoid can be difficult to determine because of the global success of the Japanese brand.

Despite 30 years of absolute brilliance, the Subaru Outback has changed through six generations of cars. However, if you’re thinking of buying one, be aware that some years have troubles. The most common causes are coolant leaks, radiator issues, and thermostat failure.

Despite the fact that Subaru’s are known for their dependability, not all of them lived up to expectations when tested. Look at the list I made of the Subaru Outback years to avoid below, so that you can choose the best pre-owned model.

Subaru Outback Years to Avoid (List of Years)

The Subaru Outback has only been produced for a single model year, unlike some other vehicles. Even so, there was a year in 2013 when the company’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. The 2013 is a bad year to buy preowned, and I’ll explain later why.

Aside from that, these are the years in the Subaru Outback you should avoid:

  • 2010 Subaru Outback
  • 2011 Subaru Outback
  • 2013 Subaru Outback (The Year with Most Problems)
  • 2014 Subaru Outback
  • 2015 Subaru Outback
  • 2016 Subaru Outback
  • 2017 Subaru Outback
  • 2018 Subaru Outback

Not all models are created equal, and the models of the last few years have gotten the short end of the stick, bringing a slew of faults and troubles with them.

What Makes These Subaru Outback Years Worth Avoiding?

1. Subaru Outback 2010 Year Problems

Introducing the 4th generation of the Subaru Outback, the automobile was redesigned to be taller and broader, as well as delivering additional inside space.

Additionally, the 2010 Subaru Outback was plagued by a slew of issues, from brake line failure to engine failure. Stalls and oil leaks were common occurrences with the engine, which occasionally failed.

The torque converter would lock up when applying the brakes, and the transmission made an obnoxious noise. This model was included in the Takata recall because of its defective airbags.

2. Subaru Outback 2011 Year Problems

The 2011 Subaru Outback had more issues than its predecessor, including lighting and transmission issues, resulting in hundreds of NHSTA complaints. It was the 4th generation Outback’s second model.

The car’s headlight and bulb would sometimes burn out, melting the headlight housing!

Repairing this car will be quite costly. Transmission jerking and breakdowns were typical. The Takata recall effected this model. The airbags blew up, strewing metal shrapnel across the cabin.

3. Subaru Outback 2013 Year Problems (The One You Should Definitely Avoid)

The 2013 Subaru Outback is without a doubt the worst vehicle the business has ever produced, beset with numerous significant issues that have the NHSTA and customers expressing their displeasure.

Because of its high oil consumption, the engine is the biggest issue with this model.

A class-action complaint was brought against the manufacturer because of the extreme oil consumption, alleging that the company sold engines with defective piston rings, causing oil to leak past them and burn at an alarming rate, leading buyers to spend a small fortune on oil changes.

Transmission and steering issues were also present. Subaru agreed to pay compensation to the consumers who were harmed by the defect.

4. Subaru Outback 2014 Year Problems

Subaru had to develop a product that could salvage its generation, as it was the last in a string of bad cars. Sadly, the 2014 Subaru Outback has a lot of problems.

Subaru issued a recall after numerous owners reported buying large amounts of oil. 2011-2013 models had a defective piston ring, causing oil leakage or excessive combustion. The intense burning caused engine failure, which was discovered considerably later.

When Subaru owners brought their cars in for service, they were informed they used much less oil than they actually did. A class action lawsuit was filed in 2014 and settled in 2016. Subaru ended up paying for the damaged pistons from its customers’ wallets.

5. Subaru Outback 2015 Year Problems

The 2015 Subaru Outback marked the beginning of a new generation for the Subaru Outback. So many issues plagued this model that it has become the most-complained to date.

A fault with the battery made it susceptible to failure. This happened on occasion, when the battery was so low that the engine wouldn’t even begin to warm up.

The windshield was also cheaply made and of poor quality, frequently cracking while driving and posing a serious safety risk.

6. Subaru Outback 2016 Year Problems

The 2016 Subaru Outback maintained the 2015 model’s history of failure, showing customers that this generation was not worth investing in.

Despite having fewer issues than the 2015 Outback, it nevertheless made our list. The battery drained quickly, preventing the engine from starting.

The car’s battery had to be jumped several times a week to start the engine. The windshield was still susceptible to cracking, and the touchscreen was still lacking.

7. Subaru Outback 2017 Year Problems

The 2017 Subaru Outback had many of the same issues as prior iterations, including battery issues.

The battery would regularly fail and the engine would not start. The windshield was still shattered on seemingly little things.

8. Subaru Outback 2018 Year Problems

The 2017 model was an improvement over the infamous 2015 model, but the 2018 Subaru Outback was a step backwards, with more issues than the previous year.

This did not indicate that earlier faults had been resolved, as the dead battery issue persisted, halting engines worldwide.

The windshield still cracked randomly. The touchscreen and navigation were both buggy. Leaning in one direction was a problem.

Which Years are Safe to Buy Used?

However, despite the fact that there are a few Subaru Outback years to avoid, the majority of Subaru models may be highly reliable and fun to drive, with many outstanding features and few issues. All of this is at its peak during the finest years.

Here are the safe years of Subaru outback you can buy-

  • 1994 Subaru Outback
  • 1996 Subaru Outback
  • 1999 Subaru Outback
  • 2005 Subaru Outback
  • 2007 Subaru Outback
  • 2008 Subaru Outback
  • 2021 Subaru Outback
  • 2022 Subaru Outback

Drivers of Subaru Outbacks can choose from a variety of options based on the model’s generation. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to mist.

If you’re looking for a low-mileage vehicle, a good example would be the first-generation Outback.

The third-generation turbo engine is ideal if you need more power and better performance from your SUV.

The fourth and fifth-generation Outbacks, on the other hand, offer the best value for money when it comes to bundled solutions.

They’re the best-handling Outbacks on the market right now thanks to their six-cylinder engines.

Your greatest option for a safe SUV is the fifth-generation model because it includes more safety features.

The 2019 models are a little more expensive because of the technical advances that have been implemented.


Outbacks have been on an incredible journey, allowing people to witness how SUVs have matured.

Despite the fact that there are a variety of Subaru models to pick from, I recommend the 2017 model. And try to avoid the above-mentioned years if you don’t want to spend any money on repairs.

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