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2016 Subaru Outback Review

The 2016 Subaru Outback is a top performer in its class, thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, spacious cabin and cargo bay, and good safety and reliability ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Ample seating and cargo space
  • Good safety and reliability ratings
  • Lackluster base engine

New for 2016

  • Updated steering system
  • Available lane keep assist and Starlink telematics

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Subaru Outback's #2 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Wagons category. It was the winner of our 2016 Best Wagon for Families award and a finalist for our 2016 Best Wagon for the Money award. Currently the Subaru Outback has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 26 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Subaru Outback Overview

Is the 2016 Subaru Outback a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Subaru Outback is a good used wagon. Its positive press reviews and lengthy list of safety features helped it win our 2016 Best Wagon for Families award. Its standard all-wheel drive provides excellent traction even in slippery conditions. Inside, there’s plenty of room for your whole clan and all your gear. If you’re looking for power, however, skip the base power plant in favor of the available six-cylinder engine.

Why You Can Trust Us

We researched 26 Subaru Outback reviews and included information on price, reliability, fuel economy, and more to give you a complete overview of the 2016 Outback.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we refuse pricey gifts and trips from automakers, and a third party handles the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Subaru Outback?

Based on about 900 listings for the 2016 Subaru Outback on our site, you can expect to pay between $19,000 and $30,000 for this wagon. The average list price for a 2016 Outback is $24,700. Prices fluctuate based on demand as well as the vehicle's mileage, features, and condition.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Subaru Outback Cost to Own?

There are costs to owning a vehicle aside from the initial purchase price. Expect to pay about $21,200 over five years for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance on the 2016 Subaru Outback. That amounts to about $4,200 per year, which is typical for a 2016 wagon. While these costs are about $1,100 less than the 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid's, they are about $1,000 more than the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen's.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Outback?

With a starting price of $25,895, a new 2018 Subaru Outback costs about $1,200 more than the average price of a used 2016 Outback. The new Outback sees interior and exterior styling updates, as well as upgraded infotainment functionality with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You may want to consider purchasing a new Outback if you want the added security of the lengthy factory warranty or if the smartphone integration technology interests you.

Read about the new Subaru Outback »

For less than the average price of a used 2016 Outback, you can get a new 2018 wagon. A 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, for example, starts at $21,685. When equipped with all-wheel drive, it starts at $23,935, which is still cheaper than the average price of a 2016 Outback. And unlike the Outback, the Golf SportWagen comes with a strong base engine. You might also consider a 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid. A new C-Max Hybrid (starting at $24,120) costs about the same as an average 2016 Outback, but it gets better fuel economy and delivers quicker acceleration. However, the Ford lacks standard all-wheel drive and has less cargo space than the Subaru.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Subaru Outback?

The 2016 Subaru Outback has an above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Outback reliability »

2016 Subaru Outback Recalls

At the time of writing, the 2016 Outback has three open recalls. The first addresses a transmission fluid leak. Another prevents the drive shaft from detaching from the rear differential. The third recall corrects a potential loss of steering ability.

See more information on Subaru Outback safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Subaru Outback Is Best?

Launched for 2015, the current generation of the Outback continues into the 2018 model year. You could save some money with a 2015 Outback, but it won’t have the 2016's upgraded steering and added available features like lane keep assist, emergency telematics services, and smartphone app connectivity. The 2017 Outback is available with rear automatic emergency braking, but its average price is about $3,600 more than the 2016 model's. Stick with the 2016 Outback.

 Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Outback »

Which Used Subaru Outback Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Subaru Outback comes in four trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited. The base 2.5i model comes with keyless entry and the Starlink infotainment system, which employs a 6.2-inch touch screen, a USB port, HD Radio, smartphone app connectivity, and Bluetooth for phone calls and streaming audio. The 2.5i Premium adds a 7-inch touch screen, alloy wheels, fog lights, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and an all-weather package that includes heated side mirrors, heated front seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer. Outback 2.5i Limited models tack on a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, wood accents, and a power-adjustable passenger seat. Finally, the 3.6R Limited trim adds a V6 engine, dual exhaust, and HID low-beam headlights.

Go with the 3.6R Limited trim to avoid the poky base four-cylinder engine. For those happy with the base engine, 2.5i Limited models give you the same tech features as the 3.6R Limited at a lower price.

See 2016 Subaru Outback trims and specs »

What Does Subaru's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Subaru offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. Subaru provides no additional coverage for CPO vehicles, so buyers receive the remainder of the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. However, buyers can purchase additional coverage. Every CPO Subaru must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like owner loyalty discounts, a one-year Starlink Safety Plus trial subscription, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Subaru’s CPO program isn’t particularly robust. Among affordable automakers, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and many others have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Outback?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Subaru Outback a 2016 Top Safety Pick+, giving it the highest score of Good in all five individual crash test categories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2016 Outback a perfect five-star overall rating. It earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

The only standard driver assistance feature in the 2016 Outback is a rearview camera. Available active safety features include rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and Subaru's EyeSight system. This package includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and automatic pre-collision braking. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is also available.

See Outback safety scores »

2016 Subaru Outback Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Subaru Outback or 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen?

While the 2016 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen doesn’t have as much cargo space as the Outback, its 66.5 cubic feet is still a lot for the class. Seating is spacious in both rows, cabin materials are top-notch, and the updated infotainment system is user-friendly. On winding roads, the Golf SportWagen is nimble, but it's not available with all-wheel drive (VW added available AWD to the Golf SportWagen for 2017). If you frequently traverse slick roads, the AWD Outback is the better choice.

Which Is Better: 2016 Subaru Outback or 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid?

If you prioritize fuel efficiency over space, the 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid is a good choice. It returns 41/36 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class. The C-Max Hybrid handles with poise, and its gas-electric powertrain produces zippy acceleration. Inside, maximum cargo space measures an underwhelming 52.6 cubic feet. However, there’s plenty of seating space for adults in both rows, and the cabin is constructed with premium materials.

Compare the Outback, Golf SportWagen, and C-Max Hybrid »

2016 Outback Performance

How Does the 2016 Subaru Outback Drive?

The Outback’s four-cylinder base engine produces 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, but it feels underpowered. The top trim has a six-cylinder engine that’s more potent around town and on the highway, producing 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard in both models. The Outback remains poised through turns, and the ride is comfortable. All-wheel drive comes standard, which helps the Outback tackle hills and mud. However, it’s not a serious off-road vehicle.

Does the 2016 Subaru Outback Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Outback achieves impressive fuel economy, despite having all-wheel drive. The base engine returns 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. With the six-cylinder engine, expect 20/27 mpg city/highway.

Read more about Outback performance »

2016 Model Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Outback Seat?

The Subaru Outback seats five in its well-built cabin. The front seats are supportive, and the rear seats have plenty of room, even for tall adults. Cloth upholstery comes standard. Some used models have leather-trimmed and heated seats along with power-adjustable front seats.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Subaru Outback?

The Outback has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Outback's LATCH system a Marginal rating (the second worst) for ease of use.

2016 Subaru Outback Features

Standard features in the 2016 Outback include Bluetooth, a USB port, smartphone app integration, and an infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touch screen. Available features include satellite radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, navigation, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. The infotainment systems are easy to use, but the screen's low positioning on the dashboard can make it difficult to view details on the screen.

See 2016 Subaru Outback specs »

Read more about Outback interior »

2016 Subaru Outback Dimensions

Subaru Outback Cargo Space

Even among wagons, the Outback has an excellent cargo capacity. The rear seats fold down, boosting cargo space from 35.5 to 73.3 cubic feet.

2016 Outback Length and Weight

From front to back, the Outback measures a little less than 16 feet. Its curb weight is between 3,593 and 3,814 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Subaru Outback Built?

The 2016 Outback was manufactured at Subaru’s plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

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