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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I’m a new member here and am in the market for an Outback. We are looking at 4th and 5th generation cars, but my wife is gravitating towards 5th generation for the updated interior, touch screen etc... We would like to spend around $15k on one and would ideally like it to have fewer then 80,000 miles. Looking on CarGurus, this puts us in the 2014 - 2016 model year range.

Is there anything I should look for or stay away from in this range as far as major (costly) issues?
 

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2019 Subaru Outback
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300 Posts
Some 2013-2015 models burn oil at a greater than normal rate, but I don't know how you would determine that easily. Pulling the plugs is not an easy task on some of these. My 2013 Legacy burned a quart every 4,500 miles at under 20,000 miles, and some were worse.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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2,700 Posts
See if you can discover the prior owner’s age, and hopefully it is just one owner. If the prior owners were like 75 years old, they probably drove it lightly. The biggest adventures were probably trips to the golf course at the speed limit. Maintenance was probably done on time by the book at their most trusted mechanic. In contrast, if the prior owner was like 25, then it is definitely a well-used (abused) Outback.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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328 Posts
See if you can discover the prior owner’s age, and hopefully it is just one owner. If the prior owners were like 75 years old, they probably drove it lightly. The biggest adventures were probably trips to the golf course at the speed limit. Maintenance was probably done on time by the book at their most trusted mechanic. In contrast, if the prior owner was like 25, then it is definitely a well-used (abused) Outback.
You are right on, at least for some of us. I’ve had my 2018 for two and a half years, yet have only about 11,000 miles on it. I’m 83.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback
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300 Posts
See if you can discover the prior owner’s age, and hopefully it is just one owner. If the prior owners were like 75 years old, they probably drove it lightly. The biggest adventures were probably trips to the golf course at the speed limit. Maintenance was probably done on time by the book at their most trusted mechanic. In contrast, if the prior owner was like 25, then it is definitely a well-used (abused) Outback.
I don't know that I would agree. I might have driven harder when I was younger, but I never abused a car. I think understanding car maintenance and issues is more important, and that's not necessarily age related.

Other than the one car that was a recall and maintenance nightmare I don't think I've had a single vehicle I wouldn't repurchase if it could somehow magically be delivered to me in the same condition as when I sold it (ignoring the difficulty of getting parts for an old car and how often you did need to adjust and replace things).
 

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2016 OB 2.5 Premium w/ES
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It can definitely be a demographics as far as if the previous owner drove their car lightly or not. We have a 2016 OB with the 2.5L. Overall, it's been a reliable car for us. Our only real gripe is the lack of power in the low range/off the line. Other than that, it pulls very well in the mountains, and the CVT transmission takes good advantage of the torque curve.

Like others have mentioned, some of the 2013-2015's has oil consumption issues. Log into Subaru America's website to check to see if your potential cars VIN is on the recall list. If so, avoid it and move on. We had a 2014 with oil consumption issues and chose to trade ours in on a 2016.

We drive a lot. We have 85,000 miles on our 2016 OB, and it's done well. We have all service done at the dealership, and have faithfully rotated the tires on every full synthetic oil change (6,000 miles). Oil changes will cost you around $70+. The original battery isn't the best, so we upgraded ours to a higher amperage.

Good luck on your hunt!
 

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2016 Outback Limited Titanium
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395 Posts
I drove my 2016 Outback in Ltd trim with a 2.5 engine for 85K trouble-free miles. Just routine maintenance and I did drive her off road, over sand and on long road trips. Never any issues. I traded her in for a new 2019 only because the dealership made me a too good to pass up trade in and I wanted eyesight. Otherwise, I had planned to keep my 2016 for well over 100K miles. If you find one well maintained, you should not have issues with 2016 model year.


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I was worried about getting an engine that burns a ton of oil but have owned 3 different 2015's now and none of them use any oil. Two were company cars owned to 50k miles and we currently have a 2015 outback with 150k miles. This doesn't mean that there aren't outbacks out there that do burn oil or needed engine replacements under warranty, I was hopeful that it would be taken care of.

I think you will be better off finding a 2015+ and finding one with Subaru's eyesight system, it is excellent. None of the outbacks have a major reliability pitfall since 2012(last year of the headgasket engine). Lifetime will most likely be limited by the CVT transmission, the failure trend isn't very strong yet.

Whichever car you do buy, take it to an independent service facility for an inspection. The biggest risk of buying a used car is buying someone else's headache in the form of accident or flood damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for the replies. We may expand our search to include the 2017-2018 model years as well. The only other vehicle in the running is a Honda CRV, but I just learned about their new 1.5T engine having oil dilution issues, so It’s looking more like we will wind up in an Outback.
 

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The 2014+ foresters compare favorably to the CRV and are more practical in a number of ways. I think they are generally cheaper too, but their eyesight system isn't as good as the outback until 2017+ models. Something you might like to check out.
 

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2018 3.6R Limited
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129 Posts
It may be over your budget, but the '18 midyear refresh really added some nice features your wife would appreciate.

There's an old saying; if you turn on the radio and the presets are all hard rock stations, walk away, the transmission is trashed. o_O
 

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2019 Subaru Outback
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300 Posts
Because of the years you are considering, you have an opportunity not to have Eyesight. Don’t get it.
Huh? Why? I've had both and while I find the steering assist annoying I find it much better to have the protection. Also are there vehicles without Eyesight that have Adaptive Cruise Control? I know they don't necessarily have to go together, but I'm thinking on the Outbacks they might. I don't even like cruise control, but Adaptive Cruise Control is a whole different ballgame.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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It sounds like the original poster prioritizes minimizing issues over having features that Eyesight offers. The car will be out of warranty, and Eyesight is a monster electronics system. If Eyesight ain’t working right, then it is going to cost a lot to fix it out of warranty. Not having Eyesight costs $0 to purchase and $0 to fix. Meanwhile, he has been driving fine all his life without Eyesight.

The original poster should also be aware that many (and probably most) people on this site keep their Outback for 5 years max or until the warranty is done. Nothing wrong with that, but they are NOT long term thinkers with respect to their Outback.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback
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Meanwhile, he has been driving fine all his life without Eyesight.
That's not really relevant statistically. People who have been killed in accidents can;t come here to ask advice.

And I'm not so sure I buy the maintenance item. Unless you break a windshield I'm not sure what would be needed. It's primarily an electronic system, and electronics don't tend to break after the first year.
 

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2018 3.6R Limited
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...and the OP says his wife IS interested in the new features: "my wife is gravitating towards 5th generation for the updated interior, touch screen etc."
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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That's not really relevant statistically. People who have been killed in accidents can;t come here to ask advice.

And I'm not so sure I buy the maintenance item. Unless you break a windshield I'm not sure what would be needed. It's primarily an electronic system, and electronics don't tend to break after the first year.
I didn’t buy anything either. For my zero Eyesight, I spent $0 to buy it, $0 to maintain it, $0 trying to fix, and zero time going back to the dealer to address any issues. Now, the original poster needs to chime in and tell us about his priorities.
 

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2017 Subaru Outback Limited
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31 Posts
If you are expanding your search to the 2017 and 2018 model year, you might want to consider a Certified Pre-owned Vehicle which gives you an extended power train Warranty, with an option to purchase wrap around coverage too, all backed by Subaru.
 
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