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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 25 years of driving Loyale wagons, it's time for a new car. I'm considering a 4th or 5th generation Outback, but not really sure what year to go with, as they all seem to have different issues. I'm looking for a long term car (hoping to drive it 10+ years and get 200,000 out of it), so my main concern is reliability and keeping maintenance and repair costs down. With that in mind, are there certain years/configurations that stand out as more dependable/less expensive than others? Any particular years/configurations that really suck and should be avoided? (what are the issues that model has?)

I'm not worried about 2.4 vs 3.6 engine as either is acceptable after driving the 1.8 for years. Don't care what bells and whistles it has, my main focus is being dependable and not facing major repair expenses like replacing the transmission. Is there a particular year(s) where the CVT seems more reliable than others? That seems to be a major problem with the current Outbacks.
Please let me know where your knowledge/experience comes from ie an owner of said model (or of multiple models), a mechanic, sales manager, etc. I'd like to see what people in the trenches think vs all the marketing fluff put out by Consumer Reports, Motortrend and the like!



Thanks in advance for your help!


 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,372 Posts

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2014 OB 3.6R
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67 Posts
My '14 3.6R now has 102K miles. I rarely open the hood. Put tires on it at 38K and they're still on there. Still has plenty of brake pads, I change oil every 7500-10K have not had a single problem with it. Oh the stock battery died at 75K or so. AND I dont baby it. Never had a more reliable inexpensive to maintain vehicle. And Ive had quite a few since I began driving in 1974.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,642 Posts
all cars can break and used cars have increased risk of breakage

newer better than older

fewer prev owners better than more

good previous maintenance better than poor

good present condition better than poor
 

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2019 Subaru Outback Touring 2.5i
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311 Posts
Conventional wisdom would say 2019 would be a good year. End of the life cycle run, Most of the kinks worked out with this generation in the last year.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium
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625 Posts
I like my 14 with with 2.4 and CVT since they did away with the timing belt and went to a chain its one less item to replace but if the CVT makes you leary go with the 3.6 and 5eat its a pretty bullet proof combo
 

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2019 3.6R Touring Wilderness Green Metalic
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197 Posts
5th Gen 2018 or 2019 . The 2019 Outback Touring 3.6R is the one I chose .
Nice ride , quiet , handles good , comfortable & mileage is very good also .
I avg 26.5 mpg mostly highway miles at 80 mph ?
 

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2018 OB 2.5 Ltd, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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3,461 Posts
Without any real proof, I feel like 2017 and 2019 are the most reliable of the 2015-2019 generation. 2017 is the third year of the generation and the last year before the mid-generation refresh. 2019 is the second year of the mid-generation refresh. Using the rule of “first year of the generation has most kinks”, years 2015 and 2018 should be the least reliable years. 2015 is the first year of the generation, and 2018 is the first year of the mid-generation refresh.

Note, however, I have a 2018 and do not subscribe to the rule I just mentioned. I have not had any major issues. (2018 Outback 2.5 Limited, No Eyesight, No navigation)

Anyway, a question like this has limited use. You can pick the most reliable year and still get a lemon. You can also pick a less reliable year and have no issues. I doubt the difference between years is big enough to affect the individual consumer noticeably.

Related issue, buying the last year of a generation is less desirable to me. I would only have a few months before being tempted by the next generation.
 

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453 Posts
Jake:
Good post.
Only difference I have is the “new model” temptation would be there only if the new model didn’t have negatives (for me) that outweigh the positives.

Such was, and is, the reason I snapped up a 2019 OBT 3.6 before the 2020 comes out. Otherwise, I would have kept my 2015 FXTT a few more years. 2020 negatives are DI, turbo, all touch screen control unit, new even goofier roof rack, and auto start/stop. And, it’s first year.

After some hard personal lessons in Subaru, I am only interested in normally aspirated, non-DI engine power. And, I also am uninterested in another 2.5 NA powered Subaru vehicle. Just too slow for me, especially in a Legacy or OB.

If there are any left, I heartily recommend the OB with 3.6 power.

EJ


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the replies! I am more focused on the 5th generation, but still working on it. Trying to get a feel for if there are any model years that stand out in reliability, or lack therof. As Jake said, you get what you get and it could just be an abberation to the overall curve, but I still would prefer to give myself the best odds possible of getting a long term reliable model.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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12,575 Posts
I rolled over 55k yesterday in my 2017.

Things that broke: a front end link.

I also had 30k ish on my 2015.

Things that broke: nothing.

I agree that newer is generally more reliable than older. It's also just a crapshoot.

Once past the ten year mark everything is going to need work regardless of manufacturer or model.
 
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