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Thanks to its well-built vehicles, Subaru has earned legions of hardcore fans. The Subaru Outback is one of the Japanese automaker’s most popular models. But despite this midsize SUV’s many pluses, owners have some issues with it. Here’s a look at two parts of the Subaru Outback that owners like the least.

What did a recent J.D. Power study reveal about the Subaru Outback?

2022 Subaru Outback
2022 Subaru Outback | Subaru

J.D. Power recently completed its 2022 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. It gathers information about new cars from real-life owners. Thousands of verified respondents participated in this year’s study. They all had to have owned their vehicles for at least 90 days to submit a survey. 

The 2022 APEAL study revealed that 61% of car shoppers who bought a new Subaru Outback were men, higher than the segment average of 54%. The median age of a new Outback buyer is 61, which is about the same as the segment median.

However, the most significant part of the study asked owners to rank how their vehicles performed in 10 categories. Owners enjoyed how this SUV felt to drive and how safe they felt in the Outback. They also liked how Subaru designed the vehicle’s exterior and interior. Last, owners enjoyed getting in and out of this model. 

Subaru Outback owners like the infotainment system and fuel economy the least

The Subaru Outback didn’t perform as well in driving comfort and setting up and starting the SUV. In addition, the Outback’s powertrain options didn’t impress owners. But the lowest-scoring categories were the SUV’s infotainment system and fuel economy. Because a car’s fuel economy is directly related to its powertrain, it makes sense that owners would rate both areas poorly. 

The latest Outback Subaru has two engine options, starting with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 hp. The optional engine is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 260 hp. Both pair with a continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. The base engine allows this Subie to get 26 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The optional turbo engine gets only about 26 mpg combined. And the Outback Wilderness trim, which packs the turbo engine, gets an even worse fuel economy of 24 mpg combined.

As for the infotainment system, the newest Outback comes with two 7.0-inch touchscreens, and owners can also equip the SUV with an 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen.

It makes sense that owners liked those aspects the least

According to J.D. Power, Subaru claims this new infotainment system provides on-screen performance improvements over older model years. Although the site’s reviewers agree with that claim, even the new infotainment system has its share of issues. For example, the SUV’s built-in voice recognition system isn’t great, and J.D. Power recommends that drivers use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead.

And as for the Subaru Outback’s fuel economy, it’s actually decent for the segment because most other midsize SUVs are too large to get excellent gas mileage. On top of that, the Outback has all-wheel drive as a standard feature. That’s useful for drivers who like a bit of off-roading, but AWD slightly reduces a car’s fuel economy. As such, the Outback’s mediocre fuel economy just comes with the territory.


2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Price, Features, and Overview