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Now is a tricky time to buy a used car. Prices are crazy high, and supply is low. So, if you need a new set of wheels and the used market is where you’re at, it can pay to get it right the first time. The most important goals of buying a used car are to get something that is still reliable, comfortable, and affordable. When buying a used Subaru, there’s one good reason to start with a 2018 model or newer

The Subaru Outback, like the BMW X2, is an AWD-equipped option for snow driving.
Subaru Outback | Subaru

What are the best years for a used Subaru Outback? 

I’m one of the unlucky many who are trying to buy a car within this crazy car market. It ain’t fun, but life demands certain things sometimes, and for me and many others, it’s demanding a bigger car for my family. As any self-respecting new family man does, I’m looking to Subaru for my family’s next transport. I’ve learned some things. 

Subaru is on its sixth generation for the Outback and fifth generation for the Forester. Although the Subaru Outback has been around a little bit longer, the Subaru Forester timeline is starting to line up with the Outback. 

The Outback’s fifth generation started with the 2015 model year and marked a complete redesign for the model. According to Consumer Reports, this redesign saw some major refinements like more interior room, upscale interior materials, a nicer ride, more sound deadening, better infotainment connectivity, and the famous Eyesight safety suite becomes available. 

However, it isn’t until 2018 and later that things like Eyesight become more common. As is normal with many models, the first few years of a new generation might come with some hiccups. By 2018, most fifth-gen hiccups have been dealt with. The 2018 still offers the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter six-cylinder. Both are strong and reliable powerplants, although both are quite slow. 

While 2018 is a good year to start looking, it’s the 2019 model that offers the Eyesight suite as standard, along with modern connectivity like AppleCar Play. 2018 and newer Subaru Outbacks are proper modern SUVs with modern safety and comfort features that tend to start around $20k and hike up to the $27k mark. Given the state of things, that’s not so bad. 

What is the best year for a used Subaru Forester? 

The Subaru Forester got its biggest and most recent redesign in 2019. The Forester is all about a roomy interior, superior viability, killer fuel economy, and AWD. The 2019 redesign doubled down on these aspects of the model. Consumer Reports found it super reliable and extremely proficient at most SUV tasks, only falling short in towing. 

2019-2022 marks the Forester’s fifth generation. Like the Outback, for which it shares its 2.5-liter motor, the Forester gets an amazing 28 mpg on average. This little SUV ranges from about $20K to $28K, depending on mileage, trim, and condition. 

The Outback and Forester are both quite similar in many ways. They look a bit different, but the inner workings are extremely comparable. So, picking between the two comes down to taste and finding the best deal. 

Why shop for a used Subaru? 

Promo photo of a Subaru car parked in a field beneath a bright night sky full of stars.
Subaru at night | Subaru

Subaru became my focus for a few reasons; Soobs are generally safe, reliable, capable in rough weather and off-road scenarios, and models like the Forester and Outback are big inside without being giant, lumbering, gas-guzzlers. I like Subarus. They are also among the few car carmakers offering standard AWD across the board. That alone is worth the price of admission. 

As much as I’d love to waltz onto the dealer lot and snag a 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition, the writer’s budget don’t really do like that. So, we are looking for a used one. Used car prices are beginning to fall, but financing interest rates can be a struggle (just a friendly heads up.) In the meantime, anyone shopping for a used car needs to be savvy. There is no shortage of ways to get rear-ended at the dealer lots these days. Always remember these guidelines when buying a used car; do your research, be flexible, and try your best to buy the car you actually want – if you’re going to overpay, at least enjoy it. 


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