Crossover & Midsize

Is the Subaru Outback More Expensive to Maintain?

The Subaru Outback is one of the most popular AWD crossover SUVs in America. The Toyota RAV4 is also a popular choice. But does the price to buy the Subaru wagon come with expensive maintenance costs that the dealer didn’t tell you about? How expensive is Outback maintenance?

A Subaru Outback SUV at the 2019 New York International Auto Show
A Subaru Outback SUV at the 2019 New York International Auto Show | Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The investment in buying a car is typically a very large sum of money for the average US buyer. So when you commit to the purchase of a new vehicle, you want to know that your investment isn’t going to end up causing major headaches down the road. Is it costly to maintain one of these well-loved Subaru wagons?

Above-average reliability

Keeping in line with the Subaru Outback’s impressive reputation for reliability, RepairPal gave the Subaru Outback an above-average score. For reliability, the Outback earned a 3.5 out of 5. Nothing crazy in terms of spectacular reliability, but also not bad either. As far as cost goes, we have a continuing trend of slightly better than average.

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The Subaru Outback wagon ranked 10 out of 26 other midsize SUVs for reliability on RepairPal. According to these findings, it costs an average of $607 per year for maintenance costs on the Outback. This is slightly higher than the average for midsize SUVs, which is $573. Yet, slightly lower than the average for all vehicles, which is $652.

Expensive five-year ownership costs

The five-year cost-to-own on Edmunds, however, paints a different picture for the Subaru Outback. The 2020 Subaru Outback, according to the Edmunds data, costs $4,534 in maintenance costs during the first five years of ownership when bought new. Plus, $735 over five years for unexpected repairs.

The 2019 Subaru Outback, according to Edmunds, costs $4,492 to maintain in the first five years. The 2019 Outback also costs $735 in unexpected repair. These maintenance costs are in the same ballpark as Toyota competition, the RAV4. Though the Rav4 is over $100 cheaper in terms of repairs.

Are Subaru repairs expensive?

On this website that goes over warranty coverage, we see that Subarus are often very reliable for long term ownership. Many people who switch to Subaru are happy with their choice. Even if they are generally more expensive to repair.

2020 Subaru Outback interior fitted with Java Brown Nappa Leather.
2020 Touring Outback Interior ⎹ Subaru

Subarus have standard AWD. This is one reason the maintenance can get so costly. But the general consensus among most Outback owners is that the performance is worth the cost. That said, they can cost a little more than the average competitor such as the Toyota RAV4––assuming the RAV4 owner didn’t opt for AWD.

Outback maintenance

According to the Your Mechanic website, “the estimated cost to maintain and repair a Subaru Outback ranges from $80 to $6388, with an average of $294.” Cars.com documents an average of $500-$600 for any given repair on any given vehicle. So the Subaru Outback rests nicely a couple hundred dollars below the overall average cost of repairs should the need arise.

The 2020 Subaru Outback, which costs average in terms of maintenance, is seen in a U.S. National Park-themed display at AutoMobility LA
The 2020 Subaru Outback | David McNew/Getty Images

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Is it more expensive?

Overall, the Subaru Outback shows average costs of repairs and maintenance. While it’s certainly not going to save any money in terms of regular maintenance and unexpected repairs, the Outback definitely doesn’t tend to entail astronomical repair fees as part of the cost to own.

Though it may have a reputation for reliability, the Outback also has a bit of a reputation for being more costly to maintain. It sometimes needs costly repairs, but then so does any car. In the big picture, the AWD Subaru Outback probably doesn’t cost enough more in maintenance to warrant a warning not to include it on your list as an option.