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New Subaru vehicles provide the latest tech wrapped in bright, shiny packages. However, new car prices might exceed your budget. If so, check out the used Subaru vehicle with the most “awesome” model years. 

The Subaru Outback has plenty of ‘awesome’ used model years

A 2017 Subaru Outback shows off its ride height, which is the best of a used car and SUV.
2017 Subaru Outback | Subaru sorted through its data to find the best used vehicles from various manufacturers. Though the automotive consumer site continually updates the list as new data arrives, it’s an excellent place to start when shopping for a used Subaru. We first noticed that the Outback had more model years earning’s “Seal of Awesome” than other Subaru vehicles. 

The Subaru Outback has eight model years on the list. Outbacks ranging from 2006 to 2012 and 2017 are the best, data shows. The seven-year range averages 49 complaints for each model year, whereas 2017 incurred 130 complaints. Although the 2017 Outback shows more complaints than the other years, the repairs are inexpensive or covered under warranty. 

The three worst problems reported to for the 2017 Outback are dead batteries, cracked windshields, and excessive coolant use. The other model year group experienced the most problems with engine failures, transmission failures, blown head gaskets, and oil leaks. While many of these issues required costly repairs, most occurred after driving the vehicle over 100,000 miles. 

2 other used Subaru models got the seal

The 2008 Subaru Forester is an awesome used model year
2008 Subaru Forester | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

In addition to the Outback, some used Subaru Forester and Legacy model years also received the Seal of Awesome. The most excellent Forester model years include 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Meanwhile, the 2006, 2007, and 2011 Legacy models also got the stamp of approval.

Though the listed Forester models had a few registered complaints, their engines and transmissions fared better than the Outback’s. The most significant issues include head gasket leaks, failed wheel bearings, and broken suspension components. Most issues occurred after 100,000 miles, but at least one wheel bearing failed within the first 20,000 miles. 

Even the best Subaru Legacy years experience problems with transmission failure, blown head gaskets, and failed wheel bearings, mainly after 72,000 miles.

It’s important to remember that some examples from any automaker’s model year eventually experience problems. That’s why it’s critical to do your research.

Always do your research when shopping for used cars

The research we’re recommending begins here — looking for the models that fit your needs with the lowest probability of problems. However, it doesn’t stop there. The research continues after you’ve decided on the model and year range. 

First, test-drive any car you’re considering purchasing. Test the sound system while parked, but turn it off while driving so you can listen to the vehicle. While driving, listen for squeaks, squeals, knocks, pings, or grinding noises, and note when they occur. 

Does the car maintain a straight line of travel? Do the air conditioner and heater work? Check everything you can during your test drive, and make notes before returning so you’ll remember. Drive a few examples of each model that interest you, and compare the notes from each. 

When you find the one you like best, ask for a vehicle history report, and take the car to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. For less than your first month’s payment, you’ll know if something is already wrong with the vehicle before you buy it. If the mechanic finds an issue, work with the seller to fix it before taking possession of the car. 

Even after all the research, vehicle history reports, and mechanical inspections, sometimes problems happen anyway. An extended warranty could protect you from the cost of an engine or transmission failure. However, reading the entire agreement before buying the warranty is critical because they’re not always what they seem.