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The Subaru Outback has enjoyed a long and storied reputation as an impressive off-road wagon. Today, the 2023 model is a crossover SUV, but some still think of this name and picture a high-riding wagon out on the trails. Are the Subaru Outback reliability scores enough to make it a great choice for you? Let’s find out.

What are the Subaru Outback reliability scores?

2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness on a Steep Downslope
2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Subaru

The Subaru Outback receives a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. This places the Outback 10th out of 24 models for the midsize SUV class. This ranking is based on three factors which are:

  • Cost – The Subaru Outback’s average annual repair and maintenance costs are $607 compared to $573 for midsize SUVs.
  • Frequency – Outback owners bring their vehicles to the repair shop for unscheduled repairs 0.37 times per year compared to 0.4 for the class.
  • Severity – The probability of severe repairs for the Subaru Outback is 12% compared to 13% for midsize SUVs.

What are the three most common Outback problems?

RepairPal also tells us the three problems that plague Outback owners the most are:

  • Vibration or shudder on acceleration – reported by 295 owners
  • Cooling system problems cause head gasket failure – reported by 280 owners
  • Subaru front O2 sensor recall – reported by 258 owners before the recall

These three issues could have you extremely worried about the state of your SUV if they occur. Thankfully, none of these issues appear until the vehicle has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.

Is the Outback in the wrong class?

2023 Subaru Outback Splashing Through a Shallow Creek - The Subaru Outback could have the reliability scores you desire
2023 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Although RepairPal has the Outback in the midsize SUV class, U.S. News & World Report still lists this vehicle among wagons. This classification causes the 2023 Subaru Outback to be ranked dead last in its class, consisting of only four other wagons. Should it be listed as a compact SUV, midsize SUV, or wagon? Very few vehicles in the market have ever had such a confusing time finding their place.

Thankfully, U.S. News doesn’t only list the Outback among wagons. It’s also listed among crossover SUVs and SUVs with two rows. The 2023 Subaru Outback ranks 28th among crossover SUVs, which isn’t too bad, considering there are 79 vehicles in this category. Narrowing it down a little more, the Outback is ranked 22 out of 61 SUVs with two rows.

No matter how you slice it, the Outback isn’t cracking the top part of any of these three categories.

Why is this Subaru SUV popular?

The Subaru Outback has enjoyed a cult-like following for years. The name evolved from a lifted, off-road wagon with AWD to become a competent crossover that can take on rugged terrain. Even today, the Outback name receives attention and respect as an excellent option for small families that want to head out into the wilderness together.

Should you drive this Subaru SUV?

If you want a small SUV with proven off-road capabilities, the 2023 Subaru Outback can be an excellent choice. RepairPal gives the Subaru Outback good reliability scores,  showing its history of being a dependable and useful crossover. While experts try and find the right category for it, you can take your Outback into the wilderness for some off-road fun.


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