2011 Subaru Outback Review

by Reviews

The 2011 Subaru Outback is a practical vehicle option for SUV-lovers interested in fuel-economy, safety and off-road versatility.

2011 Subaru Outback

The 2011 Subaru Outback is a practical vehicle option for SUV-lovers interested in fuel-economy, safety and off-road versatility. With three inches added to the height of this model the 2011 model looks more like a traditional SUV. Moderately priced, starting at $24,000, this high-mileage SUV competes with crossover vehicles and small SUVs.

2011 Subaru Outback

Key Features

The 2011 Subaru Outback features improvements to satisfy consumer demands. To address a criticism of past Outback models, two inches were added to the width of the vehicle to made the backseat larger and more usable. Folding side mirrors and an electronic parking brake are two other new features offered. For those situations when a driver is forced to park on a steep hill, the electronic hill holder promises to hold the vehicle in place on inclines.

The new CVT automatic transmission was engineered with durability and better gas mileage in mind, designed with a metal band to replace the rubber belt. A manual shift mode is included as part of the CVT automatic transmission as a way of achieving better gas mileage without using a clutch. Estimated gas mileage figures are 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Performance Features

Symmetrical all-wheel drive is standard on all Outback vehicles. The balance afforded by the calculated distribution of power for maximum traction qualifies the Outback to live up to its name as an off-road vehicle when necessary. The Subaru Outback is designed to drive in slippery conditions offering a driver excellent control.

Adding to the stability of the Outback is the horizontal design and layout of the Boxer engine. To achieve optimal efficiency, the pistons of the Boxer engine move horizontally in a punch - counterpunch rhythm. This smooth motion is how the engine got its name as the Boxer engine. This layout allows for a symmetrical design that contributes to the balance afforded by a lower center of gravity. The low-profile design stabilizes the vehicle when cornering, which can be a safety issue for many SUV-style vehicles.

Subaru's vehicle frame is reinforced and designed to protect passengers in the event of a collision. The strength of the high-tensile steel redirects the impact energy away from passengers on the inside of the vehicle. This ring-shaped frame is a key safety feature offered by Subaru.

Subaru Outback Interior

Styling Options

Standard equipment on all 2011 Outback models includes 6-speed transmission, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, A/C, anti-lock brakes, 6 airbags, symmetrical all-wheel drive, remote keyless entry, roof rack, rear washer/wiper, stability and traction control, cruise and audio steering wheel controls and electronic parking brake featuring the new hill holder capability.

There are 6 different models of the 2011 Subaru Outback, distinguished primarily by the engine and drive train, wheels, and transmission. Many style options can be added to the different models. Less expensive basic models starting at about $24,000 include the 170 hp, 2.5 liter, 20 SOHC engine. The 2.5i model comes standard with 16 X 6.5 steel wheels and all season tires.

The 2.5i Limited model has the 170hp, 2.5 liter engine and comes with the CRT Transmission as a standard option. Other accessories that are upgrades from the two other basic models include XM Satellite Radio, Dual-Zone automatic digital climate-control system, All-weather package, 440-watt 9-speaker Harmon Kardon Stereo with 6-disc changer.

The 3.6R, 3.6R Premium and the 3.6R Limited models come standard with the bigger, 256hp, 3.6 liter, DOHC engine and CRT Transmission. These models also come standard with 6-spoke aluminum wheels and larger tires. These more expensive models have many more accessories. Leather-trimmed upholstery is available for the 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited models. Heated front seats are available on all but two of the models, the 2.5i and 3.6R. A wood accent trim comes standard on the 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited models. The Power Moonroof Package offers rear vision camera, auto-dimming mirror, heated seats, mirrors and wiper de-icers.

Safety Features

The independent testers, IIHS and NHTSA awarded the 2011 Subaru Outback top ratings. Special safety features that distinguish the Outback are a smart braking system, the airbag system, vehicle dynamics control and a reinforced frame. The antilock braking system is designed to keep brakes from jamming up, ultimately preventing a driver's loss of control of the vehicle. Two design elements contribute to a safer driving experience. The Electronic Brake-force Distribution maintains balanced braking. Brake Sensor was designed to detect a panic situation and automatically stops the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Six airbags are strategically placed around the Outback to protect passengers and drivers during an accident. Airbags are deployed upon impact and also in the event of a rollover. Special sensors are designed to engage the airbags for every possible scenario where passenger protection is required.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the reinforced steel frame was designed to redistribute the force from a crash away from the people inside the car. Engineers not only established protection for crash situations, they also designed the vehicle with prevention in mind, adding sensors to braking and steering sensors to keep the vehicle on the road.


Consumers interested in a small SUV as an inexpensive, family car or a higher-end vehicle with more luxury items can find both with the Subaru Outback. With so many accessories available and the option for a fuel economy vehicle that is safe for driving in bad weather, the Subaru Outback warrants inspection.

Related Links

Outback 2011 Overview | Subaru.com
Visit the Official Subaru Outback Page for pricing, reviews and dealer incentives. The 2011 Outback Wagon. Room For Adventure.

Subaru of America, Inc. | Facebook.com
The Official Facebook page of Subaru.

@Subaru_USA | Twitter.com
Instantly connect to what's most important to you. Follow your friends, experts, favorite celebrities, and breaking news.

Subaru's Channel | YouTube
Check out the latest videos from Subaru of America.

Updated: 09/20/2011, Reviews
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