Our Subaru Outback: A Year Later
A year ago, we traded in my 2000 Nissan XTerra for a new 2012 Subaru Outback. A year seems to be a perfect time for a quick review of our experience.
We’ve put just over 10300 miles on the car in the last year—mainly driving the kids back and forth to school, with a few trips over the mountains to the in-laws. Around town, even when the side streets are a bit slick with black ice, the car rarely loses traction. We did one white-knuckle trip up I-82 from Yakima to Ellensburg just before the New Year in the middle of a snow-squall, with other cars off the road and one SUV under a semi-truck, but with a little careful driving and the Outback’s excellent handling, we made it through unscathed. I wouldn’t have wanted to do that drive in the old X-Terra (center of gravity is much higher) or in our other car, a Toyota Camry, since it has no All-Wheel-Drive. I was pretty worn out after that trip, but I was really impressed with the car.
When we purchased the Outback, we had just the tiniest bit of concern that we should have gone for the 3.6L engine. Well, after a year, I can say, without hesitation, that those fears were groundless. The 2.5L engine has more than enough power for what we do with the car, and there hasn’t been a single time the power hasn’t been there when we needed it. We have yet to tow anything with it, but we have loaded the back with a ton of stuff, and put three bikes on the hitch-mounted bike carrier, and had no problems getting where we needed to go.
The kids love the Outback because with their car seats in the back, they can see out the windows without issue. Even with booster seats in the Camry, they can’t see out. They cry when we have to take the Camry somewhere for any reason. As a matter of fact, I do too. We’ve put less than 2000 miles on our Camry in the last year, and every time I have to take it somewhere, I feel a sense of dread.
The car continues to feel rock-solid when opening and closing doors, and that’s something I really appreciate. The Outback is also far quieter when it comes to road noise that either the X-Terra or the Camry, but it’s not quite as quiet as our friend’s BMW. Of course, we probably only paid about half for the Outback compared to their BMW.
As for fuel economy, we’ve averaged about 25.5 MPG over the last year. On long trips, we did see some 31+ MPG readings, but most of the time, we take very short trips in town, and that drags down the numbers a bit. Still with the X-Terra, my around-town number was closer to 15 MPG. Yes, it would be better to have an even higher number, but because we drive so little right now, the effect on the pocketbook is not noticeable to us.
We haven’t had any mechanical issues with the Outback either, except for a manufacturer recall for a software update that took all of half an hour to do one day while getting my last oil change. We do have a couple of scratches on the paint due to careless kids, and one scuff on the bumper due to an inconsiderate hit-and-run driver in Seattle one day, but nothing that requires any type of repair at the present time.
The Outback has quickly won over our hearts, and at this point, it feels like the best car I’ve ever owned, and probably the best I’ve ever driven. We have zero buyer’s remorse, which is an amazing feeling compared to how I’ve felt about my last four vehicles. If we went back to having to drive two cars every day, I’d seriously consider replacing the Camry with another Subaru, probably an Impreza, but I’m really waiting for Subaru to come out with a hybrid in a couple of years. Right now, our Camry just sits in the garage for days at a time, to the point that we have to remember to take it somewhere just to keep it working for the long term.
So, great handling, solid car, at a great price equals two very happy drivers. I’d buy it again in a minute if I had to. Two thumbs, way up.