There are so many options in the SUV segment. Read some of our reviews and you will learn that they all have their respective weaknesses and strengths. The 2018 Subaru Outback is strong almost in all areas that you really care about, including fuel economy, interior space, standard technology and off-road capabilities.
But the Outback has one weakness: performance. The four-cylinder engine may have good mileage, but its 175-horse power is low compared to its class. The 2018 Outback is also not particularly sharp or willing to drive with enthusiasm around turns. But this is a compromise that can accept wholeheartedly. If you are looking for a reliable crossover SUV that is useful for any situation, give the 2018 Subaru Outback a try.
The 2018 Subaru Outback gets a variety of changes. The exterior, there are new headlights with LED daytime running lights, the grille and front and rear fascias are also been updated for a more aggressive look. A new side mirror design reduces interior cabin noise.
Inside, the Outback receives a new center console and steering wheel design and a new infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Premium and higher trims receive contrast stitching on the doors, dash and seats.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon that available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring.
Standard equipment for the base 2.5i include 17-inch alloy wheels, hill holding assist, hill descent control, automatic headlights, roof rails, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Subaru Starlink 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The 2.5i Premium adds foglights, a windshield wiper de-icer, heated exterior mirrors, rear privacy glass, a cargo cover, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with two-way lumbar adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen, three additional USB ports, satellite radio and six speakers for the sound system. The Power Moonroof package adds a moonroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A power liftgate with memory height is also optional.
The 2.5i Limited includes the Premium options along with keyless ignition and entry, 18-inch wheels, a front bumper underguard, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, driver-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, rear air vents, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Xenon headlights is optional.
The 3.6R Limited include the xenon headlights and a more powerful engine, otherwise, it’s similar to the 2.5i Limited.
The 2018 Subaru Outback Premium and Limited can be added with Subaru EyeSight system, which includes automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and upgraded gauges. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are included in the Premium version of EyeSight and can be bundled with navigation. The Limited version includes automatic braking for rear collisions, navigation and steering-responsive LED headlights.
The 2.5i Touring and 3.6R Touring include all above feature as well as the Driver Assist Technology package. The Touring models also get a dark exterior trim, different 18-inch wheels, fixed low-profile roof rails without crossbars, a heated steering wheel, wood grain interior trim and premium leather upholstery.
The 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i is powered by a 2.5 liter horizontally opposed (“boxer”) four-cylinder engine that generates 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The Outback 3.6R come standard with 3.6-liter flat-six good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Power sent through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control, and all-wheel drive is standard. The AWD system includes X-Mode for low-speed traction and Active Torque Vectoring for high-speed stability in corners.
The four-cylinder is slow to accelerate, and handling performance isn’t fantastic. The six-cylinder engine is far better suited to the Outback size and weight. It also work much more nicely with the CVT. The Outback is much more adept when it comes to handling bumpy back roads or snowy highways
In performance testing, the 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds. Most compact crossovers are a bit quicker. The 3.6R did it in 7.1 seconds. Properly equipped, the 2018 Subaru Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds.
EPA fuel economy rating for the Outback 2.5i at 28 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway). The 3.6R stands at 22 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).
The 2018 Subaru Outback interior is completely redesigned in 2015. It’s got some interior upgrades and more functionality for infotainment systems. The rest of the central stack control is easy to use, and there is a useful smartphone slot on the center console. Overall the quality is high, with plenty of soft-touch materials around the cabin and convincing wood-tone accents and faux metallic.
The front seats are padded and provide excellent comfort in long-distance driving. However, some long-legged people may want a little thigh support. You don’t need to pick for the leather-coated Limited model, because the Premium 2.5i has already covered with soft, grippy cloth seats. There is plenty of room for the driver and front passenger. In the back, headroom is only adequate for adults, but there are abundant legroom and hiproom.
Though more like a station wagon than a high and airy SUV, the 2018 Subaru Outback slim roof pillars provide exceptional outward visibility. The cargo capacity is also large, with 35.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 73.3 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded down. The Outback position, which is not as high as the SUV, also makes it the right choice if you often load gear on the roof.
Release Dates and Price
The official price for the base 2.5i starts at $26,810 (including a $915 destination charge) and $28,910 for the 2.5i Premium. The 2.5i Limited starting at $33,610, while the 2.5i Touring cost $37,405. The six-cylinder 3.6R Limited demand $36,310 and the range-topping 3.6R Touring at $39,605.