Used Subaru Outback Review (2015-2021) MK4

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Subaru Outback Exterior Front

Subaru Outback (2015-2021)

The Subaru Outback is a rugged and spacious SUV that can take on whatever the British weather throws at it

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  • Reliable
  • Capable off-road
  • Pleasant driving experience
  • Lacks luxury interior of rivals
  • High running costs
  • Noisy diesel model
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What's the Subaru Outback like?

The Subaru Outback is absolutely fantastic for driving in sleet and snow. It can keep you going up hill and handles off-roading better than many in its class.

It’s also one of the most reliable cars on the market, so one well worth buying used, and it comes with a 5-year warranty, some of which could still be included in any car you go for.

The Outback was originally based on the large Legacy Tourer estate, which could also be bought new until 2013.

The latest model, introduced in 2015, is practical spacious and comfortable over all surfaces while also being very relaxed to drive.


The single petrol engine is a 175bhp 2.5-litre ‘boxer’ flat four, driving through a stepped CVT automatic gearbox.

It’s capable of 33mpg and covers the 0 to 60mph sprint in a decent 9.6 seconds.

It picks up quickly and makes very good use of the automatic’s characteristics, so that you’re always sure of enough pulling power.

However, many of the cars sold in the UK have been 2.0-litre, flat four diesels – either with a 6-speed manual gearbox or the same CVT automatic.

The diesel is probably the pick of the range for most people, with 150bhp on tap and economy up to about over 40mpg in real driving.

Performance is slightly better than the petrol, thanks to loads of low and mid-range pulling power, with the 60mph sprint taking 9.4 seconds.

Driving Experience and Practicality

The manual gearbox is slick and easy, the automatic is one of the best of its kind on the market, and the brakes are well up to holding everything in check.
Peter Hayward

Refinement is excellent, apart from a little more noise than expected from the diesel engine. There’s little wind or road noise – except on tar and chipping surfaces.

There's room for five in comfort, the boot is big and standard equipment is very generous.


There are just two trim levels to choose from, and even the lower SE comes very well-equipped straight out of the box.

It has audio remote control, alloys, traction control, sat nav, heated mirrors and heated seats with lumbar support plus electric adjustment for the driver.

It also has parking sensors, loads of airbags, an alarm and excellent seat and steering column adjustment. SE Premium adds leather and an electric sunroof.

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The Subaru Outback is a slightly raised estate with most of the attributes of a heavyweight SUV, but none of the drawbacks. It’s tough, reliable, spacious, and practical, and with four-wheel drive available, it's a proper off-roader through and through.