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Buy or Sell: How Long Do Subaru Outbacks Last

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

We aren’t sure exactly when or how it happened, but station wagons have carved a deep and lasting niche for themselves among American drivers. 

Take the Subaru Outback as an example. It’s a success story that truly defies all odds.

The first model was released twenty years ago as the brands answer to the growing demand for sport utility vehicles. They didn’t want to make an SUV but they wanted to cater to that market. 

Well, they sure did something right. Ever since then the Outback has been one of America’s most loved station wagons, and with good reason. 

Read on and we’ll answer the big questions, like just how long do Subaru Outbacks last? What makes them so great? How do I know whether to buy an Outback new or used?

Buckle up!

The Subaru Outback

The Outback is truly a unique vehicle. One that daringly entered into a market inundated with large, sport utility vehicles, to establish itself as something of a fringe, cult classic.

Subaru designers really understood what consumers were looking for in a crossover vehicle, and they delivered. Regardless of the year and model, the Subaru Outback consistently has:

  • Great MPGs.
  • Great size, with ample headroom and storage.
  • Pro-handling, using Subaru’s well-known all-wheel drive.
  • 8.7 inches of ground clearance. 
  • Excellent safety ratings.
  • Highest value retention.
  • Unbeatable versatility.

Talk about a go-anywhere-dream-car! 

The inaugural edition, launched in 1996, and the second edition launched between 2000-2004, both sold 200,000 units. From there on out, each iteration of the Outback sold even more units. Culminating in 700,000 units sold between 2015-2019.

For a new-kid-on-the-block crossover vehicle, that’s no small feat. 

The Subaru Outback is consistently Subaru’s best-selling vehicle and  The Outback dominates wagon sales in the U.S generally. Data from JD Power shows them as having 85.7 percent of all wagon sales. 

If you’re on the buy-American bandwagon you’ll be pleased to learn that the Subaru Outback is made right here in the U.S, in Lafayette Indiana. Since 1989 they’ve built 4.2 million vehicles.

And there’s more. This plant will be adding 900 jobs through an expansion that will bring the Impreza, XV Crossteck, The Outback, and Legacy all under one roof.

A few more fun-facts that make Subaru even more lovable;

  • The Lafayette plant was the first U.S. auto assembly plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
  • They were the first U.S plant to achieve zero-landfill status.
  • They are consistently rated in the top 10 for being ‘dog friendly.’
  • Subaru works closely with the Center For Pet Safety in making vehicles safer for your furry travel companion.

Go on then Subaru, living up to brand expectations with these achievements. 

How Long Do Subaru Outbacks Last?

So that’s all well and good, but how long will a Subaru Outback last you ask?

The answer to this will vary and mostly depends on how well you take care of your vehicle. 

Consumer Reports ranked the Subaru Outback at number 10 for vehicles that will last 200,000 miles. 

There are reports from loyal drivers that Subaru Outback milage can get up to 300,000 miles. This is of course with proper care and maintenance. 

As long as The Outback isn’t starved for oil, you can expect to get at least 200,000 miles out of it without needing major repairs. 

A pro-tip is to figure out your driving habits with The Outback and create a maintenance routine that will best fit.

Regular maintenance with a good shop that works with Subaru’s is your best bet to getting your ride to hit that 300,000-mile mark, or beyond.

One of the best parts about it is that if you’ve racked up miles and decide you want to sell it, which we doubt you will, high miles on an Outback isn’t a roadblock to getting the resale value you want. 

Are Subaru’s Good Cars?

A wagon isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t like the style or vibe of driving one. 

However, loyal Subaru drivers will tell you that there is a Subaru Outback life one becomes part of upon purchase. 

One major reason for The Outback’s hardcore following is likely the vehicle’s high-reliability factor.

Subaru generally is well-known for its all-wheel-drive and high safety ratings. These factors are definitely part of what makes The Outback so popular year after year. 

Despite being one of the smaller producers of automobiles, only 7 vehicle styles making up 2.3 percent of all U.S auto sales, Subaru has racked up more endorsements from independent reviewers than any other manufacturer. 

They come in ahead of luxury brands, like BMW, all the time. Adding to their value and popularity. 

Consumer Reports consistently ranks them as best in class for performance, comfort, utility, and reliability. Additionally, they go so far as to say that Subaru makes the best cars in America. 

That’s kind of a big deal. 

ALG is the industry go-to for ratings on resale value, and they have dubbed Subaru the leader in retained value for mainstream brands. Meaning a Subaru is consistently a pretty solid investment.

As far as safety goes, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named Subaru’s entire line as its “top safety pick.”

Are you feeling the call of the Subaru yet? Let’s get a little deeper into why this vehicle is so reliable.

Subaru Reliability

Just what is it about the Subaru Outback that makes it so reliable? Here are a few of the top reasons. 

The Subaru Outback Is Crazy Durable

This thing is a tank. We already mentioned how well Subaru does in safety ratings, but beyond crash tests, this vehicle is meant to go forever. 

No matter what kind of weather or terrain, the Subaru Outback can get you there and back. What it lacks in speed it definitely makes up for in durability. 

Subaru Outback Life Is an Actual Thing

The marketing geniuses behind the initial branding for the Subaru Outback really hit the nail on the head. 

Drivers of these vehicles will attest that this rugged little ride has taken them on adventures that mirror the adventuresome advertisements; ski trips in harrowing weather, camping trips in those hard-to-get-to places, and countless mountain biking getaways.

Even if you don’t utilize the all-wheel-drive for your adventures, Outback lifers love this thing for its versatility.

Picking up the kids (plus friends) from school? No problem. Taking a weekend road trip to the in-laws? Total breeze. 

You really can do it all, and know you’ll get there safely, in a Subaru Outback.

It’s A Really Simple Vehicle

The style of the Subaru Outback really hasn’t changed much over the years. The style is simple, the frills are minimal, and it just works. 

Subaru picked a narrow lane with the Outback and they have made it work year after year.

This may be part of the Outback’s staying power. It’s a no-fuss kind of vehicle, easy to repair, lasts forever if you take care of it, and no one cares if you spill something.

It’s rugged, functional, and retains value, what more could you ask from a car?

Should You Buy New or Used?

The million-dollar-question, do you buy a Subaru new or used?

As we mentioned earlier in the article, Subaru’s are one of the highest-ranking vehicles for retaining their value. Every year, every model.

This means they stay on the road longer and retain value in spite of it. Making a used Subaru Outback both hard to find and more expensive than other used vehicles in their class. 

This paired with ALG’s best in class rankings for most of the Subaru models, including The Outback, meaning they retain their value better than other automakers. Based on Subaru’s history, its safe to say these vehicles will generally depreciate very little for years to come. 

The Outback’s rugged go-anywhere attitude, its versatility, and of course, the fuel mileage are what keeps the value high when it comes time to sell.

So what does all this mean for consumers?

It means you may find a better deal of shopping for a new Subaru than an old one. Sometimes the value difference in new vs. old is only a few thousand dollars. 

For many, it makes more sense to invest in a new one rather than pay almost the same amount for an older model, likely with many miles on it. 

If it comes down to sheer affordability, like not wanting to take on a car payment, then buying used might make more sense.

Even if you opt for used, you can rest easy knowing that no matter how old your Subaru Outback is, the value will remain high.

Make sure to check out our blog while you’re here too. We’ve got tons of in-depth articles on everything you need to know to sell or scrap a car.  

Ready to Make a Move?

So, how long do Subaru Outbacks last?

While it’s true nothing lasts forever, the Subaru Outback comes pretty close. 

If that time has come and you are ready to salvage your ride, contact us for a free quote.

We pay top dollar for most vehicles no matter the condition. 

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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