Planet-exclusive 2018 Subaru Outback Gallery.  Click to enlarge

Executive Summary

2018 Outbacks are on sale now at Planet Subaru! 

There are many changes and improvements.  Subaru engineers most of its products, including Outback, on a five year "product cycle."  The 2018 Outback will be the fourth year of this generation (first introduced in 2015), when Subaru typically "refreshes" the car with various mid-cycle changes.  D
imensions, sheet metal, and most specifications will remain the same.  Rather predictably, however, this fourth year usually brings a host of improvements and modifications to keep the vehicle looking fresh and to stay competitive with new models from other manufacturers.   


  • Revised styling including new wheels and front fascia
  • Refreshed interior with more premium materials.
  • Ride made even smoother and quieter.
  • New multimedia capabilities, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Nuance voice recognition.
  • New available Steering Responsive LED Headlight system.



New Design
The Outback shows a bolder, more rugged looking face for 2018, highlighted by wider, lower grille openings and a new bumper that complement the iconic Subaru hexagonal grille. The C-shaped headlights, parking lights and new horizontal character lines extending outward from the grille subtly suggest the piston motion of the BOXER engine, a Subaru core technology. The redesigned headlights feature distinctive "Konoji" daytime LED running lights.

The redesigned front cladding enhances protection from mud and stones when the vehicle is driven off pavement. A new high-contrast wheel design on Limited trim highlight the luxury-class appearance for the 2018 Outback. The 2.5i base and Premium trims are equipped with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, and all Limited and Touring models offer 18-inch alloy wheels.

More Safety Tech for 2018
A proven safety standout, the Outback adds to its array of driver-assist features for 2018, including available new Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH). Available in conjunction with LED headlights, SRH aim the lights into turns as the driver steers. Also for 2018, Outback Limited and Touring models with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology feature High Beam Assist, which automatically turns the high beams on and off depending on traffic conditions.

The brand's available award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, available on most trims, includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. The Lane Keep Assist system now activates earlier, at just above 37 mph. Models with EyeSight also come with Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which includes Lane Change Assist.

All Outback trim lines come standard with a rear-view camera. New for 2018, when reversing, the guidelines displayed on the screen move in sync with the steering to provide more accurate vehicle positioning.

Also new for 2018, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) now detects pressure changes at individual tires. The Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert indicator lamp is larger and has been moved from the mirror's surface to its side. In highline trims, redesigned LED turn signals in the mirrors are easier to see. Automatic locking doors are also new, and improved LATCH anchors make child seat installation easier.

More Responsive and Quieter
Enhancements made throughout the Outback chassis include retuned suspension dampers for a smoother ride, along with retuned steering and brake systems for a more direct feel and a more enjoyable driving experience. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a smoother, more linear response to driver input.

Subaru made the Outback even quieter for 2018. The Lineartronic CVT for 2.5i models now uses a quieter short-pitch chain, and adjustments to engine timing under acceleration further reduce powertrain noise. Reshaped exterior mirrors are among a number of enhancements that further reduce wind noise. New sound-insulating glass for the front side windows makes the front seat area quieter, while thicker rear wheel well aprons reduce rear seat ambient noise.

The transmission offers smoother response for 2018, thanks to a retuned electronic control unit (ECU).

Enhanced Comfort Throughout
All trim lines in the 2018 Outback line introduce new premium materials and a redesigned center console, highlighted by an available 8-inch display screen for enhanced multimedia capabilities. The Premium and higher trims feature genuine stitching detail on the dashboard, while Limited and Touring models also add stitching detail to the seats and door panels along with high-gloss black trim and silver-color bezels for various controls. A new Titanium Gray interior is now available, in addition to Slate Black and Warm Ivory, and the new steering wheel has a more luxurious look and feel.

The revised air conditioning system cools the cabin more quickly and provides more uniform temperature throughout the cabin. The temperature setting indicator is now located inside the control dial for more intuitive operation. As an added convenience, interior power is retained for a short time after the ignition has been switched off. The redesigned clock is larger and easier to read.

Subaru Multimedia Upgraded for 2018
The 2018 Outback offers the brand's latest SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia system with Bluetooth wireless capability, iPod control, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and more. The top-level system includes TomTom navigation with three years of free map updates. Two USB power ports are added to the back of the center console for rear seat passengers' convenience.

The standard STARLINK 6.5" Multimedia system is an upgrade from the previous STARLINK 6.2" system and offers quicker performance. The available STARLINK 8.0" system debuts a new 8-inch central touch-screen display that provides smartphone-like operation. More smartphone-linked operations improve the multimedia experience while reducing the need to divert attention from the road or hands from the steering wheel.

Now using two microphones and technology by Nuance (maker of Dragon Dictation apps for computers and other devices) voice recognition is significantly improved in the 2018 Outback. The driver can more easily use Apple Siri or OK Google voice commands, and the system is compatible with multiple languages.

Among standard features on all SUBARU STARLINK systems are Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod control, a USB port and auxiliary input jack. High-line trims add dual USB ports and other features. Smartphone integration features Aha and Pandora, along with STARLINK cloud applications iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Calendar, Music Player, News and Weather. Apps added for 2018 include: 
  • Magellan NAVI offers advanced cloud-based mapping.
  • eBird advises of local bird sightings and locations.
  • Best Parking locates and compares parking rates.
  • YELP delivers crowd sourced reviews of businesses.
  • Glympse provides real-time location sharing.
  • RightTrack monitors driving habits and recommends improvements.
  • Quick Guide is a digital reference guide for the vehicle.
  • eventseeker provides information on local events.

Premium, Limited and Touring Outback STARLINK Multimedia systems are also compatible with Over the Air (OTA) updates using WiFi.

Take a deep dive into the 2018 Outback:


Offered in four trim levels, starting with an MSRP of $25,895, Outback comes standard with a 175 horsepower, 2.5-liter Boxer engine and Lineartronic CVT with manual mode and paddle shifters, as well as standard 17" Alloy wheels. The 2018 models debut newly designed front and rear bumpers and new grille design. In addition, the Outbacks have new headlights and door mirrors with improved aerodynamics and reduced wind noise. New for 2018, a new safety system automatically locks the doors at 12.5mph and unlocks when the vehicle is placed in park and driver's door is opened. The system will also automatically unlock all doors in the event of airbag deployment. Standard features for all trim levels include sound insulation glass on front doors, insulated rear wheel well liners, and a tire pressure monitoring system with individual wheel pressure display.


The Outback 2.5i models feature an upgraded STARLINK 6.5" Multimedia System with 6.5-in. single-touch gesture display, smartphone integration featuring Android Auto™, Apple Carplay™, Aha™ and Pandora® and Off Delay Operation as well as redesigned black foldable exterior mirrors and Driver's Power Window with Off Delay Operation.

Priced from $27,995, Premium trim adds the All-Weather Package (heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper De-Icer), dual zone automatic climate control system, 10-way power driver's seat which includes Power Lumbar Support, new 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and dash panel with silver stitching, instrument panel with LCD color display, auto up/down front windows, illuminated overhead console and front door pull handles and new foldable body-color side mirrors. Premium trim models offer additional option packages including Driver Assist Technologies and navigation. Blind Spot Detection/ Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist are available with EyeSight packages.

The Limited trim Outback is priced from $32,695 and steps up the luxury with perforated leather-trimmed upholstery, heated rear seat backs and cushions, rear-seat air conditioner outlets, 4-way Power Front Passenger seat, new 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, turn-signal side mirrors and woodgrain-pattern matte-finish interior accent trim. LED low and high beam headlights, Steering Responsive Headlights and automatic LED low & high beam height adjust control come standard on EyeSight-equipped Limited models.

The flagship Outback 2.5i Touring model features low-profile roof rails in a silver finish along with lower cladding and Outback badging in chrome. A dark gray grille insert and 18-in. wheels with machined finish dark gray accents accentuate the unique styling of this model. All Touring interiors feature a Java Brown leather-trimmed upholstery, door panels and armrests with contrasting ivory stitching. Refinements including a unique woodgrain interior finish and piano- black switch panels accents complete the signature look. A heated steering wheel and Auto up/down power windows on all four doors is also standard on Touring trim. Touring models are also available with a 256-horsepower 3.6 liter, 6-cylinder Boxer engine teamed to a high-torque Lineartronic CVT with manual mode and paddle shifters. Outback Touring models are priced from $36,490.

Premium, Limited and Touring trims have a standard STARLINK 8.0" Multimedia Plus with a high-resolution 8-in. LCD screen featuring multi-touch gesture controls, Bluetooth hands-free SMS text messaging and dual USB ports. These trims offer Sirius XM satellite radio with Travelink information including weather and sports AM/FM stereo with HD Radio®, single-disc CD player, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod® control, iTunes® Tagging, a USB port and auxiliary input jack. Smartphone integration features Android Auto™, Apple Carplay™, Aha™ and Pandora®, along with STARLINK cloud applications iHeartRadio®, Stitcher, Calendar, Music Player, News and Weather.  Outback Touring models also have 4 months of All Access Sirius XM Satellite Radio included.

SUBARU STARLINK Safety and Security systems to continue to provide two packages that are among the most affordable in the industry. The STARLINK Safety Plus package includes SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Maintenance Notifications, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Diagnostic Alerts. For even greater peace of mind, the STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus Package adds Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locator.

The Legacy and Outback are built at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) in Lafayette, IN.




Applicable Option Code


MSRP + $915 destination and delivery

Outback 2.5i





Outback 2.5i Premium


11, 12, 14, 15



Outback 2.5i Limited


21, 24



Outback 2.5i Touring





Outback 3.6R Limited


21, 23



Outback 3.6R Touring








CODE 01      Standard Model 2.5i


CODE 11      Standard 2.5i Premium


CODE 12      Moonroof Package + Power Rear Gate


CODE 14      EyeSight® + Blind Spot Detection/ Rear Cross Traffic Alert (BSD/RCTA) + Power Rear Gate + High Beam Assist


CODE 15      EyeSight + BSD/RCTA + Power Rear Gate + High Beam Assist + Moonroof Package + Navigation System      


CODE 21      Standard Model 2.5i and 3.6R Limited


CODE 23       EyeSight + Navigation System + High Beam Assist + Reverse Auto Brake


CODE 24    EyeSight + Navigation System + High Beam Assist + Reverse Auto Brake + LED Headlights + Steering Responsive Headlights


CODE 31     Standard Model 2.5i and 3.6R Touring


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Outbacks through the years:

Originally introduced in 1995, the first Outback was basically just a Legacy wagon with two tone paint and a little cosmetic differentiation.  In 1996, Subaru produced the Outback that you would recognize today, with aggressive cladding, raised suspension, and bigger engine.  1997 saw the first Outback Sedan, a vehicle unlike anything sold at the time.  It was available all the way through 2007.   


This latest generation is slightly larger in every dimension, and the upscale interior abounds with technology and infotainment functions.  Airbag count rises to eight with the addition of seat cushion airbags that deploy from the flat part of the seat to hold front occupants in place during an accident.
2010 through 2014
Sales went through the roof with the introduction of a larger Outback, close in size to traditional sport utility vehicles but a heckuva lot more economical and responsible.  Continuously variable transmission debuts and causes steroidal fuel economy gains.  Eyesight appears in 2013. 
2005 through 2009
 In 2005, we welcomed a quieter, more upscale Outback, even though the size remained pretty much the same.  Six airbags were standard.  Subaru offered a turbocharged XT model only on this generation. 
2000 through 2004
 This generation ironed out the wrinkles in the previous version, especially in the interior, formerly an expanse of hard plastic and curious ergonomics.  Hood scoop from the Techno-Brutal era of Japanese auto styling goes away and no one misses it.  First optional six cylinder arrived in 2001, along with Vehicle Dynamics Control.
1995 through 1999
 Arguably, Subaru created the "crossover" segment by building a car with the sport utility capabilities of a truck.  No wonder that "Subaru" comes quickly to mind when people think rugged, practical, and economical.  This was a functional car, but not a pretty one.  Dual sunroof model, also known as the "Double Bubble," appears in 1998. 

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