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Subaru Outback: Safety & Engineering

Safety + security = confidence in motion

Subaru has forged a reputation for building vehicles that offer superior levels of protection through the use of the most technologically advanced active and passive safety systems available. The end result: vehicles that inspire confidence and peace of mind under all possible conditions and at all times. No surprise, then, that the Subaru Outback has earned a Top Safety Pick** rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) year after year.

Always on guard

Armed with a world-class all-wheel drive system, striking agility, standard Vehicle Dynamics Control and ABS and next-generation thinking in the form of the brand new Eyesight™ advanced driving assist system, the Subaru Outback boasts superior levels of active safety.
Eyesight™ Advanced Driving Assist System The 2013 Subaru Outback is available with Eyesight, which utilizes two cameras to monitor activity in the road ahead and provide assistance to the driver when needed most. Eyesight features four different types of assistance. Adaptive Cruise Control maintains a safe distance from the car ahead. Pre-collision Braking helps slow or stop the car when it sees a panic braking situation unfolding. Pre-collision Throttle Management is designed to cut power from an absent-minded start, if it detects a potentially hazardous object is in your way. And the Lane Departure and Sway Warning helps keep you on the straight and narrow. Like a second pair of eyes, Eyesight watches out for you, warning and even aiding your ability to avoid potential danger.
Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) The Subaru VDC (VDC is also known as electronic stability control) system utilizes advanced sensors to monitor and analyze if the vehicle is following the driver’s intended course. When the limits of stability are approached, the system automatically adjusts the AWD torque distribution (Models equipped with CVT and 5EAT only), engine output and brakes at each wheel to help keep the vehicle on-course.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) The ABS incorporates the latest thinking on anti-skid prevention, as well as other features designed with added safety in mind. Electronic Brake-force Distribution automatically adjusts front/rear brake pressure under different vehicle loads, Brake Override cuts engine power when the brakes are applied and Brake Assist automatically provides added stopping power in panic-braking situations.

Stands and delivers

In the event that an accident is unavoidable, every Subaru boasts a wide range of passive safety systems that are designed to deliver class-leading levels of protection. Each vehicle features exceptionally rigid construction and incorporates the latest technologies; together, these advances minimize collision damage and, in turn, generate much greater peace of mind.
Advanced Ring-shaped Reinforcement Frame This proprietary design connects the roof to the side pillars and the floor with further cross-members and reinforcement added for additional strength. As a result, impact energy coming from all directions is dissipated and then diverted away from the passenger cabin. A front crumple zone and an engine designed to slide under the passenger compartment provide further protection in the event of a frontal impact.
Airbags The Subaru Outback features a full complement of supplemental restraints, including dual-stage deployment front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags with roll-over sensors for front and rear outboard occupants. This focus on passive safety represents an integral part of the Subaru offering and a key reason why our standards are setting the standard in markets around the world.
Whiplash-reducing Front Seats The front seats are specially designed with rigid frames, firm headrests and energy-absorbing inner seat springs to help mitigate the effects of a rear-end collision and reduce the chances of whiplash. This is just another example of how Subaru is going the extra mile to provide drivers with an unsurpassed level of confidence behind the wheel.

Safety and Security
  • Airbags (SRS): Driver dual-stage deployment with seat position sensor
  • Airbags (SRS): Front passenger dual-stage deployment with occupant detection system
  • Airbags (SRS): Front seat side-impact
  • Airbags (SRS): Side curtain with rollover sensor
  • Assist grips: Outboard seating positions
  • Brake pedal: Collapsible
  • Child safety: Rear door locking system
  • Child safety: Rear seat ISO-FIX/LATCH anchor system
  • Driver's footrest: Impact-absorbing
  • Head restraints (front): Height-adjustable
  • Head restraints (rear): Removable, height-adjustable
  • Seats (front): Whiplash-reducing
  • Seatbelts (front): 3-point with pretensioners and load limiters (Driver - ELR / Passenger - ALR)
  • Seatbelts (front): Height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors
  • Seatbelts (front): Engagement indicator and warning chime
  • Seatbelts (rear): 3-point, all seating positions (ALR)
  • Seatbelts (rear): Integrated shoulder belt anchors
  • Security: Anti-theft system
  • Security: Engine immobilizer system
  • Security: Keyless entry system with panic alarm (separate door and cargo access controls)
  • Steering column: Collapsible
  • Traction Control System
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control system with lateral-g and yaw-rate sensor
Superior engineering, unsurpassed driver confidence

At the core of the 2013 Subaru Outback is the stuff of legend: the Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD system, the SUBARU BOXER engine and the rally-honed, long-travel independent suspension system. This core technology is the reason why this SUV alternative delivers superb handling, dynamic all-road/all-weather capability and a level of confidence behind the wheel that is unmatched in its class.
The World-famous SUBARU BOXER Engine The Subaru Outback offers the choice of two potent SUBARU BOXER engines – an all-new 2.5L 4-cylinder or the largest engine in the fleet, a 3.6L 6-cylinder. The former delivers improved fuel efficiency and is quicker off the line and more responsive in all sorts of driving conditions. This engine is also available with PZEV equipment for even greater environmental performance. The 3.6L 6-cylinder utilizes Dual Active Valve Control technology to create smooth power and surprising fuel efficiency – all on regular unleaded fuel.
2.5L 4-cylinder Dual Overhead Cam
173 hp @ 5600 rpm
174 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Active Valve Control System
Meets LEV2 standards

Fuel Economy
Manual Transmission (6MT)
City / Hwy
(L/100 km)

City / Hwy
(Imperial MPG)

Automatic Transmission (CVT)
City / Hwy
(L/100 km)

City / Hwy
(Imperial MPG)
Find out more about Subaru's PZEV technology The naturally aspirated 2.5-litre DOHC SUBARU BOXER is available with optional PZEV equipment that helps to reduce smog-forming emissions to near zero with no compromise in performance. This optional technology allows the Subaru Outback to meet California’s Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) tailpipe standard, making it one of the cleanest gas-powered vehicles on the road today.
3.6L 6-cylinder Dual Overhead Cam
256 hp @ 6000 rpm
247 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Active Valve Control System
Meets LEV2 standards

Fuel Economy
Automatic Transmission (5EAT)
City / Hwy
(L/100 km)

City / Hwy
(Imperial MPG)

Transmissions + Symmetrical AWD

The 2013 Subaru Outback is available with three different transmissions, each designed to work with its own version of Subaru symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive to create an unsurpassed level of control and confidence under all conditions.
6-Speed Manual Transmission (6MT) The 6MT is connected to a viscous-coupling limited-slip centre differential that provides near neutral handling and maximum control for the driver. This transmission also features design improvements that have boosted fuel efficiency and overall performance. More importantly, these changes have created a sportier, more direct connection between the driver and the vehicle, and the vehicle and the road.
5-Speed Automatic Transmission (5EAT) The 5-speed automatic transmission is paired with a variable torque distribution AWD system that sends equal power to all four wheels under hard acceleration and more power to the rear wheels under normal conditions for a sportier feel. For those who desire increased control and sporty driving, this transmission also features paddle shifters to operate a manual mode with automatic blipping control on downshifts.

Lineartronic® CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)

The second generation of the Subaru Lineartronic® CVT is linked to a multi-plate transfer clutch AWD system that offers very predictable handling and automatically shifts torque to the back to balance power distribution under hard acceleration or in low-traction conditions. Quieter, lighter and more compact than before, the new CVT helps deliver incredible fuel efficiency of a front-wheel drive vehicle – over 1000 km*** on a single tank of fuel – combined with the performance of full-time AWD

Robust Chassis

Armed with rugged capability, superior ride comfort and car-like handling, the Outback is an absolute standout in its class. For the new model year, enhancements to the body structure, suspension and steering have produced an even smoother and quieter ride that also manages to give this SUV alternative increased agility and stability.

Front suspension

The revised MacPherson strut-type front suspension system offers enhanced comfort, safety and handling on all types of road surfaces. This system has been made more robust through greater stiffness, which helps to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. Other features of the design include a small turning circle for greater manoeuvrability, a wide track for superior stability in the corners and 220 mm of ground clearance to help clear those obstacles in the road.

Rear Suspension The double-wishbone rear suspension on the Outback has been enhanced with increased damper and spring rates. The net effect of these changes is 40% less body roll, which gives this unique utility vehicle a quieter, more responsive and more stable ride. This suspension design also offers a more controlled ride over uneven surfaces and provides more interior room for passengers and cargo.
Learn more about the benefits of the Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD, the SUBARU BOXER engine and the most capable suspension system in the business.

  • Brake Override System
  • Brakes: Power-assisted, dual-diagonal system
  • Brakes: ABS, 4-channel/4-sensor/4-wheel
  • Brakes: Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brakes: Brake Assist
  • Brakes: Electronic parking brake
  • Brakes (front): Ventilated discs (294 x 24 mm), dual-piston calipers
  • Brakes (front): Ventilated discs (316 x 30 mm), dual-piston calipers
  • Brakes (rear): Solid discs (286 x 10 mm), single-piston calipers
  • Brakes (rear): Ventilated discs (290 x 18 mm), single-piston calipers
  • Hill Holder system: Driver-selectable with memory
  • Steering: Engine-speed-sensitive, hydraulic, power rack and pinion
  • Structure: Advanced ring-shaped reinforcement frame
  • Structure: Dual, side-impact door beams (front and rear)
  • Structure: Energy-absorbing crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Suspension: 4-wheel fully independent
  • Suspension: Stabilizer bar (front and rear)
  • Suspension (front): MacPherson strut
  • Suspension (rear): Double-wishbone
  • Engine: 2.5L Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), 16-valve, horizontally opposed, 4-cylinder SUBARU BOXER engine, Electronic Throttle Control and Active Valve Control System
  • Power: 173 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Torque: 174 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
  • Engine: 3.6L Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), 24-valve, horizontally opposed, 6-cylinder SUBARU BOXER engine, Electronic Throttle Control and Dual Active Valve Control System
  • Power: 256 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Torque: 247 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
  • Emissions: Meets Low Emission Vehicle (LEV2) standards
  • Emissions: Meets Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) standards
  • Engine block: Open deck design, aluminum
  • Engine mounts: Liquid-filled rubber
  • Engine top cover
  • Fuel injection: Sequential multiport
  • Ignition system: Direct
  • PZEV emissions equipment
  • Spark plugs: Iridium-tipped
Transmission and Drivetrain*
  • Lineartronic® CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual mode
  • 6-speed Manual Transmission (6MT)
  • 5-speed Electronic Direct Control Automatic Transmission with Manual Mode (5EAT)
  • Subaru symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive system: Variable Torque Distribution (VTD)
  • Differential (rear): Standard open type
* Selected features may not be available on all trim levels. Check specifications section for full details.
** Ratings of “Good” are the highest rating awarded for 40-mph frontal offset, 31-mph side impact and 20-mph rear-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ( A “Good” rating obtained in all three crash tests plus a “Good” rating in new roof strength testing and the availability of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (Vehicle Dynamics Control) achieves a 2012 Top Safety Pick.
*** It’s possible to travel up to 1,000 km on one tank of fuel based on manufacturer estimated fuel economy 6.5L per 100 km (highway) for a 2013 Outback equipped with continuously variable automatic transmission and a 70 L fuel tank capacity. Actual fuel consumption will vary based on driving conditions, driver habits and vehicle load. Actual mileage may vary.
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