Subaru's 2021 Outback station wagon has been a smashing success, and many competitors have tried to emulate it without achieving similar levels of traction. While other wagons offer the same slightly lifted suspension and ruggedized plastic panels found on the Subaru, none come close to its Editors' Choice award-winning status.
The Outback stands out with its ready-for-anything look, standard all-wheel drive, and spacious cabin. Choose between a non-turbocharged 2.5 or turbocharged 2.4 engine providing an optimal balance of speed and power - while handling may not satisfy the heart of a driving enthusiast it provides enough stability for families that need to get from point A to B with ease! Quieter than ever before, practical yet still adventure seeking this car is perfect for those about to embark on their next challenge in life!
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Outback cars come equipped with either a 182-hp 2.5L flat four-cylinder engine, or an available 260-hp turbocharged 2.4L alternative; both are mated to the Subaru's preferred 8-speed CVT that eliminates any annoying drone from the motor. Plus, all Outbacks feature standard all-wheel drive for added traction and control - except for their rear wheel driven BRZ sports coupe of course!
The classic powertrain delivers unimpressive power, and our tried-and-tested Outback had underwhelming speed levels as well as a lethargic transmission. The turbocharged version showed an improved performance but still suffered from the same temperamental gearbox. Nevertheless, most Outback owners prioritize ride comfort and minor offroading abilities – with its 8.7 inches of clearance in addition to dependable all-wheel drive machinery, this wagon handles adverse conditions including muddy roads without breaking a sweat!
The Outback offers an exceptionally smooth ride thanks to its suspension, and managing it on the highway is a breeze with accurate steering. However, WRX fans upgrading to this wagon might be taken aback by its lack of athleticism. On top of that, the standard engine can tow up to 2700 lbs while the turbocharged version has a capacity for hauling 3500 lbs– impressive specs for such a practical vehicle!
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the standard Outback will earn 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The turbocharged version sees a significant dip in efficiency, with ratings of 23 mpg city and 30 highway. In contrast, its Legacy counterpart has thriftier powertrains. Its base engine is expected to earn 27/35 mpg city/highway and the turbocharged option has estimates of 24/32 mpg city/highway. We tested an Outback with each of these engines on our 200-mile real-world highway-fuel-economy route, and they returned an identical 28 mpg. The sedan with the turbocharged four-cylinder got 34 mpg in that same test.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Outback earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). All Outback models come standard with the company's EyeSight suite of driver-assistance technology.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Outback and the Legacy have similar interiors, both providing a comfortable ride with high quality materials. Subaru's cabin designs may be uninspiring, but they are incredibly functional given their seating heights. Every model of the Outback is equipped with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, power adjustable driver seat and plenty of USB ports; opting for higher trims offers even more luxurious amenities such as a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats along with an additional power adjustable passenger seat plus heated rear seats too!
The Outback provides an extra 1.4 inches of legroom in the back seat compared to its predecessor, and 33 cubic feet of cargo space for all your belongings! We tested it with both the rear seats up and folded flat - 11 carry-on suitcases fit comfortably when seated, while 23 bags were able to be stored away when laid down. In comparison, our tests showed that the Legacy could only manage 8 bags with seats upright and 22 luggage pieces overall.
Is the Subaru Outback a reliable car?
We expect the 2023 Outback will have about average reliability when compared to the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2020, 2021 and 2022 models.
Which is bigger the Subaru Outback or Forester?
Both the Subaru Forester and Outback are similar in size. The Forester offers more passenger volume than the Outback does with 111.9 cubic feet compared to 105.6 in the Outback. The Outback, however, delivers more cargo space than the Forester does with 32.5 cubic feet compared to 31.1 cubic feet in the Forester.