Its lifted ride height and tough-looking exterior allow the 2023 Subaru Outback to blend in among SUVs, but its station wagon body gives you added practicality. It can go farther off-road than the typical station wagon, and you’ll not find the Outback taking on trails in Moab alongside Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos. Customers can choose the turbocharged or non-turbo four-cylinder engine. However, all Outbacks are equipped with all-wheel drive and a variably automated transmission (CVT). The rivals, including those like the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country, offer similar styling, but the Outback features the look of a lifted station wagon. It is priced lower than luxury vehicles.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Outback lineup features a pair of flat-four-cylinder engines: a 182-hp 2.5-liter is standard and a 260-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter is optional. Both mate to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that mimics an eight-speed gearbox to mitigate annoying engine drones. Of course, that’s not the case. All Outbacks feature the standard all-wheel-drive that is the standard Subaru popular feature (except in the case of the rear-drive BRZ sports coupe). The Outback that we tested using the standard engine had slow acceleration and lazy transmission performance. Although Turbocharged versions were much more efficient, they were hampered by the same unresponsive transmission. But, many Outback users are focused on the ride quality and its capability to cope with moderate off-roading. The Outback comes equipped with 8.7 inches of ground clearance and an all-wheel drive. This wagon can handle inclement weather and even muddy, rough roads. To get the most out of its ability to go anywhere, choose the Wilderness model. It comes with 9.5 inches of clearance, an upgraded suspension, skid plates to guard its bottom, and a drive mode, including Snow and Mud modes.
The EPA estimates the standard Outback will earn 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The turbocharged version has an impressive drop in efficiency as it is rated at 23 mpg for city driving and 30 on the highway. Contrastingly its Legacy model has more efficient powertrains. The base engine is estimated to get 27/35 mpg in the city/highway, and the turbocharged variant comes with estimates of 24/32 mpg for the city/highway. We tried an Outback with all three engines on our 200 miles of real-world highway-to-highway-fuel-economy road, and they delivered the same 28 mpg. The model with the turbocharged four-cylinder returned 34 mpg during the same test. For more information on the Outback’s efficiency in the fuel, the department visits the website of the EPA.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Outback shares much of its interior with the Legacy, and both have comfortable accommodations and quality materials. Although Subaru’s cabin design is boring, it’s practical and features a comfortable seat height. Apart from being the basic model, each Outback comes with dual-zone climate control and heated front seats, an adjustable driver’s seat, and many USB ports. Additional features that are more luxurious, such as heated steering wheels and front seats that are ventilated, the ability to adjust the front passenger seat, and heated back seats, are offered in higher trim levels. The Outback also features a large back seat, which provides an additional 1.4 inches of legroom compared to the earlier generation. The rear cargo area offers an impressive 33 cubic yards of storage. In our tests, it was able to hold 11 carry-on luggage bags with the back seat raised and 23 bags folded flat. The Legacy accommodated the bags of eight and 22, for example, in the identical tests.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Base Outbacks have two stackable 7.0-inch touchscreens. However, the other models feature the massive 11.6-inch vertically-oriented touchscreen. Alongside large touchscreens and fast responses, the huge screen has a rotary tuning and volume knob and physical buttons to adjust the temperature, making them much easier to operate. With built-in navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless device charging are not required, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration is included as standard. Customers who purchase the highest-end Limited and Touring trims include a 12-speaker and 576-watt Harman/Kardon stereo system.