Car Reviews

2023 Subaru Outback Review: One of the best SUVs is actually a wagon

Execs: Extra passenger and cargo house than comparably priced SUVs; big-time floor clearance; low roof with versatile rails; gas environment friendly

Cons: Imprecise steering; odd energy supply; Wilderness’ on-road dealing with and gas financial system

It might appear contradictory, however one of the vital succesful SUVs you should buy is definitely a wagon. The 2023 Subaru Outback checks off all of the packing containers many individuals purchase an SUV for: ample house, cargo-carrying versatility, customary all-wheel drive and additional floor clearance. It additionally has an plain rugged look and vibe. The Outback then goes additional than merely checking the traditional packing containers. It truly outdoes the house, versatility and floor clearance of most equally priced crossover SUVs, whereas boasting a notable wagon-specific benefit in a decrease roof that makes it simpler to load issues (and your self) up onto the lid.

In different phrases, the Outback is a good alternative for many who truly intend to take their out of doors journey automobile on adventures outdoor. There’s a purpose it’s so darn well-liked within the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Alaska. Seeing one with out some form of accent rack on prime is uncommon, whereas the bumper or home windows will inevitably be festooned in stickers for nationwide parks or out of doors manufacturers.

Final 12 months, Subaru double-downed on the Outback’s outdoorsy recognition by introducing the much more rugged Outback Wilderness. Homeowners have been already lifting their Outbacks even additional off the bottom and becoming all-terrain tires, so Subaru mainly figured it could supply a model like that from the manufacturing facility, full with distinctive styling that is still intact for 2023 despite the fact that the remainder of the Outback line will get a facelift. The Wilderness is certainly the good Outback, however its distinctive functionality has its downsides (on-road dealing with, gas financial system), so don’t write off the common variations as your go-to, SUV-besting wagon.  

Inside & Expertise   |   Passenger & Cargo Area   |   Efficiency & Gasoline Financial system

What it is prefer to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Ranges   |   Crash Scores & Security Options

2023 Subaru Outback

What’s new for 2023?

Each Outback however the Wilderness will get a redesigned entrance finish for 2023 (earlier than and after pics are above). The grille is bigger, the LED foglamps are spherical and extra pronounced, and it’s all bracketed by huge, black cladding just like what you’ll discover on the brand new Solterra EV. From our perspective, it’s a bit a lot and simply makes the Wilderness that rather more visually interesting. Different updates embody the Onyx Version now out there with the bottom 2.5-liter engine along with the beforehand customary 2.4-liter turbo. The highest-of-the-line Touring trim good points a rearview digicam mirror and an additional EyeSight digicam that enhances the ahead collision warning system’s pedestrian and bike owner detection. The newest model of Subaru’s Starlink 11.6-inch touchscreen interface can also be added to all however the base trim. It consists of wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the power for the navigation system to make use of what3words location identification. That’ll make navigating to a particular spot off the grid that a lot simpler.  

2023 Subaru Outback

What are the Outback inside and in-car expertise like?

Almost each 2023 Outback comes with a vertically oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen. We discovered it to be flawed prior to now with cartoonish graphics, however we haven’t had a possibility to check the up to date model of the interface for 2023. It ought to nonetheless be simply as simple to succeed in and to see, nonetheless, due to that massive display screen. The bottom Outback’s system, which oddly consists of two 7-inch screens, is unchanged.

By way of design, we won’t say the inside is very engaging, however supplies high quality is stronger than it was prior to now. The buttons and switches have a high-quality really feel to them, whereas even the bottom trim will get simulated leather-based stitched collectively on the sprint, doorways and middle console. There’s additionally a welcome injection of shade discovered within the Onyx Version (grey and black “StarTex” vinyl accented in electrical inexperienced), the Wilderness (textured “StarTex” upholstery with bronze accents all through, proven above left) and the range-topping Touring (tasteful brown leather-based, proven above proper). The Wilderness additionally will get particular all-weather ground mats with emblems and mountains embossed on them.

How huge is the Outback?

Assume a wagon is smaller than an SUV? Assume once more. With its considerably longer wheelbase and total size, the Outback exceeds the house you may discover in compact crossovers just like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru’s personal Forester. That is particularly noteworthy for folks with rear-facing baby seats (see our Outback automobile seat house check right here).

Cargo quantity, in the meantime, is phenomenal. True, it’s a bit much less with the again seat raised (32.5 cubic ft) than some bigger compact crossovers (RAV4, Tucson, Sportage), however their numbers are a bit deceiving since a lot of an SUV’s house is up excessive within the greenhouse the place filling it may block rear visibility and pose a hazard as a result of gadgets flying ahead. The Outback’s house, in contrast, is extra reliant on its beneficiant width and depth. Its most cargo capability with the seats down additionally gives higher size, countering the additional peak of SUV opponents. In our expertise, this makes the Outback extra helpful total.

Even higher, most variations of the Outback consists of distinctive roof rails that swing inward to grow to be their very own crossbars (pictured under). There are additionally sturdy tie-down factors back and front, and because the Outback’s roof is decrease than an SUV’s, it is simpler to load stuff up there (together with your self in a roof-top tent). The draw back to those roof rails is that they’ve a decrease weight capability and restricted crossbar placement. As probably the most hardcore Outback, the Wilderness subsequently has stronger, mounted roof rails (under, backside left) to fulfill extra demanding wants.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

What are the Outback gas financial system and efficiency specs?

The Outback comes customary with a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed “Boxer” four-cylinder that produces 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. This quantity is mid-pack when in comparison with most compact crossovers. Midsize crossovers just like the Honda Passport have way more customary energy, but in addition worsen gas financial system. The bottom Outback engine returns 26 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed, which is superb contemplating each Outback comes customary with all-wheel drive. A constantly variable transmission (CVT) can also be compulsory.

The improve engine is designated by the identify XT and is optionally available on the Restricted, Onyx Version and Touring trim ranges. It is customary on the Wilderness. This turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-four produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, which is a much more compelling output. It is undoubtedly a field to verify for those who plan on placing all that house to good use and particularly if it will occur at altitude, the place naturally aspirated engines lose energy. Gasoline financial system can nonetheless be fairly good with an estimate of 23 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 26 mpg mixed. The Wilderness takes a big hit as a result of its larger journey peak and all-terrain tires with estimates of 21/26/23.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

What is the Outback prefer to drive?

The Outback’s steering is kind of numb on middle, which does not promote a way of driver-machine management. It is simple to show at low speeds, and truly well-suited to free off-road surfaces, however for these hoping a wagon will likely be extra involving to drive than a small SUV, the steering is an actual letdown. And it truly will get worse. The Wilderness has Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires, which look cool and are actually helpful off-road, however on-road they create a squishy, delayed response off middle (as is typical for all-terrain tires) and considerably cut back grip on pavement. The quantity of slide we skilled in a humid hairpin flip was virtually comical. Apparently, we didn’t expertise the identical response points within the Forester Wilderness, which has the identical tires, although a special suspension and steering tuning. 

As for the Outback Wilderness suspension, the journey is acceptably firmer than the notably comfortable tuning you may discover in different Outbacks. We did not discover a degradation in dealing with because of the carry, however that is as a result of the tires did not actually give us the chance to push the factor. No Outback is in the end a lot of a handler. On the similar time, although, you possibly can inform that it is decrease and wider than the small SUVs it is certain to be in contrast with. That is a great factor for these of us preferring the texture of driving a automobile and being a bit decrease to the bottom (even when the Outback has extra floor clearance than most SUVs at 8.7 customary or an almost-absurd 9.5 for the Wilderness). Its longer wheelbase additionally helps present a smoother, extra composed journey.

The bottom engine gives adequate energy, and the CVT helps hold revs relaxingly low at dawdling, around-town speeds. Push it, nonetheless, and this engine shortly loses steam and wails because the CVT does its greatest to maintain revs beneficially excessive. Although it makes an attempt to create a extra conventional driving really feel by simulating upshifts, it does so at uncommon occasions that do not precisely mitigate the bizarre really feel and sound of a CVT. These attributes stay within the turbocharged XT, however are not less than mitigated by the extra highly effective engine that does not need to work as laborious. That stated, the turbo engine can also be a bit old-school in its energy supply. It feels fairly pokey and gradual till about 3,000 rpm, after which bam, the turbo kicks in. We’re guessing that is extra the results of selling good gas financial system by limiting enhance at low rpm fairly than old school Nineteen Eighties turbo lag.

What different Subaru Outback evaluations can I learn?

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness First Drive

The complete scoop on the Outback Wilderness with extra detailed details about its particular options and what it is prefer to drive.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness


Comparability Check: 2020 Subaru Outback vs 2020 Subaru Forester

Subaru uniquely sells two equally sized crossovers: yet one more wagon-like, the opposite extra SUV-like. We check them side-by-side.


2020 Subaru Outback Roof Rack Driveway Check

We check the Outback’s distinctive roof rails that grow to be their very own crossbars utilizing the brand new Yakima CBX Photo voltaic. 


2020 Subaru Outback Baggage Check | Rating one for wagons

We take a deep dive into the Outback’s cargo capability on this baggage check, discovering out how a lot stuff matches within the cargo space. 


2020 Subaru Outback Suspension Deep Dive

Our contributing engineer Dan Edmunds takes you beneath the brand new Outback to elucidate why it is higher to drive than the earlier era and the way it differs from the Legacy. 


2022 Subaru Outback Automobile Seat Area Check

How a lot does the Outback again seat have for a large rear-facing automobile seat, and importantly, how a lot is left over for mother and pa up entrance? This gives the solutions.



2020 Subaru Outback First Drive | The large payoff

Our first drive evaluation of the brand new Outback, together with extra details about what’s new and its revised design and engineering.


2020 Subaru Outback 2.5 base engine evaluation

We pattern the brand new Outback with its base engine within the top-of-the-line Touring trim stage. 

What’s the 2023 Outback worth?

Normal tools is beneficiant. Moreover the plentiful security tech described within the part under, you get permit wheels, steering adaptive LED headlights, fog lights, automated local weather management, a rearview digicam washer, roof rails with built-in tie-downs and crossbars, two 7-inch touchscreens, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite tv for pc radio and a four-speaker sound system.

As is normally the case, stepping as much as the second trim stage rung is a good suggestion. For an additional $2,250, the Outback Premium extras embody an influence driver seat, heated entrance seats, a leather-wrapped wheel, dual-zone local weather management, rear air vents, a cargo cowl, the vertically oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen, two rear USB ports and 6 audio system.

As we see it, the principle purpose to step as much as the higher trim ranges is to achieve entry to the XT turbo engine improve. Amongst these, we expect the Onyx Version is the one to get, principally as a result of its water-repellant “StarTex” vinyl upholstery will put on higher and is simple to scrub (and it is cow free). As for the Wilderness, its compromised on-road dealing with would give us critical pause, however we won’t deny the attraction of its particular seems and elevated functionality. It provides 0.8 inch of floor clearance, Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires, particular black wheels, an identical full-size spare, ladder-type mounted roof rails, hexagonal LED foglights, completely different bumpers and fender flares, bronze shade accents in and out, and particular X-Mode calibration.

All costs under embody the $1,225 vacation spot cost.

Base: $29,620
Premium: $31,920
Onyx Version: $34,720
Restricted: $36,520
Touring: $41,070

Onyx Version XT: $39,810
Wilderness: $39,670
Restricted XT: $40,920
Touring XT: $43,520

What are the Outback security rankings and driver help options?

Each 2023 Outback consists of ahead collision warning with pedestrian detection and automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help, a rear seat occupant reminder and adaptive cruise management with lane-centering steering. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert are optionally available on the bottom trim and customary on all others. The DriverFocus distraction mitigation system is optionally available on the Restricted and customary on the Touring. The Touring additionally will get an additional digicam that enhances the pedestrian and bike owner detection of the ahead collision warning/prevention system.

These methods all accomplish the duty of holding you secure, which is the purpose. Nonetheless, they’re additionally a bit over-eager and vocal about their warnings – there’s an terrible lot of beeping and blinking lights. Comparable methods of rival manufacturers are likely to do the identical jobs with much less annoyance.

Authorities crash rankings are an ideal 5 stars throughout the board. The Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security additionally named it a Prime Security Decide for its best-possible crash safety and prevention rankings. Its headlight rankings have been additionally higher than most and its LATCH baby seat anchors obtained the best-possible “Good+” ranking (a part of that’s the truth the Outback has a uncommon center LATCH anchor).


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