Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Subaru Outback Is a Luxury SUV in Disguise

A luxurious SUV is within your reach, and it costs less than you’d expect. Of course, there’s a catch. This hidden gem – the 2021 Subaru Outback – isn’t a luxury model. And it’s not even an SUV.

The Outback is technically a wagon. However, experts often place the Outback in the midsize SUV segment due to its enormous 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Regardless of its classification, there’s more to this unique model than meets the eye. And you might even prefer it over pricier competitors, such as the Audi A4 Allroad or Mercedes-Benz GLC.

The 2021 Subaru Outback prioritizes its passengers

A dark red 2021 Subaru Outback driving down a highway road
The 2021 Subaru Outback in action | Subaru

You’ll feel at home inside this throwback model, but not for the reasons you’d think. The 2021 Subaru Outback isn’t a nostalgia trip reminiscent of your parent’s old wood-panel station wagon. Instead, it’s a cutting-edge vehicle that heavily emphasizes comfort and capability.

The Outback has all the available premium features that you’d expect, such as leather upholstery and heated seats. However, its smooth ride quality promotes a serene atmosphere that enhances your adventures and morning commutes. Plus, you’ll gain the advantage of incredible outward visibility.

Some experts even compared this rugged wagon to more sophisticated models. For example, Consumer Reports stated that the 2021 Subaru Outback is “a very comfortable ride that outshines some luxury SUVs.” Additionally, the publication praised the Outback’s quiet cabin and comfortable seats.

Subaru’s wagon delivers where it counts

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The 2021 Subaru Outback exceeded Consumer Reports’ expectations. So, it’s no surprise that the publication named it the best non-luxury midsize SUV. Plus, the Outback’s overall vehicle score of 86/100 on Consumer Reports is higher than every 2021 luxury midsize SUV. But are other critics as enamored with this oddball model?

Car and Driver also commended the 2021 Outback, giving it a 9/10 rating. And it’s evident that ride quality, versatility, and value played a significant role in this score.

The publication wasn’t impressed by either of the Outback’s engine options. The wagon comes standard with a 182-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while pricier trim levels feature a 260-hp 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. However, Car and Driver claimed the base engine lacks punchiness, and both powerplants are marred by a listless continuously variable transmission (CVT.)

Despite these downfalls, the publication still named the Outback an Editor’s Choice vehicle. This praise proves that practicality and comfort are essential to the driving experience. And when it comes down to it, the 2021 Subaru Outback delivers in these categories without forcing you to pay an arm and a leg.

The 2021 Subaru Outback: Refined, not exaggerated

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There’s one category where the Outback is significantly out-classed by luxury SUVs. This modern wagon lacks the upscale interior styling offered by manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. For example, the Outback doesn’t feature genuine wood trim or race-inspired amenities.

However, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While the Outback looks vanilla compared to a genuine luxury SUV, it still includes high-quality materials. Plus, its plush ride provides all the comfort you’ll need. After all, Nappa leather seats are hardly enjoyable if you’re suffering in a vehicle that punishes you at every bump in the road.

The 2021 Subaru Outback’s starting MSRP of $26,795 allows you to save thousands while still experiencing a relaxing drive. Plus, you can upgrade to the trim-topping Touring XT model ($39,945 MSRP) for less than it costs for a base-level luxury SUV. Doing so affords you niceties such as an 11.6-inch touchscreen display with navigation, a front-view camera, a heated steering wheel, and more.