You’re a savvy car buyer and know that online reviews and automotive awards matter. You’ll let the officials do the hard work of evaluating and then narrow down your vehicle search accordingly. If you have plans to buy an SUV, there one roster of crossover finalists you should see.
This particular award looks at value propositions and ranks according to the most bang for the buck. It might not be a surprise that the 2021 Subaru Outback is in the running. And it faces steep competition with two Hyundai SUV finalists. But can the Subaru Outback come out ahead?
The vehicle finalists in this best-of award contest
Cars.com dove in to rank what it considers to be the SUVs offering the Best Value of 2021. Any 2021 model was eligible, regardless of when it last saw an upgrade or its official introduction year.
The criteria for the finalists of these crossovers with the best value was based on warranty coverage, available features, and overall performance. And the top three on this award list include the 2021 Subaru Outback, the 2021 Hyundai Venue, and the 2021 Hyundai Tucson.
Why the two Hyundai models are so impressive
The 2021 Hyundai Venue has one of the most impressive lists of features and equipment at the base model level. Just a few of the standards include an eight-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, and keyless entry.
It even offers driver aids like pedestrian detection, emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist, all for the base MSRP of $19,935. Cheap no longer translates to low quality when it comes to the Venue.
Not to be outdone, the Hyundai Tucson continues to be a value leader in its class for 2021. Much like its Venue sibling, the Tucson brings all the driver assistance features you like as standard.
The infotainment and tech extras are impressive and easy to use, too. And another perk of the 2021 Hyundai Tucson is its affordable cost of ownership. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine achieves incredible EPA ratings for fuel economy. This SUV gets an estimated 25 mpg combined fuel efficiency rating.
Is the 2021 Subaru Outback a good car?
So, where does the 2021 Subaru Outback fit into this equation? And what can it offer that these two competitive Hyundai SUVs can’t? For starters, the 2020 redesign for the Outback brought even more safety features to the standard list.
Base Outback models get unique features like backseat check reminders and adaptive, swiveling headlights. The EyeSight safety platform brings those must-have driver aids, as well. But the true stand-alone feature of the 2021 Subaru Outback, especially in comparison to the two Hyundai finalists, is the standard all-wheel drive.
The Hyundai Venue is only available in front-wheel drive, while the Hyundai Tucson only offers an optional all-wheel-drive variation, with a higher price point. Motor Trend points out, too, that with the Venue, the hard plastics look cheap and scuff easily. And according to Car Buying Strategies, the Tucson cabin could be more spacious, and its engine strength is pretty mediocre given its size.
Can the 2021 Subaru Outback come out on top?
With a base MSRP of $27,845, the 2021 Subaru Outback is a little more expensive than the two Hyundai SUVs in this trifecta of finalists. In the end, Cars.com gave the Best Value of 2021 distinction to the 2021 Hyundai Venue, with the Tucson and Outback coming in second and third.
For you, as an SUV buyer, you might put a little more value on the Outback’s rugged capability, functional utility, and overall safety. However, according to this list, and based on the roster of features alongside dollars to spend, the Venue takes the cake.
Don’t let a third-place finish in this contest make your final decision. Instead, consider the value that matters most to you. You may decide the Hyundai Venue or Tucson are a better option for your driving needs. But for many Subaru enthusiasts, there is no vehicle within miles of competing with the value of an Outback.