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For crossover SUV shoppers, the Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V have much to offer. In an earlier article, we highlighted a standout element of the CR-V. Now, we do the opposite for the Outback. The 2023 Subaru Outback has one big strength over the 2023 Honda CR-V: off-road capabilities.

2023 Subaru Outback has better off-road capabilities than the 2023 Honda CR-V

Front angle view of blue 2023 Subaru Outback crossover SUV
2023 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Many drivers are buying vehicles that can head off-road. They long to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy adventures out in nature. The 2023 Subaru Outback, with its off-road prowess, meets this demand. It’s a much better crossover SUV for off-road use than the 2023 Honda CR-V.

There are a number of reasons why the Outback is more capable for excursions off the beaten path. Both crossover SUVs offer an all-wheel system. However, AWD is standard for all Outback models — but optional for the CR-V, so you have to pay extra. Plus, for effective travel over uneven surfaces, the Outback has higher ground clearance — with up to 9.5 inches, compared to 8.2 inches for the CR-V.

Additionally, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive in the Outback is more advanced and provides superior traction than the AWD system for the CR-V. It detects wheel slippage before it occurs when driving on challenging terrain. It also provides the optimal distribution of power to the front or rear wheels as needed. Plus, for even more traction, there’s a selectable X-Mode feature.

Furthermore, unlike the CR-V, the Outback has an off-road model with the Wilderness trim. Notable features in the Wilderness trim include all-terrain tires, a front skid plate, and improved approach and departure angles for easier clearance of obstacles. Additionally, it has a dual-action X-Mode, with settings for mud, sand, and deep snow. 

2023 Outback is also more effective than the 2023 CR-V for driving in adverse weather conditions

Rear angle view of black 2023 Honda CR-V crossover SUV
2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

Off-road driving isn’t for everyone. However, even if your excursions are limited to on-road driving, you can still benefit from the off-road capabilities of the 2023 Subaru Outback crossover SUV. These capabilities enable it to more effectively and safely travel in adverse weather conditions compared to the 2023 Honda CR-V.

This includes driving on wet and slippery roads — whether from rain, ice, or snow. If you live in a climate with heavy snow, the Outback is a particularly good choice.

Also, the off-road capabilities aid driving on poor-quality roads, including ones with broken concrete, potholes, and cracks. Additionally, the extra grip from the all-wheel drive system helps with driving through sharp curves and around corners.

Other ways the Subaru Outback is better than the Honda CR-V

There are other ways that the 2023 Outback is better than the 2023 CR-V for crossover SUV drivers. This includes a more powerful available engine. The Outback’s turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four-cylinder engine delivers 260 horsepower. In comparison, the most powerful one that the CR-V offers is a hybrid powertrain, which generates 204 horsepower. Also, the Outback has a higher maximum towing capacity than the CR-V (3,500 vs. 1,500 pounds).

Additionally, the cabin in the Outback is slightly roomier. Both crossover SUVs can seat up to five people, but the Outback has a total passenger volume of 109 cu-ft, while the CR-V offers 104 cu-ft.

The 2023 Subaru Outback is better for off-road use compared to the 2023 Honda CR-V. These off-road capabilities provide a big strength — especially if you’re a crossover SUV driver that wants to head far out into the wilderness.

Related 2023 Subaru Outback: Specs, Upgrades, and Pricing

2023 Subaru Outback: Specs, Upgrades, and Pricing