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The Outback is one of the most popular small SUVs in America. The $28,395 midsize SUV checks nearly every box for anyone looking to downsize from a full-size model or upgrade from a sedan. However, did you know there are several midsize SUVs from automakers like Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota that check all the same boxes? If you don’t want the same old Subaru Outback everyone else has, here are three alternatives under $40,000.

Why you should consider a midsize SUV

A white 2023 Subaru Outback driving down a road.
2022 Subaru Outback | Subaru of America, Inc.

A midsize model is something to consider if you’re in the market for a new SUV. For years, models like the Subaru Outback have gotten it done for owners. Unlike full-size SUVs, they can’t tow a bunch of weight and most can’t fit eight passengers inside. However, if you’re like most people, you don’t need most of those things. Most people use them on rare occasions, which is why downsized SUVs are much more popular.

Furthermore, midsize and compact SUVs are much more affordable in more than one way. The MSRP is usually much lower than full-size SUVs, and owners save at the gas pump too. Moreover, midsize SUVs are the perfect option for anyone who requires a spacious, equipment-heavy, safe, reliable family vehicle that doesn’t break the bank.

The Nissan Murano is an Outback alternative that starts under $40,000

A gray Nissan Murano midsize SUV is parked.
The 2022 Nissan Murano | Nissan

First, one of the best Subaru Outback alternatives under $40,000 is the 2022 Nissan Murano. The Murano is surprisingly affordable with a low starting price of $33,310. Both the S and SV models start under $40,000 and are well-equipped, providing the owner with a lot of value. Plus, a suite of advanced driving aids is standard, usually costing extra for many models.

According to Edmunds, the Murano S has 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satellite radio, and four USB ports. In addition, the suite of driver aids includes forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic rear braking, lane departure mitigation, and rear parking sensors.

In addition, upgrading to the SV trim level remains under $40K but adds many features. For example, remote engine start, LED foglights, heated mirrors, roof rails, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated/power-adjustable front seats, simulated leather upholstery, front parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control. Lastly, every trim level comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque.

Underrated but excellent: The 2022 Chevrolet Blazer

The 2022 Chevrolet Blazer is probably the most underrated Subaru Outback alternative. Remaining under $40,000, the Blazer starts at $33,400. Additionally, its second-cheapest trim is also under $40K, just like the Murano. Buying either option lands owners with a host of excellent features.

Bottom trims use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. However, the most expensive Blazer gets a standard 3.6-liter V6, upping hp to 308 and lb-ft to 270. This engine is optional for all trim levels and available for under $40,000. Base model Blazers come well-equipped with comfort and convenience too.

For example, the 2LT has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and more. Opting for the 3LT adds a leather interior, heated front seats, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Toyota Venza is the best Outback alternative

The new hybrid SUV 2022 Toyota Venza Limited is turned in a room
2022 Toyota Venza Limited | Toyota

Finally, the best option for Subaru Outback alternatives under $40,000 is the 2022 Toyota Venza. Although it might slip under many buyers’ radars, it’s well-reviewed and underappreciated. First, the Venza starts at $33,240. On par with the other Outback alternatives, even the Venza’s fully-loaded trim barely exceeds $40K. More specifically, the midtier trim is $38,110, and the highest Limited trim is $42,065.

On top of an excellent price point, the Venza is the most fuel-efficient model in its class. That’s because it’s offered exclusively with a hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 219 hp. In addition, all-wheel drive is standard on every version of the Venza. Unlike the Blazer or Murano, it matches the Outback in this way.

Furthermore, every Venza has the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of features. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert. Moreover, the cheapest models have excellent features like a hands-free liftgate, heated front seats, simulated leather, front/rear parking sensors, roof rails, and much more.

Great Subaru Outback alternatives

In conclusion, if you’re not interested in the Subaru Outback but want all it has to offer, there are three great alternatives. Best of all, each of these models starts under $40,000. Many buyers will find equal value in models like the Chevrolet Blazer, Toyota Venza, and Nissan Murano. Regardless of which midsize SUV you choose, it’ll come with plenty of safety, convenience, and comfort.


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