Best Road Trip Cars: Subaru Outback

Just like it’s corporate sibling, there’s something about the Subaru Outback that just makes you want to get up and go. The Outback is expressive, fun, and dynamic too. This elevated wagon has won the hearts of many and has also earned a top spot on Consumer Reports’s best road trip vehicle lists. Here’s what you should consider before taking an Outback on the open road. 

Wagonlike charm

The Outback is a compelling car option because it offers the conventional qualities of an SUV in a sporty wagon package. Its base model features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a 182 horsepower. On the plus side, the base engine gets a decent fuel economy rating with a combined 30 mpg.

On the downside, the base engine is kind of a snore. Fortunately, there is an available 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates a 260 horsepower. The turbocharged engine truly transforms the Outback’s driving experience. Although, no matter which engine you pick, you’ll find that the Outback is smooth and responsive. 

If you are particularly interested in the Outback’s off-roading capability, you will want to seriously consider the Outback Onyx Edition XT trim with dual X-mode. The dual X-mode is ideal for maneuvering snowy and muddy conditions. In general, the Outback is adequate for off-roading because of its higher ground clearance and there’s a standard X-mode feature too. 

Cabin comfort and infotainment 

2020 Subaru Outback interior fitted with Java Brown Nappa Leather.
2020 Touring Outback Interior ⎹ Subaru

The Outback is rugged on the outside and surprisingly plush on the inside. Its standard cloth seats are nicely padded and detailed which is much appreciated on long car rides. If you want your Outback to feel more luxurious, you can upgrade the interior with a variety of options.

Available upgrades include water-repelling faux leather, genuine leather, and Nappa leather. A heated steering wheel, as well as heated and ventilated front seats are available options too. There are also notable finishing touches such as a dual-position trunk cover.

Infotainment is great a selling point for the Outback too. It comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Apple CarPay, and Android Auto. For a ritzier experience, you can upgrade to an 11-inch touchscreen, navigation, a 12-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and wireless charging. 

Safety features and ratings

What makes the Outback even better for road trips is its safety ratings. The Outback earned a five-star crash-test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was named a Top Safety Pick+  by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard advanced safety features on the wagon include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

Overall reliability 

The 2020 Outback is considered as an overall reliable car choice according to Consumer Reports. However, Subaru has recalled the model once for an issue with its service brakes. Subaru began contacting owners about this issue back in October of 2019. Generally speaking though, owner satisfaction is also a positive aspect of the Outback. Outback owners love the Outback’s comfort levels, style, driving experience, and feel like they got a great value.