Crossover & Midsize

Look No Further Than the 2021 Subaru Outback for Your Next Midsize SUV

People shopping for a new midsize SUV typically have two things in mind: space and reliability. Its dimensions need to be generous enough to house each member of the family comfortably, as well as any cargo. A trusted family hauler should also be a reliable car with few issues. According to MotorTrend, the Subaru Outback fits this description perfectly.

It’s technically a wagon instead of an SUV, but most people classify it as one anyway because it’s just as good. Here’s why MotorTrend loves the Subaru Outback, even more than all the fresh competition in the segment this year.

How well does the Subaru Outback ride?

The Subaru Outback gets its power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. It’s a fine daily driver, but it could struggle if you have a lot of heavy cargo on board. The weaker motor can also hinder the Outback’s performance off-road.

The Outback XT models come standard with a 2.4-liter turbo-four that produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. MotorTrend cautions that some turbo lag is apparent, but it’s not too much of a disturbance. Both engines come paired with a CVT and standard AWD.

MotorTrend compared the Subaru Outback’s ride to that of a luxury model. Pretty much every pothole is muted by the car’s suspension and the cabin is well-insulated with the stronger engine. Testers were also impressed with the Outback’s smooth and responsive handling.

Unlike some other SUVs, you can take the Subaru Outback out for light off-roading with confidence. It has almost nine inches of ground clearance and an enhanced traction control system for wet pavement. This system is only available on the XT model and also comes with hill descent control.

A spacious, upscale interior

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The Subaru Outback got some significant changes for its redesign last year. More effort was put into refining the car’s interior, even including faux leather surfaces on the base trim. The contrasting stitching on the available leather upholstery also makes the Outback feel very luxe at its price point.

The Subaru Outback has some unique available technology, like a vertically-angled 12-inch touchscreen. Car and Driver said that the system responds quickly to user inputs thanks to dual processors. Most of the controls are digital, but physical knobs remain for audio and climate settings.

This wagon is also just as roomy as any of its midsize SUV rivals. There’s plenty of space for all five riders to stretch out on wide, supportive seat cushions. The Outback’s unconventional dimensions also make for excellent driver visibility. It has the lifted ride height of an SUV with the slim roof pillars of a sedan.

Cargo space is also plentiful, with over 32 cubic feet of space behind the back seats. Fold those down and you get a maximum of almost 76 cubic feet of space. There’s also a hidden storage compartment under the load floor and roof racks for securing long items.

The Subaru Outback is better than many of its rivals

MotorTrend picked the Subaru Outback over several new newer rivals like the Hyundai Palisade. Although the Palisade has a more powerful standard engine, it’s not as efficient as either of the Outback’s AWD powertrains. The Subaru Outback also has a significantly lower starting price, even with many of the same standard features.

The Subaru Outback also has a clear advantage when it comes to the interior. The Kia Sorento can seat up to seven, but the third row is cramped and has little cargo room behind it. The Honda Passport has plenty of room, but critics determined that its seats weren’t nearly as cozy as the Outback’s seats.