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You’ve narrowed down your vehicle search to two models. You love the look of the Honda CR-V. But, you’re torn because you know how safe the Subaru Outback is too. Both are reliable vehicles. So, which should you buy? We can’t make the purchasing decision for you, but we certainly can help.

Today, we’ll highlight the best features and unique differences for both the CR-V and the Outback. It might help shed some light to help you decide.

The most significant differences between the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback

At first glance, these vehicles might appear to be quite similar. However, there are several unique differences between the CR-V and the Outback. For starters, they’re very different vehicles.

The Outback is what they call a midsize, car-based SUV, while the CR-V is a compact SUV. This might suggest the SUV has more gusto under the hood, but it doesn’t. In fact, the Outback offers more off-pavement capabilities, despite its ‘car-like’ base. Here are a few other notable differences.

  • Outback offers standard AWD while the CR-V offers standard FWD with optional AWD.
  • Outback is a longer model, thus the car-based SUV title. The CR-V is more SUV, with a shorter length and taller roofline.
  • Standard engines for both are similar in performance. However, the Outback’s optional engines add an extra 150+ hp over the CR-V’s capabilities.
  • Honda’s focus is more about fuel efficiency and comfort, while Subaru’s objective targets capable performance and safety.
  • The style for these vehicles is completely different. Neither is better over the other, although it’s a personal preference and notable difference.

Which is the safest?

Safety standards for most vehicles are more comprehensive in newer models. Expect airbags, anti-lock braking, and for the newer models, the driver assistance tech for safe driving.

However, Subaru’s brand itself promotes the utmost in design for safety. While both have earned recognition with IIHS, the Outback won the 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS.

Which is the most reliable?

Which vehicle is best for going the distance? Based on a history of reported issues, past recalls, the longevity of ownership miles, and average repair and maintenance, the Subaru is neck and neck with the Honda. In one review, the Outback was given a 3.5 (out of five) reliability rating while CR-V earned a 4.5.

Which has the most comfortable ride?

The Honda CR-V historically ranks highest in comfort. With its more recent redesign, the newer models to present offer all the best in comfort and available technology.

As for the Subaru Outback, which has a brand-new design for 2020, it’s comfortable, but built more for off-pavement, wagon capabilities than creature comforts. It’s in-cabin tech, at least in some reviews, may require some getting used to, as well.

Which has more room and available cargo?

The Subaru Outback and the Honda CR-V have similar cargo space and two-row passenger room. If you’re interested in the numbers, Outback offers 73.3 cubic feet, and CR-V has 75.8 cubic feet. You’ll be able to seat the same number of people and haul about the same amount of gear.

The decision will come down to how you plan to use your vehicle and lifestyle preferences. If you’re interested in a comfortable, family-friendly type of daily driver, the Honda CR-V might suit you best. If you’d venture to guess you’ll occasionally go off-road or have a need for a more rugged and capable ride, the Outback will be a great fit.

Either way, you’ve at least narrowed it down to two phenomenal options. One might say it’s a win-win regardless of which you end up parking in the garage.


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