Subaru Crosstrek vs. Outback: Which is Better?

Subaru is known for producing reliable and versatile vehicles, and the Crosstrek and Outback are no exception. These two SUVs share many similarities, but they also have some important differences that can make a big difference for drivers. In this article, we’ll compare the Subaru Crosstrek and Outback in terms of price, size, performance, safety, and more to help you decide which one is right for you.


One of the biggest differences between the Crosstrek and Outback is their price. The Crosstrek is Subaru’s most affordable SUV, with a starting price of around $23,000. On the other hand, the Outback starts at around $27,000, making it more expensive. This price difference is something to consider if you’re on a tight budget or looking for a more affordable vehicle.


Another key difference between the Crosstrek and Outback is their size. The Crosstrek is smaller than the Outback, with a total length of 175.8 inches compared to the Outback’s 191.3 inches. This size difference means that the Crosstrek is easier to maneuver in tight spaces and better suited for city driving, while the Outback has more space for passengers and cargo.


When it comes to performance, the Outback has a slight edge over the Crosstrek. The Outback comes with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. It also has an available turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The Crosstrek, on the other hand, comes with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. It also has an available hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to produce 148 horsepower.

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Fuel Economy

One advantage of the Crosstrek over the Outback is its fuel economy. The Crosstrek gets up to 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, while the Outback gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. This difference might not seem significant, but it can save you money in the long run, especially if you do a lot of city driving.


Both the Crosstrek and Outback have excellent safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They both come with Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology, which includes features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. They also both have standard all-wheel drive, which can help you stay in control in wet or slippery conditions.


The Crosstrek and Outback have similar interior designs, with comfortable seats and easy-to-use infotainment systems. However, the Outback has more space for passengers and cargo, with 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats compared to the Crosstrek’s 20.8 cubic feet. The Outback also has more advanced features, like a larger touchscreen and an available Harman Kardon audio system.


Both the Crosstrek and Outback are capable off-road vehicles, thanks to their standard all-wheel drive and high ground clearance. However, the Outback has a slight advantage when it comes to off-roading, thanks to its larger size and more powerful engine. It also has an available X-Mode system that optimizes the vehicle’s traction and stability control for off-road driving.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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