Subaru Outback: Is it Really an SUV? Everything You Need to Know

If you’re in the market for a versatile and capable vehicle that can handle a variety of terrains and road conditions, you may have considered the Subaru Outback. But is the Outback actually considered an SUV? The answer to this question may surprise you.

What is an SUV?

Before we can determine whether the Subaru Outback is an SUV, it’s important to understand what exactly defines a sport utility vehicle. At its most basic level, an SUV is a type of vehicle that is designed to combine the capabilities of both a car and a truck. Typically, SUVs are larger and higher off the ground than cars, which gives them more cargo space and a better view of the road. They are also often equipped with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which makes them well-suited for off-road driving, harsh weather conditions, and towing.

Is the Subaru Outback an SUV?

So, where does the Subaru Outback fit into all of this? The answer is…it’s complicated. While the Outback is commonly marketed as a "crossover SUV," it doesn’t fit neatly into the traditional SUV category.

At its core, the Outback is based on the Subaru Legacy sedan, which means that it has a lot of car-like features. For example, it has a lower center of gravity than most SUVs, which helps it handle more like a car and improves its fuel efficiency. Additionally, the Outback has less ground clearance than many SUVs, which means that it may not be as capable of handling off-road trails and rocky terrain.

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However, the Outback does share many features with SUVs. For example, it has standard all-wheel drive, which provides excellent traction on slippery roads and uneven surfaces. It also has a spacious interior with plenty of room for passengers and cargo, which makes it an ideal vehicle for families or anyone who needs to transport large items.

In short, while the Subaru Outback isn’t strictly an SUV in the traditional sense, it does incorporate many of the capabilities and features that are commonly associated with SUVs.

Why Buy a Subaru Outback?

Now that we’ve established that the Subaru Outback is at least partially an SUV, it’s worth taking a closer look at what makes this vehicle unique.

One of the biggest advantages of the Outback is its versatility. It’s roomy enough to accommodate a family of four or five, yet compact enough to handle city driving and tight parking spaces. It also has a wide range of features that are designed to make driving safer and more enjoyable, such as a rearview camera, blind spot detection, and a touchscreen infotainment system.

Another major advantage of the Outback is its all-wheel drive system, which is designed to provide maximum traction and stability in any weather conditions. This is a key feature for anyone who lives in an area with heavy snow or rain, or anyone who enjoys off-roading or camping.

Finally, the Outback has a reputation for being reliable and long-lasting, which means that it can be a smart investment for anyone looking for a vehicle that will stand the test of time.

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Expert Opinions

To get a better sense of where the Outback fits in the SUV landscape, we spoke to a few automotive experts.

According to Travis Langness, a writer for Edmunds, "The Outback is unique in that it’s a wagon-based crossover. It’s not necessarily an SUV, but it’s not a traditional wagon. It splits the difference between the two."

Similarly, Mike Quincy, an automotive specialist for Consumer Reports, notes that "the Outback is really a wagon with SUV-like characteristics. It has a high seating position and standard all-wheel drive, but it’s not a true SUV."


Q: Is the Subaru Outback good for off-roading?

A: While the Outback is equipped with all-wheel drive and has decent ground clearance, it may not be the best vehicle for serious off-roading. However, it can handle light to moderate off-road trails and is well-suited for driving in harsh weather conditions.

Q: How many people can the Subaru Outback comfortably seat?

A: The Outback can comfortably seat five passengers.

Q: Is the Outback a good car for families?

A: Yes, the Outback’s spacious interior and emphasis on safety features make it an excellent vehicle for families.


So, is the Subaru Outback really an SUV? The answer is…sort of. While it’s not a traditional SUV in the sense that it’s based on a car platform and has less ground clearance than many SUVs, it nevertheless incorporates many SUV-like features, such as standard all-wheel drive and a spacious interior. Ultimately, whether or not the Outback is right for you will depend on your particular needs and preferences, but for many drivers, it represents an appealing combination of car-like efficiency and SUV-like versatility.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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