The 2023 Subaru Outback has the best of both worlds–the ride height and exterior of an SUV with the station wagon body that gives you added space. It’s built for light off-roading, but don’t expect to see it on intense trails any time soon.
Outback shoppers can choose from a turbocharged or nonturbo four-cylinder engine, but all Outbacks come with all-wheel drive and a CVT. The Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country are similar in style, but the Outback has the lifted-station-wagon look for thousands less than these luxury cars.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Outback lineup features a pair of flat-four-cylinder engines: a 182-hp 2.5-liter is standard and a 260-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter is optional. Both mate to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that mimics an eight-speed gearbox to mitigate annoying engine drone. Of course, all Outbacks have standard all-wheel drive, which is a Subaru staple (except for the rear-drive BRZ sports coupe). The Outback we tested with the standard engine delivered unremarkable acceleration and lazy transmission behavior.
While the turbocharged version was considerably quicker, it was plagued by the same recalcitrant transmission. Still, most Outback owners are more concerned with ride quality and the car’s ability to handle light off-road driving. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the wagon is easily able to navigate inclement weather and even muddy, rutted roads; for maximum go-anywhere capability, select the Wilderness model, which boasts 9.5 inches of ground clearance as well as a beefed-up suspension, skid plates to protect its underside, and a drive mode selector with Snow and Mud modes.
Though the Outback’s suspension gives a smooth ride and it steers well on highways, it doesn’t have the same energy as WRX fans might be used to. The wagon’s standard engine can also tow up to 2700 pounds, while the turbocharged version can pull 3500.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the standard Outback will earn 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The turbocharged version sees a significant dip in efficiency, with ratings of 23 mpg city and 30 highway. In contrast, its Legacy counterpart has thriftier powertrains. Its base engine is expected to earn 27/35 mpg city/highway and the turbocharged option has estimates of 24/32 mpg city/highway.
We tested an Outback with each of these engines on our 200-mile real-world highway-fuel-economy route, and they returned an identical 28 mpg. The sedan with the turbocharged four-cylinder got 34 mpg in that same test. For more information about the Outback’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Though the Outback has many features similar to the Legacy, it differentiates itself with a higher quality interior. Even though Subaru’s cabin designs are simple, they’re functional and provide good visibility. In addition, every Outback model except for the base comes with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and multiple USB ports.
Upscale features like a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and power-adjustable passenger seat come standard on more expensive trims. The Outback also boasts a spacious backseat that offers an extra 1.4 inches of legroom than the previous generation. Its trunk area provides 33 cubic feet of space; during our testing, it held 11 carry-on suitcases with the backseat up and 23 bags with it folded flat. By comparison, the Legacy accepted eight and 22 suitcases in the same test..
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
All Outback models come standard with the company’s EyeSight suite of driver-assistance technology. For more information about the Outback’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
What will be new with the 2023 Subaru Outback?
The updates on the 2023 Subaru Outback include a wider field of view, better control, and enhancements to automatic braking and throttle control. Some models include blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency steering, and a wide-angle camera.
Will Subaru Outback be redesigned in 2023?
The 2023 Subaru Outback will be receiving a redesign. It will get new headlights, a new front fascia and bumper, new front fender cladding, and a new EyeSight system.
Is the 2022 Subaru Outback underpowered?
“Thanks to the turbocharged flat-four, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is among the rare modern-day Subarus that don’t feel underpowered. The CVT is quick to virtually ‘kick down’ and puts the engine in the meat of its powerband, and it’s smart enough to hold an appropriate amount of revs when driving aggressively.