2023 Subaru Outback: exclusive specs and features


The 2023 Subaru Outback's increased ride height and SUV-like exterior let it go unnoticed among other SUVs, but its station wagon frame provides more utility. It can handle rougher terrain than the average station wagon would be able to, however don't expect to see it on intense trails like those often frequented by Jeep Wranglers or Ford Broncos.

The Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but shoppers have the choice of either a nonturbo or turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Similarly, the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country offer similar looks; however, what sets the Outback apart is its lifted-station-wagon aesthetic and capability for thousands less than those luxury cars.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Outback lineup features a 182-hp 2.5-liter flat-four engine as standard with an optional 260-hp turbocharged 2.4 liter available. Both mate to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that imitates an 8 speed gearbox to get rid of any irritating engine noise . All Outbacks come with all wheel drive as default (except for the  rear -wheel drive BRZ sports coupe), which is something Subaru includes in most of their vehicles.

We found that the Outback with the standard engine lacked power and responsiveness. The turbocharged version was an improvement, but still had issue with transmission function. Most people who own this car care more about a smooth ride and light off-roading capabilities.

For a wagon that can handle any terrain or weather conditions, choose the Wilderness model. It has 9.5 inches of ground clearance, a beefed-up suspension, skid plates to protect its underside, and a drive mode selector with Snow and Mud modes.

While the Outback's suspension provides a more gentle ride, those who are familiar with the WRX might be surprised by its lack of athleticism. However, the wagon makes up for this with its accurate steering and ease of manageability on highways. Additionally, the standard engine can tow 2700 pounds while the turbocharged version can pull 3500 pounds.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The standard Outback's EPA estimates are 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The turbocharged version, however, is much less efficient; it sees a significant drop to ratings of only 23 mpg city and 30 highway. In contrast, its Legacy counterpart has thriftier powertrains across the board. Its base engine is expected to earn 27/35 mpg city/highway and even the turbocharged option has more favorable estimates of 24/32 mpg city/highway.

We put the Outback through its paces on a 200-mile highway-fuel-economy route with each of these engines, and they all returned 28 mpg. The sedan with the turbocharged four-cylinder got 34 mpg during that test. If you want to know more about the Outback's fuel economy, head over to the EPA's website for specifics.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

If you're looking for a spacious and comfortable cabin, the Outback is a great choice. It shares many interior features with the Legacy, including quality materials and ample seating space. While Subaru's design may be on the mundane side, it's functional and easy to use. All models come with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and multiple USB ports. For even more luxury, opt for upscale trim levels that include features such as a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable front-passenger seat,,and heated rear seats .

Outback's back seat is more spacious, allowing 1.4 inches of extra legroom compared to the last generation Outback. When it comes to carrying cargo, the rear area can hold up to 33 cubic feet; our testing showed that 11 carry-on suitcases could fit with the backseat up, and 23 bags could fit with it folded flat. In comparison, the Legacy only accepted eight and 22 suitcases in the same tests.



Is Subaru Outback a reliable car?

The Subaru Outback is reliable and is one of the more reliable vehicles in its class and price range. Typical users can expect 16-20 years of use before the vehicle needs significant repairs or starts to break down.

Why the Subaru Outback is the best?

Kelly Blue Book says, "The Subaru Outback has the capability and space of an SUV, the comfort of a wagon, and an impressive roster of safety features, including standard all-wheel drive." Kelly Blue Book also says the 2022 Outback midsize SUV is their top pick in the 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.

Which is bigger the Subaru Outback or Forester?

Both the Subaru Forester and Outback are similar in size. The Forester offers more passenger volume than the Outback does with 111.9 cubic feet compared to 105.6 in the Outback. The Outback, however, delivers more cargo space than the Forester does with 32.5 cubic feet compared to 31.1 cubic feet in the Forester.