2019 Subaru Outback

#2 in Wagons

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MSRP: $26,345 - 38,995

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Subaru Outback ranked #2 in Wagons. Currently the Subaru Outback has a score of 8.4 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 42 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.4
Safety: 9.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Subaru Outback Review

The 2019 Subaru Outback has more cargo space than most wagons, as well as a roomy interior, a well-equipped infotainment system, and newly added standard safety features. It ranks in the middle of the class, mostly because of some powertrain weaknesses.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Roomy seats and great visibility
  • Class-leading amount of cargo space
  • Impressive set of standard tech and safety features
  • Acceleration is slow with the base engine
  • Throttle for base engine is overly sensitive at times

New for 2019

  • EyeSight advanced safety suite now standard
  • Dual USB ports and upgraded driver information display now standard

Is the Subaru Outback a Good Wagon?

Yes, the Subaru Outback is a very nice wagon. It offers the cargo space and ride height of an SUV and the easy handling of a car. A substantial number of features come with the Outback, including all-wheel drive, a robust set of entertainment apps (Apple CarPlay and Pandora among them), and a newly standard suite of safety systems. The Outback also has superb crash test ratings. Its main downsides relate to the base engine, which takes its time getting the Outback up to speed. You can remedy this by opting for the uplevel six-cylinder engine.

Should I Buy the Subaru Outback?

You should buy an Outback if you want a spacious interior – including lots of room for cargo – and an SUV that handles like a car. With lots of ground clearance and standard components that increase traction, the Outback is an ideal choice if you need to travel in dicey weather or like to explore gravel roads. It isn't very athletic, though. Spirited drivers will complain about its unhurried base engine and tendency to lean in the corners.

Wagon shoppers should also take a look at the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. It costs a little less than the Outback (prices start at around $22,000) and offers an attractive, upscale interior and energetic performance. The Audi Allroad is also a top-rated wagon worth considering if you can afford its $44,500 price tag.

Compare the Outback, Golf SportWagen, and Allroad »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Outback?

Boasting additional standard safety and tech features, the new Subaru Outback seems enticing. Keep in mind, though, that many of these features also come in upgraded used models. For example, reverse automatic braking became available for the 2017 model year, and 2018 Outbacks saw the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You may be able to save money, while still getting a nice array of amenities, by instead shopping for an uplevel used Outback from the current generation (which began with the 2015 model year).

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Outback »

We Did the Research for You: 33 Reviews Analyzed

Our Subaru Outback review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 30 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision. This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Outback generation, which runs from 2015 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Subaru Outback Cost?

Prices for the 2019 Outback start just above $26,000, which is more expensive than a Volkswagen Golf SportWagen but not nearly as pricey as a Volvo V60 or Audi Allroad. There are six available trims, four of which are powered by a 2.5-liter engine (2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, and 2.5i Touring), and two of which come with a 3.6-liter engine (3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring). You can see more details on pricing and features for each trim in our Which Subaru Outback Model Is Right for Me? section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Outback Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru Outback or Subaru Legacy?

The sedan version of the Outback is the Subaru Legacy. This midsize car offers many of the same features as the Outback, including identical powertrain options, the same infotainment system, and standard all-wheel drive. The base Legacy can save you almost $4,000 compared to the Outback, but it doesn't come close to the Outback for cargo space. Both are good cars, so pick the one that best fits your budget and lifestyle.

Which Is Better: Subaru Outback or Subaru Impreza?

The compact Subaru Impreza is about 8 inches shorter than the Outback and comes as a sedan or hatchback. The sedan's 12.3-cubic-foot trunk is undersized (even for a compact car), and the back seat is smaller. The Impreza hatchback, however, has a generous 20.8 cubic feet behind the seats. The Impreza doesn't come with as many standard features as the Outback, but it's a decent option if you don't need the extra space and want to spend less than $19,000.

Compare the Outback, Legacy, and Impreza »

Outback Interior

How Many People Does the Outback Seat?

If you like to stretch out, you'll enjoy the Outback’s roominess. This five-seat wagon is spacious enough to accommodate tall legs in both rows and has excellent visibility all-around. The seats are also comfortable enough for a long day of driving, though they aren't quite as relaxing as a luxury wagon like the Volvo V60.

Outback and Car Seats

You can install a child safety seat into any rear seat in the Outback. It has three tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors, with the middle seat capable of borrowing lower anchors from the adjacent seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system the highest rating of Good+ for ease-of-use. It noted that the lower anchors are easy to maneuver around and the tether anchors are easy to locate. 

Outback Interior Quality

The Outback's cabin is well-constructed, and reviewers say it looks like it's built to last. Materials are high-quality, and though lower trims aren't necessarily posh, their cabins look as though they belong in more expensive vehicles. Top-level trims feel almost luxury-grade, outfitted with elements such as woodgrain inlays and perforated leather seats with contrast stitching.

Outback Cargo Space

The Outback offers more cargo space than the average compact SUV, and it's easier to load, thanks to its lower load floor. This Subaru leads the wagon class for cargo space, with 35.5 cubic feet behind the back seats, which quickly fold (using either levers in the cargo area or on the seats) to create up to 73.3 cubic feet of storage room.

Outback Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Outback not only comes with an appealing amount of technology in every model, but its infotainment system and accompanying buttons are also straightforward and visually appealing. Goodies like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora, and iHeartRadio are standard, so you'll have a quick connection to your favorite entertainment app. All but the base Outback feature an 8-inch touch-screen display, voice-activated controls, and hands-free text messaging.

Read more about interior »

Outback Performance

Outback Engine: Pick the Upgraded Engine for Quicker Acceleration

The Outback comes with one of two engines. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 175 horsepower. It's decent for running around town or crawling over slippery terrain, and drivers will be satisfied with it, provided they don't want lively acceleration. The throttle can be a little touchy in some circumstances, however. If you want brisker takeoffs, opt for the 256-horsepower 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, which is available in the top two trims for about $2,200. Both engines come with a respectable continuously variable automatic transmission.

Outback Gas Mileage: Pick the Base Engine for Better Efficiency

With the standard engine, the Outback gets 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. That's a typical fuel economy rating for a wagon. The upgraded engine is much thirstier. Its rating of 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway means you'll spend about $450 more in fuel each year compared to the base engine.

Outback Ride and Handling: Stable and Surefooted

The Outback is a wagon that drives like a car, with a suspension system that keeps things comfortable by soaking up most road imperfections. Its 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive are both notable for this class. Add in standard X-Mode (a system that reduces wheel slippage), and the Outback offers excellent grip along with light-duty off-road abilities.

Outback Dimensions and Weight

Curb weight for the 2019 Outback ranges from 3,624 to 3,902 pounds. It extends 15.8 feet in length.

Outback Towing Capacity

The Outback has a 2,700-pound tow rating, which is impressive for a wagon. In comparison, Volkswagen does not list a towing capacity for its adventure-oriented wagon, the Golf Alltrack.

Read more about performance »

Outback Reliability

Is the Subaru Outback Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Outback a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average for the industry. 

Subaru Outback Warranty

Subaru covers the 2019 Outback with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Outback Safety

Outback Crash Test Results

The 2019 Outback earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, earning five stars in the front and side crash categories and four stars in the rollover category. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+ and gave it the highest rating of Good in six crash tests and headlights. It also received the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention. 

Outback Safety Features

New for 2019, every Outback comes with Subaru's EyeSight system. This suite of advanced safety features helps prevent a front collision through pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management. The bundle also includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist. A rearview camera is also standard. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, LED steering responsive headlights, and reverse automatic braking.

Read more about safety »

Which Subaru Outback Model Is Right for Me?

For 2019, the Outback comes in four main trims: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. Every model comes standard with all-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter engine. A more powerful 3.6-liter engine is available in the top two trims.

Of the four, the 2.5i Premium offers the best value. It’s $2,000 more than the base model, and it comes with a lot of perks, starting with a larger touch-screen infotainment display and a few voice-activated controls (including hands-free text messaging). Added comfort amenities include a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and automatic climate control for both the driver and front passenger.

Subaru Outback 2.5i

The entry-level Outback 2.5i ($26,345) comes with cloth seats, manually adjustable front seats, and remote keyless entry. It's the only model to feature the smaller 6.5-inch touch-screen display. HD Radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and two USB ports are also standard with the base Starlink infotainment system. A number of apps – such as Pandora, Aha, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio – are also integrated into the system. Standard safety features include a rearview camera and EyeSight, a safety suite that includes pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist.

Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

The infotainment system in the Outback 2.5i Premium boasts an 8-inch touch screen, voice-activated controls, and hands-free Bluetooth text messaging. Several comfort features are also added to this $28,445 trim level, including a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Subaru Outback Limited

A bevy of indulgences are added to the $32,845 Outback 2.5i Limited edition. Leather seats, matte finish woodgrain trim, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and heated rear seats create a luxurious atmosphere in this wagon. Blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert are all standard, along with a power liftgate and push-button start. The Outback Limited is also available with the 3.6-liter engine for $34,995.

Subaru Outback Touring

The top-level Touring trims feature a navigation system, perforated leather-trimmed upholstery, LED steering responsive headlights, unique styling accents inside and out, and a heated steering wheel. Pricing starts at $36,795 for the Outback 2.5i Touring and $38,995 for the 3.6R Touring.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2019 Subaru Outback specs and trims »

The Final Call

Standout features of the 2019 Outback are plentiful: Its cargo hold is enormous, the back seat is roomy, the infotainment system is packed with features, and the new standard safety package is impressive. The Outback's shortcomings – like its sluggish base engine – are few, and none are deal breakers. All in all, the Outback should be on any wagon-shopper's list of considerations.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "On the inside, the Outback is well-built and has a good selection of textures and materials. … And thanks to its standard swing-out roof rack crossbars, large cargo volume, and enhanced ground clearance, the Outback works great as a vehicle for recreational activities. But the Outback's high stance and smooth ride do come with a penalty. The Outback doesn't inspire much confidence when driven in a sporty manner, and the high ground clearance means the Outback rolls and pitches when cornering and braking. Still, these are compromises that we're willing to accept in exchange for the Outback's go-anywhere, do-anything attitude. So if you're looking for a capable vehicle that smoothly combines the SUV and wagon titles, give the Subaru Outback a look." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2019 Subaru Outback may look like a jacked-up wagon, but given its growth over the years, it really now plays in the midsize-SUV domain. Whatever you call it, the Outback remains one of the most versatile, dependable and desirable family vehicles on the planet. Unlike the Volkswagen Alltrack and Buick TourX, the Outback combines its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, meaning you can actually take it to all those rugged outdoorsy places shown by ads promoting the 'active lifestyle' idea. Beyond its off-road abilities, the Outback features a bevy of standard driver-safety assists, has a huge interior, gets good fuel economy and scores at the top of its class in both crash-test scores and resale values." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Whether you consider the 2017 Subaru Outback a wagon or an SUV, it's a home run for families and well-rounded enough to appeal to a large crowd." -- Cars.com (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 13, 2019

Strong Sales: The Subaru Outback is the best-selling wagon on the market in 2019, although sales have remained constant this year relative to the same period last year. Competing crossover SUVs, however, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, are outselling the Outback by almost 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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