Subaru Crosstrek VS Subaru Outback: Which One is Best for You?

Finding the right car that will meet and exceed all your needs is sometimes as difficult as it gets. There are a lot of factors you need to take into consideration, some of which include available equipment and features, design, maintenance cost, reliability, fuel efficiency, and much more. Mix in personal preferences, and you’ll have a massive decision to make.

If you’re a Subaru fan and you’re looking for a reliable crossover SUV that’s capable of being a family car and being capable of going offroad, you’ll most likely think about two specific models – the Subaru Crosstrek and the Subaru Outback. Although these two come from the same manufacturer, and are fairly similar visually, there are significant differences, which we’ll cover in the following paragraphs.

Here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether to buy a Subaru Crosstrek or Subaru Outback as your next car.

Which Is More Affordable?

One of the more important aspects of buying a car is the available budget. Even when buying a new car, people have to make compromises so they’ll get the most for the budget they have. Sometimes, one car model offers the same features and equipment as another car, but for a significantly lower price. That’s not exactly the case with the Crosstrek and Outback, but there is a noticeable difference in price between these two models.

The more affordable option would be the Subaru Crosstrek when base prices are compared. The base price of the Outback is just a bit lower than the highest price of the Crosstrek.

Which Has More Room?

When it comes to space inside the cabin, the clear winner is the Subaru Outback. It won’t necessarily fit more people inside, but the driver and passengers will have more room, thus making it more comfortable for longer trips. 

Both of these crossovers are based on Subaru’s previous models. The Crosstrek is based on the Impreza model, while the Outback is a lifted version of the Legacy. Both of these cars are known for their performance capabilities and durability, and designers from Subaru knew the Crosstrek and Outback would be as successful.

Better Fuel Economy

Although the Subaru Crosstrek offers a smaller engine compared to the Outback, and has less weight, there’s not such a big difference in fuel economy. Both models have the optional hybrid version, but we’re talking about gasoline-powered engines only. 

Despite having similar fuel economy, the Crosstrek is a better choice if you’re looking for a more economical car. On the other hand, it’s also 30% less powerful than the Outback.

If you’re at all interested in fuel economy, either one of these models will be a good choice and the final decision shouldn’t be made just because of this. The difference in fuel consumption is minimal compared to some of the other differences between these two crossovers.

Which One Offers More Power?

Being a smaller size, the Crosstrek is fitted with a smaller-sized engine than the Outback. The standard engine in the Crosstrek is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder DOHC engine that makes 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the Outback is fitted with a larger-displacement engine. It’s fitted with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that has a total output of 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.

The larger and more powerful engine in the Outback also provides a larger towing capacity compared to the smaller Crosstrek. Both cars are also fitted with Subaru’s famous all-wheel-drive system which additionally improves their performance capabilities.

Standard Equipment

For most people looking for a new car, the standard equipment is one of the most important factors in making a decision to purchase. Subaru vehicles are fitted with a lot of standard equipment, and when it comes to the base models, the Crosstrek is fitted with more equipment than the Outback. The Outback, on the other hand, has many more optional extras and trim levels to choose from compared to the Crosstrek.

Both cars are fitted with smartphone integration and a Subaru StarLink infotainment system. When it comes to the interior, there’s a clear difference in material quality used in the Outback versus the Crosstrek. Higher-quality materials are used in the Outback, and it can be felt as soon as you sit in the car. The list of options is also much bigger in the Outback, which has 7 trim levels to choose from. Some of the optional extras in the Outback include a Harman/Kardon audio system, WiFi hotspot, built-in navigation, and an 11.6-inch touchscreen.


Both Subaru Crosstrek and Subaru Outback are considered extremely safe cars, whereas the Outback scored slightly better than the Crosstrek. Both cars are fitted with driver-assist technology such as forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control which are great features that prevent accidents from happening. 

On the other hand, both the Outback and Crosstrek are designed in a way that they keep the driver and passengers as safe as possible in a collision.

Offroad Capability

Even though the Subaru Crosstrek and Outback are based on regular passenger cars, they’re both pretty capable of tackling rougher terrain. Both cars have a ground clearance of 8.7 inches and all-wheel-drive as stock, however, due to its smaller size, the Crosstrek is more agile than the Outback.

The Subaru Outback, on the other hand, offers a higher ground clearance in higher trim levels, and it offers more power, torque, and towing capacity, making it a better choice for off-road just by that much.

Which One Is Better for You?

Both the Crosstrek and Outback are durable, dependable, and great-looking cars. Being based on two of the most popular Subaru models only made them more appealing for potential buyers that were looking for a car that’s capable of being a comfortable family vehicle, with the possibility of driving offroad as well.

When comfort, legroom, cargo room, and performance are the things you’re looking for, the Outback would be the ideal choice, especially if you pick one of the higher-tier trim packages. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a smaller crossover that offers better fuel economy, and agility, the Crosstrek is the better one for you.

The final decision is up to you, and here you’ll find some of the key differences between these two amazing Subaru crossovers.

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