2019 Subaru Outback Expert Review

4.2 Overall Score
Performance 3.7 Comfort 3.7 Styling 3.9 Value 4.3

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Subaru Outback remains one of the most versatile, dependable and desirable family vehicles on the planet. With standard features like EyeSight driver assist and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the Outback is designed to tackle Mother Nature’s worst, while keeping everyone inside comfy and cozy.

You'll Like The 2019 Subaru Outback If...

If you’re looking for a safe and affordable 5-passenger family hauler as reliable as it is efficient, the 2019 Subaru Outback is as good as it gets. A huge interior combined with features like standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and EyeSight only serve to sweeten the deal.

You May Not Like The 2019 Subaru Outback If...

If you need 3-row seating, look to the larger Subaru Ascent SUV. Those seeking a more athletic driving experience might prefer a VW Golf Alltrack, Audi Allroad or Volvo V60, while those looking to do serious off-roading or heavy towing should check out the V8-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee.

What's New

For 2019, Subaru makes the EyeSight driver-assist system (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, pre-collision and reverse automatic braking), standard on every Outback. The base Outback 2.5i gets an upgraded audio system with SiriusXM, a single-disc CD player and a revised instrument cluster with a 5-inch LCD display.

Interior Features

All Outbacks have a 2-row/5-passenger setup, and one of this Subie's best traits is its interior roominess. There's good legroom in the second row and excellent cargo capacity overall. With rear seats in place, there's 35.5 cubic feet for your gear. Fold the seats and it opens to a huge 73.3 cubic feet of mostly flat, usable space. Up front, the seats are comfortable and well-supported, and the view out is commanding. Controls are easy to see and access. Lower-trim models use cloth, while higher models are outfitted in leather. In Touring trim, the Outback can pass for a premium car.

Exterior Features

The latest-gen Outback continues its evolution from lifted wagon to a crossover SUV. Up top is a unique integrated roof rack with swinging crossbars that hide away when not in use. On Premium and higher trims, large fog lights are embedded in the heavy front cladding while Limited and Touring trims add steering-responsive headlights. Complementing the Outback's outdoorsy appeal are rugged but stylish wheels and thick lower body cladding. Even the doorsills seem to demand you get out and get active: They're designed to act as a step, so you can access the roof to strap on your bike, canoe or skis.

Driving Impressions

Because it shares the same basic architecture as the Legacy sedan, the Outback enjoys a very stable, car-like ride. The Outback’s added ride height should result in lots of sway and bounce, but its boxer engine sits low in the engine bay, which in turn helps reduce the car’s center of gravity. The Outback’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder provides adequate power for passing and merging, and the CVT automatic does a good job getting power to where it’s needed, either by itself or with input from the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Those seeking more rapid acceleration should look to the 3.6R model with its 6-cylinder engine. Unlike all its competitors, the Outback’s AWD system is always engaged, a feature that, along with its impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-Mode off-road system, helps it tackle terrain no Ford Edge or Hyundai Santa Fe would dare attempt.

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Subaru Outback crossover SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $27,320 for a base 2.5i model. One trim higher, at $29,420, you'll get more creature comforts in the Premium trim. A top-line 4-cylinder Outback Touring model starts at $37,770, while a 6-cylinder Outback begins at $35,970 and can reach nearly $40,000 fully loaded. At these prices, the Outback is on par with an automatic-transmission VW Golf Alltrack, a similar rugged wagon, and is lower than a more traditional 2-row crossover SUV like the Ford Edge. The Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe cost less but don't come with all-wheel drive as standard. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Subaru. On the resale front, the Subaru Outback holds its value very well, and it won an award in the midsize SUV/crossover (2-row) segment in the KBB 2019 Best Resale Value Awards.

Notable Equipment

The Outback comes in four main trims: base, Premium, Limited and Touring. Even the least expensive Outback includes EyeSight, all-wheel drive with X-Mode for off-roading, an automatic transmission, 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, automatic headlights, cruise control, 17-inch wheels and 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, SiriusXM, CD player and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity. We recommend stepping up at least one level to the Premium, which adds an 8-inch screen, two more speakers (six total), dual-zone climate control, 10-way-power driver's seat, fog lights, heated front seats and four USB ports, including two in back. It also opens the door for more options.

Notable Options

By climbing trims or checking the options box, you can outfit your Outback with even more driver assists such as high-beam assist, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. The available power liftgate has a programmable maximum height, and there's a voice-activated navigation system. Also available is a leather interior trimmed with classy-looking faux wood on Limited models, along with an upgraded harman/kardon audio system. There are also numerous dealer-installed items ranging from remote start to rack systems for bikes, kayaks or cargo carriers.

Favorite Features


Standard on every Outback, the X-Mode system assists when tackling steep terrain by helping to decrease wheel slip, as well as optimizing the car’s throttle, brakes and stability-control systems. X-Mode also features Hill Descent Control to slow the vehicle during steep downhill maneuvers.


The Outback’s Starlink infotainment system features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM, as well as various apps like Aha and Pandora. Premium and Limited trims get a larger 8-inch screen and even more functionality, including available navigation. Optional safety and security upgrades include emergency assistance, collision notification and stolen-vehicle recovery.

Under the Hood

Subarus use an engine configuration known as a "boxer," where the pistons are parallel to the ground; imagine a "V-type” engine, then widen the V until it’s a flat line. This layout lowers the center of gravity, which aids handling. There are two engines available in the 2019 Outback. The 2.5-liter standard 4-cylinder offers up 175 horsepower, while the 6-cylinder version has a much more robust 256 horsepower. Both send power through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control, and all-wheel drive is standard. The AWD system includes X-Mode for low-speed traction, and Active Torque Vectoring for high-speed stability in corners. All 2019 Subaru Outbacks are rated to tow 2,700 pounds.

2.5-liter boxer-4

175 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm

174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/32 mpg

3.6-liter flat-6

256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg

Editors' Notes

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.

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