2021 Subaru Outback Prices, Reviews, and Pictures

Overview

Although many have attempted to copy Subaru’s 2021 Outback station wagon, none have managed to gain the same traction. Other wagons have also adopted the slightly raised suspension and ruggedized plastic lower bodies. This one is an Editors’ Choice winner. The Outback’s appealing features include its rugged appearance, all-wheel drive standard, and cargo-friendly cabin. There are two four-cylinder options available: a 2.5-liter nonturbo turbocharged engine and a 2.4-liter turbocharged version. The Outback’s handling is not thrilling for a driver enthusiast, but its ride is smooth, quiet, and the interior is spacious–a combination that should satisfy adventure seekers and families traveling to their next adventure.

What’s new for 2021?

For the 2020 model year, Subaru made three changes to the Outback. Adaptive headlamps and rear-seat reminder systems, as well as a passenger’s seatbelt warning lamp and chime, are now standard features across the entire lineup. The Wilderness model will soon be available, which will feature additional rugged styling and more ground clearance.

Pricing and Which One To Buy

The Premium model offers the most standard and optional features at a reasonable price. It’s available only with the standard 182-hp four cylinder but you can upgrade to the turbocharged, 260-hp engine for as low as $6000. The turbo’s increased acceleration and 800 pound extra towing capacity don’t seem worth the cost. The Outback Premium has a 11.6-inch touchscreen, a 4G mobile hotspot, heated front chairs, a power-adjustable driver seat, additional USB ports, and other options not available on the base model. We’d choose the cheaper package with blind-spot monitoring and a hands-free powerliftgate. Passive entry with push-button starting is also available.

Performance, Transmission and Engine

Outback’s lineup includes two flat-four-cylinder engines. A standard 2.5-liter engine produces 182 horsepower, while an optional 2.4-liter turbocharged 260-hp 2.4-liter makes 260 horsepower. They are paired with a continuously variable automated transmission (CVT), which mimics an 8-speed gearbox and reduces engine noise. All Outbacks come standard with all-wheel drive. This is a Subaru tradition, except for the rear-drive BRZ sports car. Although the standard powertrain is a modest source of motivation, the Outbacks we tested were slow to accelerate and had poor transmission performance. The turbocharged version was significantly faster, but it had the same stubborn transmission. However, Outback owners care more about ride quality and limited offroad capabilities. The wagon has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and an all-wheel drive that is reliable. It can navigate even rough roads. Its suspension offers a smooth ride and the steering is easy to use on the highway. The Outback’s two versions lack athleticism which may surprise WRX enthusiasts who choose the more practical wagon. The standard engine can also tow 2700 pounds while the turbocharged version can tow 3500.

Fuel Economy and Real World MPG

According to the EPA, the Outback standard will get 26 mpg city and 33 highway. Turbocharged Outbacks have a significantly lower efficiency rating of 23 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. The Legacy version has a more efficient powertrain. The base engine should return 27/35 mpg in the city/highway, while the turbocharged version is predicted to return 24/32 mpg. On our 200-mile highway-fuel-economy route, we tested each engine on an Outback and the results were identical: 28 mpg. In the same test, the sedan with turbocharged four-cylinders got 34 mpg.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo

The Outback shares a lot of its interior with Legacy. Both have comfortable accommodations and high-quality materials. Although Subaru’s cabin design is a bit boring, it’s functional with a high seat height. Every Outback comes standard with dual-zone climate control and heated front seats. There are also numerous USB ports. On higher trim levels, you can get more luxurious features like a heated steering column, ventilated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Heated rear seats are also available. The Outback’s spacious back seat offers more legroom than the previous generation, with an additional 1.4 inches. The Outback’s rear cargo area is 33 cubic feet. In our testing, it was able to hold 11 carry-on bags with the back seat up and 23 bags folded flat. In the same tests, the Legacy took eight and 22 suitcases.

Infotainment & Connectivity

Base Outbacks have two stacked touchscreens measuring 7.0 inches, while all other models feature a 11.6 inch vertically oriented touchscreen. The large touchscreen features large touch icons and fast response times. It also has a rotary volume, tuning knob, and some buttons for climate settings. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration comes standard, although optional features such as Wi-Fi hotspot and navigation are available. The Limited and Touring trims offer a 12 speaker, 576-watt Harman/Kardon system.

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