2023 Subaru Outback
The 2023 Subaru Outback has the soul of an off-road SUV and the body of a station wagon. For 2023, it brings new tech and even more characterby Dim Angelov, on
The Subaru Outback has been around since 1994, and it has been one of the most popular high-riding station wagons and a worthy alternative to an SUV. Speaking of the latter, the current Outback gets as close to being an SUV without actually being one. The current generation has been around since 2020, but for 2023, Subaru has given the Outback a refresh, in order to keep it relevant. Here’s what’s new:
2023 Subaru Outback
What’s New for the 2023 Subaru Outback?
For 2023, the SUBARU Outback looks even more adventure-ready thanks to a revised, more rugged exterior look. The 2023 model year also brings the latest version of EyeSight driving assistance technologies, improved connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the 11.6-inch infotainment system, improved interior LED lighting, and more available options.
Pros and Cons
2023 Subaru OutbackTrims
There are eight trims to choose from for the 2023 Subaru Outback, including the different engine options. In true Subaru tradition, even the base trim comes standard with the company’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.
The Premium package adds a few options packages and two more interior upholstery options – still no leather. Keyless access and push-button start are also available here.
The Limited trim adds even more exterior color options and is the first trim where leather upholstery is available, in addition to three different tech packages. The Limited trim also comes with 18-inch wheels as opposed to 17-inch in the lesser trims. The Limited XT trim adds the turbocharged flat-four engine.
For 2023, the Onyx Edition can also be had with the base engine. This is also the first trim where the more powerful, turbocharged engine can be had. The only upholstery available here is Subaru’s innovative StarTex, which is non-leather.
The WILDERNESS trim is aimed toward more serious off-roading. It comes with 17-inch off-road, matt-black alloy wheels, wrapped in Yokohama A/T tires and different springs and shocks for increased ground clearance. The more powerful, turbocharged engine is the only option here and is mated to a “WILDERNESS-tuned” version of the CVT transmission.
The Touring trim costs a bit more than the WILDERNESS, but instead of improved off-road capabilities, it provides more performance, emphasized by the specially-tuned CVT (yes, really). The Touring XT trim adds the turbocharged engine.
Subaru Outback Exterior
For 2023, the Subaru Outback features a more rugged exterior. The headlights have been redesigned and, now, feature a more aggressive look, along with a new LED pattern for the DRLs. The central grill extends further down and the protective plastic trim now extends along the flanks of the fascia, right up to the headlight pieces. Down low, we have new fog lights, reminiscent of those on the rally-bred Subaru STI models from the old days.
The side profile of the 2023 Outback remains largely unchanged, featuring the same protective trim and roof rails. The rear end has experienced a slight redesign, including a new LED pattern for the taillights and reflectors, relocated to the lower part of the rear bumper.
|Wheelbase||2,746 mm / 108.11 in|
|Length||4,859 mm / 191.3 in|
|Width||2,083 mm / 82.01 in|
|Height||1,699 mm / 66.89 in|
|Ground Clearance||220 - 241 mm / 8.66 - 9.49 in|
|Curb Weight||3,896 lbs / 1,767 kg|
The 2023 Subaru Outback is available in the following colors:
- Abyss Blue Pearl
- Geyser Blue
- Crystal White Pearl
- Brilliant Bronze Metallic
- Magnetite Gray Metallic
- Crystal Black Silica
- Ice Silver Metallic
- Autumn Green Metallic
- Cinnamon Brown Pearl
- Crimson Red Pearl
Color availability varies with different trim levels.
2023 Subaru Outback Performance
Engine and Transmission
There are two engine options for the 2023 Subaru Outback. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, FB26, naturally-aspirated flat-four unit, which puts out 182 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 176 pound-feet (240 Nm) at 4,400 RPM. This allows for 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 128 mph (206 m/h).
The XT variant comes with the newer, FA24 engine. It’s a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four that makes 260 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 277 pound-feet (375 Nm) at 2,000 to 4,800 RPM. This is enough for 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 seconds while the quarter-mile takes 14.4 seconds at 98 mph (157.7 km/h).
There is only one transmission option – a LinearTronic CVT unit. Regardless of the trim, Subaru’s permanent all-wheel-drive system comes as standard. Depending on the engine, the 2023 Subaru Outback can tow 2,700 to 3,500 pounds (1,225 - 1,588 kg).
|Engine||2.5-liter, FB26, naturally-aspirated flat-four||2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four|
|Power||182 HP @ 5,800 RPM||260 HP @ 5,600 RPM|
|Torque||176 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM||277 LB-FT @ 2,000 - 4,800 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||9.1 seconds||5.8 seconds|
|Top speed||128 mph|
|Transmission||LinearTronic CVT||LinearTronic CVT|
Handling and Driving Impressions
As with any CVT-equipped car, the Outback spends a lot of time at high RPMs upon being driven harder. At least, the 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four sounds nice. Handling-wise, the Outback is, clearly, not a performance car and body roll is to be expected, especially in the WILDERNESS, which has a higher ground clearance. That said, the Outback is surprisingly composed, especially compared to, actual SUVs. The stability program allows for controlled oversteer, but immediately robs power once it detects understeer.
2023 Subaru Outback Gas Mileage
The average fuel economy for the base 2.5-liter engine is rated at 29 mpg (8.1L/100 km) combined, with 33.13 mpg (7.1L/100 km) on the highway and 26.13 mpg (9.0L/100 km) in the city.
The 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four manages 24 mpg (9.8L/100 km) combined, with 26.13 mpg (9.0L/100 km) on the highway and 22 mpg (10.7L/100 km) in the city.
2023 Subaru Outback Interior
Seating and Interior Space
The 2023 Subaru Outback provides generous interior space and seating for up to five people. The rear seats, in particular, offer 1.4 inches (35.6 mm) of extra legroom, compared to the previous Outback, and the traditional station wagon (estate) roof means plenty of headroom too.
|Front legroom||Rear Leroom|
|42.8 in / 1,224.3 mm||39.5 in / 1,003.3 mm|
Interior Colors and Materials
The interior of the 2023 Subaru Outback is as functional and logically laid out as ever, but now, with more premium materials. There is a good amount of leather inserts on the dashboard, depending on the trim level chrome, brushed aluminum, gunmetal grey, or copper accents are available.
In terms of interior colors and seat upholstery, there are a variety of cloth and perforated leather options, as well as Subaru’s innovative StarTex material. Color options include Slate Black, Titanium Grey, and Warm Ivory. Java Brown Nappa Leather upholstery is reserved for the Touring trim.
2023 Subaru Outback Trunk and Cargo Space
In terms of cargo capacity, the Outback provides 33 cubic feet (920 liters) or 75.7 cubic feet (2,144 liters) with the rear seats folded. This is substantially more than the Volvo V60 Cross Country – another high-riding station wagon (estate) model.
2023 Subaru Outback Infotainment and features
The 2023 Subaru Outback puts emphasis on wireless connectivity. For the first time in any Outback vehicle, there is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrated into Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system, featuring a tablet-style, 11.6-inch center touchscreen. There is also wireless charging and a variety of USB ports, throughout the Outback’s interior. The 2023 Subaru Outback is also the first model of the brand to use what3words (W3W) navigation.
2023 Subaru Outback Problems and Reliability
While it’s too soon to talk about the 2023 Subaru Outback, it’s technically a revised version of the 2019 model, and there have been a few complaints about it. The Subaru Outback has a 3.5 out of 5 reliability rating, which is not terrible, but there have been a few issues, among which numerous complaints about vague and unpredictable steering, electrical gremlins, excessive oil consumption, and faulty CVT transmissions.
Among the more unexpected issues is the fragile windshield. An Edmunds reported that the windshield of their Outback cracked after four months. There have been no service recalls issued by Subaru for the Outback. Time will tell whether the aforementioned issues have been addressed on the 2023 model.
Subaru offers a three-year/36,000-mile (58,000 km) basic warranty (whichever comes first) and a five-year/60,000-mile (97,000 km) drivetrain warranty.
2023 Subaru Outback Safety
While the 2023 Outback is yet to be tested, the 2021 and 2022 models have performed exceptionally well, earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and five-star overall NHTSA rating.
Key Safety Features
Subaru is keen on making safe vehicles, which is why the brand’s EyeSight system comes standard on all 2023 Outback models. Standard EyeSight features include: Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams. Higher trims add blind-spot monitoring, emergency evasive steering, and rear cross-traffic alert.
For the 2023 model year, all safety systems have been improved through various software updates. The Limited trim also benefits from an additional EyeSight camera for detecting pedestrians and cyclists.
Verdict: Is the 2023 Subaru Outback a Good Car?
The Subaru Outback is one of the more unusual cars in the segment in that it is the perfect middle ground between a real SUV and a station wagon. Other carmakers have attempted the high-riding station wagon formula, but the Subaru Outback takes it to the next level, with an even more rugged design and formidable off-road capabilities, rivaling many of the SUVs, currently on sale.
While not the most groundbreaking vehicle on the market, the Subaru sticks to its strengths – being a rugged off-road capable station wagon, with plenty in the way of practicality and comfort. That said, don’t expect ground-breaking performance from the base 2.5-liter engine, nor the best fuel economy from the turbocharged, 2.4-liter flat-four. We still think that offering only a CVT is not a wise decision. From its inception, the Outback set out to be an SUV in a station wagon body, and it manages that perfectly.
What’s the Price of the 2023 Subaru Outback?
2023 Subaru Outback Models
Exterior & Interior Auto Dimming Mirrors - $518 – adds auto-dimming mirror with compass and auto-dimming exterior mirror with approach Light.
Exterior & Interior HL Auto-Dimming Mirrors - $638 - auto-dimming exterior mirror with approach light and an auto-dimming mirror with compass & HomeLink.
Popular Package #1 - $981 – adds dome light LED upgrade, all-weather floor liners, and rear bumper cover.
BSD w/RCTA & Keyless Access & Push-Button Start - $1,400 - rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), audible vehicle detection warning, blind-spot detection (BSD), keyless access with push-button start, PIN code access, hands-free power rear gate, and automatic close and height memory.
BSD & RCTA & Keyless Access & Push-Button Start - $2,995 – is the biggest optional package, including blind-spot detection (BSD), hands-free power rear gate, automatic close and height memory, power moonroof, rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), audible vehicle detection warning, keyless access with push-button start, PIN code access, Subaru STARLINK 11.6-inch Multimedia Nav System, AM/FM stereo, HD Radio, multi-touch gesture, high-resolution screen, voice-activated controls and navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free with text messaging, near field communication (NFC).
The package also adds iPod control capability, SiriusXM All Access radio with a four-month free trial, SiriusXM Traffic with a three-year free trial, SiriusXM Travel Link (three-year free trial), wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, STARLINK cloud applications, USB and over-the-air (OTA) audio system update, TomTom navigation system with over-the-air updates (three years of free map updates), six-speaker audio system, AUX, and two USB ports.
Popular Package #2 -$925 – takes the Exterior & Interior Auto Dimming Mirrors package and adds splash guards and rear-seat back protector.
Tech Package 2 - $937 – includes wireless charger, auto-dimming exterior mirror with approach light, Woodgrain interior, and an LED dome light.
Tech Package 3 - $986 – adds footwell illumination kit, and all-weather floor liners to Tech Package 2.
Power Moonroof & HSW & Navigation System - $2,045 - add DriverFocus (driver monitoring system), power moonroof, heated steering wheel, and a 576-watt Harman/Kardon surround sound system with 12 speakers, 3.5mm auxiliary input jack, and dual USB input ports to the BSD & RCTA & Keyless Access & Push-Button Start from earlier.
Power Moonroof & Navigation & RAB – 1,845 – includes reverse automatic braking (RAB) system, power moonroof, Subaru STARLINK 11.6-inch Multimedia Nav System, AM/FM stereo, HD Radio, multi-touch gesture, high-resolution screen, voice-activated controls and navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free with text messaging, Near Field Communication (NFC), iPod control capability, SiriusXM All Access radio (four months free trial), SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link (three-year free trial), wireless Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and STARLINK cloud applications, USB and over-the-air (OTA) audio system update, USB/Map over the air (MOTA), TomTom navigation system update (three years of free map updates), six speakers, 3.5mm AUX input, and dual USB ports
Wilderness Package - $1,022 - wireless charger, auto-dimming exterior mirror with approach light, cargo sidewall protector, dome light LED upgrade, splash guards, and rear seatback protector.
What new 2023 Subaru Outback Should I Buy?
With eight different trim levels, there is an Outback for everyone. If you plan on going off the beaten path more often, by all means, grab an Outback Wilderness. The increased ground clearance and more rugged design will definitely come in handy when embarking on an off-road adventure.
If, however, you plan on doing most of your driving on solid terrain, we think the Onyx Edition is good enough. It’s a bit cheaper than the Wilderness and from 2023, it’s also available with the more powerful 2.4-liter turbocharged engine.
2023 Subaru Outback Comparisons
Subaru Outback vs Volvo V60 Cross Country
The 2023 Subaru Outback may want to be an SUV, but it’s a high-riding station wagon, which is why we are comparing it to the Volvo V60 Cross Country. Volvo currently offers some of the best interiors on the market, pound for pound, and while Subaru has gone through great lengths to give the Outback a more premium feel, the Volvo still surpasses it. It also has a proper, eight-speed automatic, instead of a CVT and from 2022, all models feature mild-hybrid technology.
The V6 Cross Country also comes with generous standard equipment, especially in the safety department, but not all versions come with an all-wheel drive. The Volvo provides adequate interior space, but the cargo capacity is smaller, at 18.7 to 50.9 cubic feet (529 to 1,441 liters). At 8.27 inches (210 mm), the V60 Cross Country has less ground clearance than even the base Outback. It’s also a lot more expensive, with MSRP starting at $46,200.
Read our full review on the Volvo V60 Cross Country
Subaru Outback vs Jeep Grand Cherokee
Since the Outback wants to be an SUV, we might as well compare it to one. The Grand Cherokee has enjoyed great sales over the years. The Grand Cherokee spoils with generous standard equipment, a comfortable interior, and plenty of space. It also has excellent off-road capabilities and up to 11.3 inches (287 mm) of ground clearance. With MSRP starting at $38,325, it’s not much over the Outback model, spec’d the way we would have it.
While the Jeep’s minimum cargo capacity of 37,7 cubic feet (1,068 liters) is slightly more than the Outback’s 32.5 cubic feet (920 liters), the Subaru opens up more space once the rear seats fold down – 75.7 cubic feet (2,144 liters) versus Grand Cherokee’s 70.8 cubic feet (2,005 liters). Believe it or not, the Subaru has more legroom than the Grand Cherokee – 42.8 inches (1,087.2 mm) versus 41.3 inches (1,049 mm) at the front and 39.5 inches (1,003.3 mm) versus 38.2 inches (970.3 mm) at the rear.
Read our full review on the Jeep Grand Cherokee