Worthy Alternatives To The 2023 Subaru Outback
The 2023 Subaru Outback makes a strong case for high-riding station wagons, over SUVs, but you might want to consider these vehicles tooby Dim Angelov, on
The 2023 Subaru Outback is here and it seems to be the closest to being an SUV without actually being out. For as long as we can remember, the Outback has, essentially, been a raised Subaru Legacy station wagon (estate). While the Outback has always made a solid case for high-riding station wagons, the 2023 model is taking it to the next level. That said, considering the price-range of the Outback, there are other worthy alternatives, you might want to consider, and here they are.
Has been making high-riding station wagons for almost as long as Subaru, starting with the 2000 Volvo XC70. Volvo currently has some of the best interiors, for the price range, with an obvious angle towards being premium, which is one area where the Outback falls short. With a ground clearance of 8.27 inches (210 mm), the V60 Cross Country has almost as much clearance as the base Subaru Outback – 8.39 inches (213 mm).
The V60 Cross Country comes with a variety of MHEV and PHEV powertrains, all centered around 2.0-liter turbocharged and twin-charged inline-four engines. The base one puts out 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm), which is very close to the range-topping 2.4-liter flat-four engine in the Outback. It also comes with a proper, eight-speed automatic, unlike the Subaru and its dreary CVT. However, the Volvo will set you back significantly more than the Outback, as it starts at $46,200 MSRP. By comparison, the Outback WILDERNESS will set you back $37,195.
Read our full review on the Volvo V60 Cross Country
If a rugged, old-school all-terrain vehicle is what you need then for about the same price as a Subaru Outback WILDERNESS, you can get a Toyota 4Runner. There’s no denying the fact, the 4Runner is an old SUV, with the current generation being around since 2013, but the sheer simplicity, ruggedness, and the fact it is a proven platform make it a valid alternative.
The 4.0-liter 1GR-FE is old tech and it’s thirsty - 16 MPG city, 19 MPG highway - but it gets the job done. It also packs a respectable 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet (377 Nm). It’s also mated to a five-speed automatic, which is just as old and reliable as the V-6. The 4Runner starts from $37,605, but you will have to pay a bit more for the 4x4 version of the SUV. Just don’t expect a sophisticated interior or a comfortable ride. This is an old-school SUV in the purest sense.
Read our full review on the Toyota 4Runner
The 2023 Subaru Outback combines all of the qualities of an SUV, which is why we are comparing it to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The American model has a starting MSRP of $38,325, which is only slightly more than the price of an Outback WILDERNESS. As with the 4Runner, the base Grand Cherokee comes with rear-wheel drive only.
The base engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet (353 Nm). A 4xe, PHEV version of the SUV is also available, with a combined output of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet (637 Nm). The Grand Cherokee has a ground clearance of 8.39 to 11.3 inches (213-287 mm). The transmission is another place where the Jeep one-ups the Subaru, as it comes with an eight-speed Torqueflite.
Read our full review on the Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you fancy something German and sportier, the Audi A4 Allroad is a good alternative. That said, Audi’s high-riding station wagon is a lot more road-oriented and while the Quattro all-wheel-drive system provides excellent grip, the 6.5 inches (165.1 mm) of ground clearance are nowhere near what the Subaru offers. The US version of the A4 Allroad comes with only one engine option – a 2.0-liter TFSI with 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm), mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard.
The Audi A4 Allroad is a lot smaller than the Outback, which is why interior and cargo space is significantly smaller. The 17.49 to 52.8 cubic feet (495 – 1,495 liters) of cargo space are nowhere near what the Outback offers. On the plus side, the Audi is a lot more composed on the road, albeit at the cost of off-road capabilities. In terms of price, the Audi starts at $44,600, which is over $4,000 more than the range-topping Outback.
Read our full review on the Audi A4 Allroad
Including a pick-up truck may seem strange, but the Hyundai Santa Cruz, actually, shares a chassis (and the front end) with a Hyundai Tucson. Santa Cruz is advertised as a lifestyle pick-up truck so it’s not the best workhorse if you are looking to haul bigger stuff. That said, its truck bed is still the equivalent of a large trunk, measuring 48.2 inches (1,224.3 mm) in length at the bottom and 52.1 inches (1,323.3 mm) at the upper level.
With a ground clearance of 8.58 inches (218 mm), the Santa Cruz is slightly better than the base Subaru Outback (8.39 inches), but slightly worse than the Outback WILDERNESS (9.5 inches). The base engine is underpowered and comes with front-wheel drive only. The 2.5-liter turbo-four, however, packs 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet (422 Nm), which are sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed DCT. Santa Cruz starts at $23,990 while the range-topper will set you back $39,720.
Read our full review on the Hyundai Santa Cruz
In 2020, the iconic name returned with retro styling, reminiscent of the 1965 original Bronco. For 2022, the base 2.3-liter EcoBoost packs 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet (440 Nm). There’s an even more powerful 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, which packs 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet (542 Nm).
The base engine can be had with a seven-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic while the V6 comes, exclusively, with the automatic. All-wheel-drive is standard. Up to 11.5 inches (292 mm) of ground clearance make the Bronco a capable off-roader while the boxy design translates into a spacious cabin and adequate space. The base four-door Bronco starts at $33,200 MSRP.
Read our full review on the Ford Bronco