Is it a wagon? Is it an SUV? Technically it's an SUV but we here at Edmunds know a station wagon when we see one, and Subaru's Outback is the go-to vehicle if you want the versatility of an SUV, the road manners of a wagon, and a sprinkling of adventure. With standard all-wheel drive and a healthy number of standard advanced driver assists, the Outback makes a lot of sense for families who don't happen to reside in the sunbelt. And while we're not so fond of the base engine, the optional turbocharged mill absolutely gets the job done.
2022 Subaru Outback
The Outback's standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. With 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, the engine doesn't really have enough grunt to move this midsize SUV with anything resembling authority. The optional turbocharged 2.4-liter engine — which comes on XT models, plus the Wilderness — is more substantial. Packing 260 hp and 277 lb-ft, the motor has plenty of punch, allowing it to keep up with V6-powered rivals that include the Honda Passport and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
As a midsize SUV-adjacent vehicle, the Outback's interior is quite spacious. There's excellent headroom and legroom all around, and the large windows help connect you to the outside world. The Outback is nicely appointed inside, with a pleasing cabin design and a nice mix of quality materials.
The Subaru Outback has a lengthy list of standard driving aids. Subaru calls it the EyeSight suite, and it encompasses adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane centering assist. In practice, the systems accomplish their intended functions better than most competitors.
One of the major appeals of the Outback is its spacious cargo area. The same goes for the Wilderness, aside from a slightly higher load area due to the more substantial ground clearance. The rear seatback that leads into the cargo area is wrapped with waterproof material and the load floor is protected by a waterproof rear cargo tray so you can throw your muddy boots, equipment, tents and fishing gear in without worry.