2019 Subaru Outback Review
Which Outback does Edmunds recommend?
Our choice for the ideal Outback is the 2.5i Premium. It comes with a bright and large 8-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control, and heated, power-adjustable front seats. Priced competitively to a similarly equipped Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the Outback also gets you a robust all-wheel-drive system, clever fold-away roof rails, and better standard technology features. Although the 2.5-liter engine isn't a standout in acceleration, it's good enough as long as you don't plan on towing.
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Spacious and comfortable cabin
- Roof and cargo-loading heights are lower than those of most SUVs
- Excellent visibility in all directions
- Off-road ability is above average
- Acceleration is lackluster, especially with four-cylinder engine
- Sensitive gas pedal at low speeds
- Modest handling capabilities
- Subaru's EyeSight driver assist suite is now standard on all Outbacks
- Base 2.5i trim gets additional USB ports
- Part of the fifth Outback generation introduced for 2015
|Overall||7.8 / 10|
Instrumented performance is not a strong suit for the Subaru Outback. With the four-cylinder, acceleration can only be described as slow. Although its handling numbers aren't fantastic, the Outback shows its capabilities on bumpy back roads. Its off-road ability is better than most.
The inside of the Outback is a great place to spend time on the road. The front and rear seats provide all-day comfort, and the soft suspension offers a smooth ride. But the car lets in more road and wind noise than we'd like, and longer-legged drivers will want additional lower thigh support.
There's a lot going on inside the Outback, but Subaru made sure that primary controls are all traditional analog systems. Thanks to its high ride height, getting in and out is a breeze. And once you're seated, the power seat and manually adjustable steering wheel have a broad range of adjustability.
The Outback is pretty versatile even though it's one of the smaller midsize SUVs. It has a lot of available cargo space in back and useful small-item storage areas for your knickknacks. It offers a decent amount of towing capability, too.
What the Outback gives up in performance it makes up for in technology. Most all digital systems are controlled through the touchscreen. It has a bright, high-contrast display, with large buttons and clear text. Setting up your phone is easy, and there are plenty of ports to charge your devices.
Most helpful consumer reviews
2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
We had a 2016 Forester and we liked it, but didn't love it, so when we were looking to trade in our lease Subaru wasn't really a top contender. Luckily, we were distracted by a move when our lease was coming due, so we had to find a new car fast. We wanted to purchase and Subaru offered 0% financing. As it turned out, we needed a 60 month plan, but that was still offered at 1.9% financing. The car was nice, but it wasn't until we got it home that we realized how wonderful it is. The color is gorgeous- we got a brown cinammon :). But what has blown me away is the intuitiveness of all the features. The headlamps track the road in front of you, making night driving a lot easier. The rear camera is so crystal clear compared to our old Forester. The car play feature is so easy to use and makes driving safer with the huge screen. The car handles beautifully and though formal reviews say the pick up lags, my husband and I don't feel that way at all. The car accelerates smoothly. We also love the storage in the back. I think we will be enjoying this car for years to come. I'm so glad we went with another Subaru. I absolutely love getting in this car as it is a pleasure to drive.
2.5i Premium 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m a twenty-something, recent college graduate and professional. Not exactly a stereotypical Outback owner. The Outback doesn’t appear to be as big as it is, either from the driver’s seat or from the outside. You won’t get a true idea of the size until you park next to what you though was a “big SUV”, only to realize your Outback is longer, or until you open the hatch and marvel at the cavernous cargo area. It feels small when you need it to be small and big when you need it to be big. In typical Subaru fashion, the interior is very unassuming and functional, but doesn’t feel cheap at all. Everything you touch is soft or textured. Switches and buttons feel solid and well made. The seats have adjustable lumbar support and are very soft and comfortable. The black cloth is very dark, which makes dog hair and other particles visible, so go with the gray if that bothers you. The 8.0 inch infotainment screen does an average job. It checks all the boxes (BlueTooth, CarPlay, Android Auto etc.), but the interface can be laggy at times, even while using CarPlay. It also has a few gimmicky features. The sound quality is fantastic. It also features a menu called “car info” which gives you mechanical info on how the AWD system is distributing power, as well as oil temperature, instant MPG and average speed and service reminders. There’s a second large color display in the instrument cluster which displays MPG info, MPH, tire pressures and the Eyesight system’s status. There’s also a settings menu which is difficult to navigate and mostly just repeats vehicle settings from the infotainment screen’s settings menu. The driving controls are simple. The shifter has 5 positions: P, R, N, D and M. The manual mode requires shifting to drive then pulling the selector towards the driver, so you’ll never engage it by accident when selecting drive. There’s no gimmicky sport buttons or drive mode selection knobs. The parking brake is electronically engaged, which saves weight and mechanical complexity on the rear axle. Pull the switch up to engage or push it down to disengage. The brake pedal has a decent amount of travel and is neither touchy nor soft. The throttle response is also much improved over earlier Subaru models, it’s no longer overly touchy at slow speeds. The engine is not underpowered for ordinary driving. If you like to tow a trailer or frequently pass other cars on a two lane road, get the 6 cylinder. The 4 cylinder is smooth and quiet. The CVT is also very good, and that’s coming from someone who used to think they hated CVTs. Under normal acceleration the Outback wafts up to speed at a constant RPM. I never have to push it past 2500RPM in normal driving. If you do give it a little more accelerator, the CVT simulates gearshifts, which gives a sporty feel and eliminates the droning sound of an engine at constant RPM. The torque converter lockup is fairly aggressive and can be felt when accelerating from a stop. On the Crosstrek this was very intrusive, but on the Outback it’s just noticeable, not intrusive. The owner’s manual will state that some transmission noise is to be expected, since Subaru uses a chain type pulley, but in reality there is only a very slight whir that can be heard just before coming to a stop when the windows are down. Outward visibility is exceptionally great. All windows and mirrors are oversized. Blind spot assist is optional and a backup camera is standard, but neither are necessary to drive the Outback. The Eyesight system is also remarkably good. I have experience with a handful of other adaptive cruise control systems and Eyesight is easily the smoothest and most accurate in its class. It even warns you if you fail to react when the car in front of you has moved. The Eyesight features are highly customizable through the instrument cluster menus. Ride and handling are excellent. Large bumps are easily absorbed, but the Outback still feels stable and tight. There is some body roll when cornering, but much less than you would expect for a vehicle of this size. There is a bit of noise on rough surfaces, however I believe that is a result of the factory Bridgestone tires.
2.5i Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
We've owned three Subaru’s - most recently bought our second Outback. Our prior Outback was 4 years old - one key change that is apparent is that the vehicle is substantially quieter, which make the overall experience better, car seems more put together and luxurious. Was told that they add sound deadening into the vehicle and add acoustical front glass - it worked. We test drove Mazda SUVs and Acura RDX before purchasing. Subaru’s felt substantially better that the Mazda's. While the RDX had allot more to offer and was very fast - it was also almost $10k more expensive, so we passed. The touring has all the bells and whistles that come with eye sight/lane keep/adaptive cruise control, rear brake stop/cross traffic alert as well as responsive LED headlamps - and there is a learning curve required to get comfortable with it all, so be patient. Subaru dealer (Serra)was great - they walked us thru everything when we picked up the vehicle and then came to our house a couple weeks later to review the features again and ensure we were comfortable with how they operated. We've owned 6 Acura’s and they have never done that! The engineering that goes into Subaru’s is evident - the boxer engine not only provides improved handling due the low center of gravity, but also aides in front crash protection by preventing cabin intrusion. You can see the roll bar protection engineered into the door and frame that I just don’t see as clearly in other vehicles. The outback is a great value - combining unique styling, flexibility, innovative engineering, high quality and great dealer service. I can see us continuing to buy Subaru’s as long as they keep advancing their products with eth changing technologies. Looking forward to seeing how Subaru embraces electric vehicles and autonomous technologies.
2.5i Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
This car is amazing. I traded my 2009 jeep commander for an outback in November and all i can say is that i love this car. I use it for field work as well as a daily driver and the outback is just as capable as the was jeep offroad. I have read a lot of reviews about acceleration and being described as "slow". This is all relative to the reviewer but after test driving everything from the new pickups to passenger cars, would describe the acceleration on the 2.5 as being average to slightly above average. The fuel economy is fantastic, average 30mph on the highway/interstate (80mph) and i'm getting 23mpg in town. I'm 6' tall and this car comfortably fits a car seat in the back without having to move the driver or passenger seat forward. I am also i'm very please with the cargo space in the back, as well as the easy roof rail system is great for hiding the rails to reduce highway noise when my bike is not in the rack. technology and everything being very user friendly is also a huge bonus. Like i said in the title, this car is very underrated and in my opinion kills the domestic competitors when comparing similar vehicles.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Outback models:
- EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
- Scans the road ahead to enable adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, and automatic foglights.
- Blind-Spot Detection/Lane Change Assist
- Uses radar sensors to detect vehicles in blind spots and shows visual indicator in side mirror. Indicator also warns of unsafe lane change.
- Starlink Safety and Security Plus
- Notifies first responders if an airbag deploys. Can also connect to emergency or roadside assistance services.