2021 Subaru Outback

2021 Subaru Outback Review: A Wagon For All Reasons - And Seasons

by Cobus F. Potgieter

The 5-door station wagon accounts for less than 1.5% of the market in the USA, but that doesn't make the 2021 Subaru Outback any less special. The reason? This station wagon is responsible for the lion's share of sales in this tiny market segment and is, by far, the most popular wagon in America. A quick review of its specs and features shows why it has earned this title when even more luxurious offerings like the Audi A4 allroad exist.

The engine range is nothing special - just two flat-4 gas engines are available with and without a turbocharger, with 182 and 260 horsepower, respectively. What makes this wagon stand out is its raised ground clearance of 8.7 inches and standard all-wheel-drive that effectively turns it into a crossover SUV. By selling it in this specification, Subaru has added SUV features to this midsize wagon that give people many of the advantages of owning an SUV, but with better handling and fuel economy than a similarly sized vehicle.

Read in this review:

9.1
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2021 Subaru Outback Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Subaru Outback?

The Subaru Outback wagon was completely redesigned from the ground up for the 2020 model year, so for this new generation, Subaru has kept changes to a minimum. The 2021 Outback gets a rear-seat reminder system, a passenger's seat belt warning light and chime, and adaptive headlights as standard across the range.

Pros and Cons

  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Excellent safety rating
  • Surprisingly capable off-road
  • High level of standard equipment
  • Spacious interior and trunk
  • Somewhat dull styling
  • Infotainment can be laggy and unintuitive
  • Base 4-cylinder engine delivers poor performance
  • CVT does not always meet expectations

Best Deals on Outback

2021 Subaru Outback Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$26,795
Premium
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,045
Limited
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$33,595
Onyx Edition XT
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$35,145
Touring
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$37,495

Outback Exterior

2021 Subaru Outback Front View Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Rear View Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Frontal Aspect Subaru
See All 2021 Subaru Outback Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 191.3 in
  • Wheelbase 108.1 in
  • Height 66.4 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 61.8 in
  • Rear Width 62.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,635.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Abyss Blue Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Autumn Green Metallic
  • Brilliant Bronze Metallic
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Cinnamon Brown Pearl

Outback Performance

2021 Subaru Outback Front Angle View Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Rear Angle View Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Wheel Subaru

Engine and Transmission

All Outback trims use a continuously variable automatic transmission linked to a permanent all-wheel-drive system. You do, however, get a choice of two flat-four gas engines to power the setup. The base engine, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter with 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, is capable, but not particularly competent. The better of the two is definitely the turbocharged 2.4-liter, which develops a more brawny 260 hp and 277 lb-ft.

  • Engines
    2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas, 2.5L Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Outback Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/33 mpg
* 2021 Subaru Outback Base CVT

Outback Interior

2021 Subaru Outback Dashboard Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Steering Wheel Design Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Infotainment System Subaru
See All 2021 Subaru Outback Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.8 in
  • Front Head Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.1 in

Outback Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Subaru Outback Rear Passenger Seats Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Maximum Cargo Space Subaru
2021 Subaru Outback Trunk Space Subaru

Outback Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Subaru Outback a good wagon?

The Outback station wagon is the ideal vehicle for families that don't want the high fuel consumption of an SUV but need more practicality than a sedan or coupe. The 2021 Subaru Outback offers the perfect middle ground with its spacious cabin, easily accommodating both people and cargo, and its 8.7-inch ground clearance gives it above-average off-road ability. It still drives like a car and uses less fuel than a similar midsize SUV, yet can do everything most people ever need an SUV for.

It's not all moonshine and roses, however, because the base engine lacks power and almost every review of the 2021 Subaru Outback wagon has complained about the infotainment system. Nothing can be done about the latter, sadly, but at least you can fix the power problem by opting for the more powerful engine option. Its reliability rating is good and the 2021 model's safety rating is exemplary - it scored the IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ award.

🚗What Subaru Outback Model Should I Buy?

The 2021 Subaru Outback wagon price list starts at $26,795 for the base model, but it's not the one to have. We'd skip over the base engine and opt for a turbocharged version. Combined fuel economy falls from 29 to 26 mpg, but it's worth it for the big power boost. We also prefer the leather trim, Harman Kardon audio system, heated outboard rear seats, rear HVAC vents, and extra towing capacity, among others. The Limited XT fits this bill and starts at $37,995. If you don't need the extra power and you're not going to tow, the best non-turbo model is the Premium, which still comes standard with lots of features not found on the base model at just $29,045.

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2021 Subaru Outback Video Reviews

Check out some informative Subaru Outback video reviews below.

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$26,795 - $39,945
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Outback
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