While station wagons have a certain reputation, the Subaru Outback is anything but boring. This all-wheel drive family car was named the Best Wagon for the Money and Best Wagon for Families by U.S. News and World Report, and it’s on Kelley Blue Book’s list of best family cars. According to ALG, it has the highest residual value among midsize utility vehicles.
If you’re ready to go beyond the SUV, read on to see the pros and cons of what Subaru Outback has to offer.
Because of its standard all-wheel drive and high ground clearance, a truly unique feature is the 2017 Outback is its ability to go off-road and handle the roughest terrain with ease. The base model is equipped with a standard 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but those who want more power can opt for the Limited trim for a 256-horsepower V6 engine.
All trim levels include a continuously variable transmission. The base model gets decent fuel efficiency for a vehicle of this size, an EPA-estimated 25/33 city/highway miles per gallon. Despite its size, the Subaru Outback boasts poised handling that feels smooth on even the sharpest curves.
The Outback’s spacious cabin is comparable in size to that of a midsize SUV, with plenty of headroom even for the tallest adults. The cargo space rivals that of larger SUVs as well, boasting 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space and 73.3 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
You’ll be impressed by the high-quality, soft-touch materials, which give the wagon an upscale feel. The base model comes with a 6.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, or you can choose to upgrade to a larger, 7-inch screen, as well as a rearview camera, a USB port, Bluetooth, smartphone app integration, and HD Radio.
The Premium Outback comes with dual-zone automatic climate control as well as available navigation, a power moonroof, and a power liftgate for ease of loading cargo. If you choose the Limited, it’s loaded with all of those features plus leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front and rear seats, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and a Harman Kardon audio system.
The 2017 Outback receives some of the highest safety ratings in the industry. This year’s model has newly added lane keep assist technology as well as Subaru’s Starlink Safety and Security Package. This system not only contacts emergency responders in the case of an accident, but also allows you to unlock your car with an app on your smartphone. Those who opt for the Limited trim level and higher can add EyeSight, Subaru’s accident avoidance system. EyeSight integrates active safety features including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and pre-collision automatic braking.
Because there are fewer station wagons than SUVs these days, and because the Subaru Outback has so many unique features, it really doesn’t have much competition. In the rankings compiled by U.S. News and World Report, the Outback outranks wagons such as the Toyota Prius V, Volkswagen Golf SportsWagen, the Audi AllRoad, and the Volvo V60.
The 2017 Subaru Outback has a starting MSRP of $24,995.