Subaru Outback vs. Honda CR-V

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Automotive Editor

Harvey is an enthusiast who has been involved with automotive endeavors of all sorts. From making his own videos, to creating his own auto blog called "Manually Shifted Soul," to creating photographic automotive art out of a 460,000 mile Toyota Echo. He is a permanent fixture in the online automotive world, with presence in various forums and websites, interjecting earthy auto wisdom that has piqued a unique interest among many.

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, Automotive Editor - July 9, 2014

Before the SUV craze began in the 1990s, wagons dominated the all-wheel drive market. There were several choices from manufacturers like Eagle, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Honda. But one manufacturer was synonymous with the all-wheel drive wagon: Subaru. That tradition continues with the Outback.

As one of the first crossover SUVs, the Honda CR-V was also a groundbreaking vehicle at its debut that earned a loyal fan base. But how does it compare to the Subaru Outback?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Outback & CR-V >>

What the Subaru Outback Gets Right

The Outback has a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) -- it holds the engine in an optimal rev range and has a six-gear "manual" mode with paddles for drivers who want to feel the transmission "shift." Buyers can also opt for a six-speed manual.

The standard engine is a 173-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Checking the box for the Outback 3.6R boosts horsepower to 265 horsepower with a boxer six-cylinder motor; the only one you’ll find on the market outside a Porsche showroom. Opting for more power mandates a five-speed automatic and a drop in fuel economy: 17/25 mpg city/highway versus the four-cylinder's 24/30 when equipped with CVT.

What the Honda CR-V Gets Right

Featuring a 2.4-liter inline-four, a five-speed automatic transmission and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, the CR-V has a less expensive starting price than the Outback. Cargo capacity behind the back seat is nearly three cubic feet larger than the Subaru, though the Outback has more space when seats are folded.

With front-wheel drive – not available on the Outback – the CR-V also boasts better fuel economy at 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Our Verdict: Subaru Outback

The Subaru has a tighter turning radius, a more proven and capable all-wheel drive system, and twice the Honda's towing capacity. The Outback also offers more drivetrain options, making it the winner in this comparison.

Take a closer look at the Subaru Outback >>

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V >>

, Automotive Editor

Harvey is an enthusiast who has been involved with automotive endeavors of all sorts. From making his own videos, to creating his own auto blog called "Manually Shifted Soul," to creating photographic automotive art out of a 460,000 mile Toyota Echo. He is a permanent fixture in the online automotive world, with presence in various forums and websites, interjecting earthy auto wisdom that has piqued a unique interest among many.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

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