Lightly updated for its fourth year on the market, the 2018 Subaru Outback features exterior styling revisions, an updated infotainment system, and a number of improvements designed to reduce engine, road, and wind noise. More station wagon than SUV, the Outback offers standard all-wheel-drive (it is a Subaru, after all) and crossover practicality, but car-like ride and handling.
There are some problems, though. A thirsty optional six-cylinder engine guzzles rather than sips, advanced active safety features aren't available on all models, and the interior on top-trim models lacks the luxury touches most buyers expect. Still, the Outback is the smart choice for customers wanting SUV versatility without moving to a bigger, taller vehicle.
The 2018 Subaru Outback starts at $26,810 with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, and rises to $39,605 for a Touring model with the 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer engine. A CVT automatic is the only transmission available.
By forgoing a leather interior and the thirsty flat-six engine, you can save over $7,000 over the 3.6R Touring trim by picking the midrange 2.5i Premium with standard features like automatic climate control, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Included in those savings is Subaru's whole suite of active safety systems (all listed as optional extras).
Here's how we'd build it:
- Model: 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
- Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 175 hp / 174 lb-ft
- Transmission: CVT automatic
- MPG: 25 City / 32 Highway
- Exterior color: Crystal White Pearl
- Interior color: Slate Black Cloth
- Options: Eyesight + Blind Spot Detection & Rear Cross Traffic Alert + Power Rear Gate + High Beam Assist + Moonroof Package + Navigation System ($3,590, auto-dimming rearview mirror, moonroof, power tailgate with automatic close and height memory, navigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams).
- Base Price: $28,910
- As Tested: $32,500