The 2019 Subaru Outback has popped a few grey hairs, but it’s still a desirable wagon that does a lot of things right as it straddles the line between car and crossover. In this new model year, things carryover mostly, save for a few new safety nannies like standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Can the aging Outback keep up with the latest and greatest in the automotive world? Keep reading to find out.

Best Value

The 2019 Subaru Outback gained a lot of new standard safety features, like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, and lane keeping assist, making the base model a decent value. That said, the best value is the next model up, the Outback 2.5i Premium.

This trim level comes with a wide range of premium features like heated side mirrors, fog lights, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power driver’s seat, roof rails, an eight-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a six-speaker audio system, and much more. This trim also opens the door an optional package that adds a power liftgate, navigation, moonroof, and a handful of important safety features for $2,945.

  • Model:2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 175 hp / 174 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 25 City / 32 Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price: $29,420 (including a $975 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $29,420

Performance

Subaru OutbackSubaru’s legendary all-wheel-drive system is standard on all 2019 Outback models, making it more than capable off the beaten path and in poor weather. Add its crossover-like 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and you have an off-road-ready wagon that can tackle anything on your path to soccer practice.

Comfort is also key in the Outback with its surprisingly soft ride for a vehicle that can handle moderate trail duty. And, almost in spite of its soft ride and high-riding body, it’s perfectly comfortable in the corners.

You may find trouble getting up the speed to have any fun in those corners because the standard 2.5-liter engine makes acceleration an exhausting task. The optional 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine improves the Outback’s straight-line acceleration, but its touchy throttle takes some getting used to in stop-and-go traffic.

Style

The Outback wears its rugged simplicity like a badge of honor with its down-to-earth styling and unpainted lower bumpers. This is a face that begs you to take a sharp left down that tight trail and let it live free. After a quick shower, the Outback’s styling is presentable enough for a night out on the town, too.

While these looks are right up the alley of a Subaru fan, the Outback may turn away buyers looking for a more traditional appearance.

Inside, the Outback drops the rugged persona for a softer look. There are even upscale materials like leather and wood trim to choose from. For those looking to run the Outback off the beaten path, the fear of muddying up that pretty interior may be a deterrent.

Need to haul gear? The Outback has you covered with its 36 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats upright and 73 cubes with those seats lowered. Add the optional power liftgate and accessing this cavernous cargo area is a cinch.

The Best and Worst Things

The Outback’s do-it-all personality is an incredible benefit. Not only is it comfortable and confident on pavement, it also has off-road chops that make SUVs envious, loads of cargo capacity, 38.1 inches of rear leg room, and a 2,700-pound towing capacity.

The 2019 Outback fails to deliver in the powertrain department as neither engine shines and each has major flaws that its competitors’ powertrains do not.

Right For? Wrong For?

Subaru OutbackThe Outback is the perfect ride for a family that lives just outside the suburbs and may encounter the occasional unfavorable driving conditions but doesn’t want an SUV.

City folk looking to tinker around town will take on the full brunt of the Outback’s biggest flaws, including its lackluster base engine, touchy and fuel-hungry six-cylinder, and uninspiring CVT.

The Bottom Line

The Outback is a purebred Subaru genetically modified to fit a broader spectrum of buyers. It makes small sacrifices in areas like its styling and performance to allow it to fit a wider range of needs. If you’re a flexible shopper looking for a do-it-all vehicle, the 2019 Subaru Outback is the rig for you. Short of that, you may find yourself trading it in on something more your style sooner rather than later.