The 2014 Subaru Outback manages to attract close to 100,000 buyers a year with a vehicle that's a halfway mix of crossover and old-style wagon.
The car-like handling and roadholding, combined with standard all-wheel drive and 9 inches of ground clearance, make the Outback comfortable and spacious on smooth roads and remarkably capable off them.
Any competing crossover of the same size has worse handling, lower gas mileage, and less room inside.
The Volvo XC60 crossover is far more stylish, and far more expensive.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is thirstier, especially fitted with a V-8, and the high fuel efficiency of its new optional EcoDiesel model will set you back several thousand dollars more.
Fitted with the most efficient EcoBoost four, the heavy Ford Explorer is just slow--and that engine precludes all-wheel drive.
Finally, there's the Toyota Venza--with a high seating position, but also based on a car chassis.
Its drawbacks are that it's smaller inside--unlike the Outback, it won't carry two medium dog carriers side by side--and all-wheel drive isn't standard.
The Outback's continuing unique mix of capability, durability, and aggressive pricing helps to explain why many buyers never consider any other vehicle.
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|2014 Subaru OutbackBrowse Used Listings||2014 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings||2014 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings||2014 Volvo XC70Browse Used Listings||2014 Volvo XC60Browse Used Listings|
|17 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded H-4||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded I-6||Regular Unleaded I-6|
|Small Sport Utility Vehicles 4WD||Standard Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Standard Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD||Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD|
|4-Door Wagon H4 Manual 2.5i||FWD 4-Door Base||RWD 4-Door Laredo||FWD 4-Door Wagon 3.2L||FWD 4-Door 3.2L|
|All Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Wagon||Sport Utility|
|Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD|