2016 Subaru Outback vs. Its Competition

2016 Subaru Outback
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

Among mass-market rugged wagons, there isn't a lot of competition.

And the Subaru Outback manages to commandeer a special place, demographically, with more educated, higher-income buyers who might otherwise have the means to purchase luxury cars.

So we might plot it against models as diverse as the Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70, and SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Outback draws from a wide range of consideration.

The Audi Allroad is its closest rival, in our opinion; its economical 2.0-liter turbocharged four provides performance that's much stronger than what you get in four-cylinder Outbacks, and ride quality in the Allroad remains perhaps a bit better; but sticker price is far above Outback territory.

The Volvo XC70 is also playing the same game as the Outback—taking a wagon and buffing it up with more ground clearance and some added cladding.

The Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee are both three-row utility vehicles that are better suited for especially large families.

Although, surprisingly, the Outback might do just as well, if not better, off-road versus the Explorer; and the Jeep is far less fuel-efficient, unless you opt for the available diesel engine.

The Volvo XC60 is one other alternative; it's a smaller utility vehicle, but far more upright than the Outback.

It carries a reputation for safety that appeals to the same types that consider the Subaru.

On the other hand, mainstream models like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot are also cross-shopped with the Outback, and then it becomes a question of whether you want tall and boxy or sleek yet rugged.

2016 Subaru Outback2016 Subaru Outback
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2016 Ford Explorer2016 Ford Explorer
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2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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2014 Volvo XC702016 Volvo XC70
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2014 Volvo XC602016 Volvo XC60
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Quick Specs
Tough, go-anywhere capability can go together with a streamlined wagon design, class-leading safety, and a comfortable ride: The 2016 Subaru Outback is a conceptual mashup that's better than the sum of its parts.
The 2016 Ford Explorer doesn't need to rely on hardcore off-road tools--not with its firm road manners, plush interiors, and choice of turbocharged power.
The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a lot more than first appearances might suggest: a true luxury vehicle, a capable off-roader, and a fuel-efficient diesel highway hauler—potentially all in the same build.
The 2016 Volvo XC70 Cross Country is the brand's last wagon-based crossover, a tough and utilitarian vehicle—but despite new fuel-efficient powertrains, the design is starting to show its age.
The 2016 Volvo XC60 remains a luxury-SUV contender, though a plethora of powertrains and options can take the $36,000 base price well over $50,000.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
20 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy13 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded H-4Regular Unleaded V-6Regular Unleaded V-6Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class    
Small SUV 4WDStandard SUV 2WDStandard SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WD
Style Name    
4-Door Wagon 2.5iFWD 4-Door BaseRWD 4-Door 75th AnniversaryFWD 4-Door Wagon T5 Drive-EFWD 4-Door T5 Drive-E
All Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
Sport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilityWagonSport Utility
CVT w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Ford Explorer2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Volvo XC702016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Volvo XC60