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.
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|2016 Subaru OutbackBrowse Used Listings||2016 Ford ExplorerBrowse Used Listings||2016 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings||2016 Volvo XC70Browse Used Listings||2016 Volvo XC60Browse Used Listings|
|20 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded H-4||Regular Unleaded V-6||Regular Unleaded V-6||Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4|
|Small SUV 4WD||Standard SUV 2WD||Standard SUV 2WD||Small SUV 2WD||Small SUV 2WD|
|4-Door Wagon 2.5i||FWD 4-Door Base||RWD 4-Door 75th Anniversary||FWD 4-Door Wagon T5 Drive-E||FWD 4-Door T5 Drive-E|
|All Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Wagon||Sport Utility|
|CVT w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Ford Explorer||2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee||2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Volvo XC70||2016 Subaru Outback vs. 2016 Volvo XC60|