The Honda is more road-friendly, while the Outback is more of a rugged off-roader.
The Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback are technically both compact crossover SUVs, but they have very different personalities. The Outback is a lifted wagon version of the Subaru Legacy sedan and the CR-V is a more conventional compact crossover.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between the Outback and the CR-V and see which is better.
The Subaru Outback is quite a bit longer than the Honda CR-V. They’re similar in height and width, but the Subaru is nine inches longer than the Honda. The Outback also has a more rugged appearance than the CR-V with tall ground clearance and plastic cladding making it look like it’s ready for adventure. See the 2019 Subaru Outback models for sale near you
If you want something low-key that won’t attract a lot of attention, the CR-V is a nice-looking crossover, albeit not a very exciting one. If you want something a little different, the unconventional, yet practical profile of the Outback might be what you’re looking for. See the 2019 Honda CR-V models for sale near you
The extra length of the Outback might make you think it’s bigger on the inside, but surprisingly, the smaller CR-V is the roomier crossover. Front seat space is pretty much the same and back-seat passengers have more legroom and more headroom in the Honda than they do in the Subaru. The CR-V also has more cargo space than the Outback.
As for interior design, the Honda feels little more modern on the inside largely thanks to its digital gauge cluster. Interiors of both crossovers are well-built with impressive material quality, especially in the higher, more expensive trims.
The CR-V and the Outback are both available with two engines. Although Honda and Subaru are both known for keeping the manual transmission alive, neither the Outback nor the CR-V is available with a stick for 2019.
2019 Subaru Outback Engines
2.5-liter flat four; 175 horsepower, 174 lb-ft of torque; 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway
3.6-liter flat six; 256 hp, 247 lb-ft of torque; 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy
2019 Honda CR-V Engines
2.4-liter inline four; 184 hp, 180 lb-ft of torque; 26 mpg city/32 mpg hwy
1.5-liter turbocharged inline four; 190 hp, 179 lb-ft of torque; 28 mpg city/34 mpg hwy
Clearly, the Honda has a greater focus on fuel efficiency, and the Subaru prioritizes performance. The numbers for the two base engines are pretty similar, but the turbo engine in the CR-V returns great fuel economy and the flat six in the Subaru delivers exciting performance.
The CR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive and the Outback comes standard with AWD on every trim. The Outback also comes standard with hill descent control and X-Mode, which optimizes engine output and transmission ratio for off-roading.
A new feature for the 2019 Outback is standard EyeSight driver-assistance technology on every trim. The EyeSight package includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and a pre-collision system that can manage the throttle and brakes to mitigate a potential accident.
Honda has a similar safety tech suite called Honda Sensing that’s standard on every CR-V except for the base LX model. Honda Sensing has adaptive cruise control, a road departure mitigation system, lane-keeping assist and a collision mitigation braking system.
The Subaru StarLink and Honda Display Audio infotainment systems are both pretty user-friendly and both include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Like the aforementioned safety tech, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on every Outback and every CR-V except for the CR-V LX.
The CR-V has a lower starting price than the Outback, but it also has fewer standard features on the low end. The CR-V has a starting MSRP of $24,350 and the Outback starts at $26,345. The most affordable AWD-equipped CR-V you can get is $25,750.
On the high-end, the Outback can get close to the $40k mark when fully loaded and equipped with the 6-cylinder engine while the nicest CR-V is still in the low to mid $30k range.
With the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback having such different personalities, it’s hard to determine which is better. The CR-V is spacious, fuel efficient and a very economical choice for anyone who needs a practical crossover. The Outback is more of an off-roader with an available 6-cylinder engine that the CR-V can’t match in performance. We like that the Outback comes standard with AWD and EyeSight, but we also like the starting price of the CR-V.
To put it simply, if you’re looking for a practical, efficient crossover, you should go with the CR-V. If you want a rugged off-roader that’s also a practical wagon with generous standard features on every trim, then the Outback might be for you. Find a Subaru Outback for sale or Find a Honda CR-V for sale