If you’re in the market for a compact or midsize SUV, chances are you’ve stumbled across two juggernauts in the category: the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback. But here’s the kicker—picking between the two isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
Both vehicles offer a compelling mix of features, performance, and reliability, but they’re not identical twins. Oh no, these two have distinct personalities, and each brings its own set of pros and cons to the table.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into this automotive battle royale.
A Brief Comparison Table
|1.5L turbo 4-cylinder, Hybrid
|2.5L flat-4, 2.4L turbo flat-4
|FWD standard, AWD optional
|More cargo space
|Comfortable, less cargo space
|7-inch, not as user-friendly
|7-inch or 11.6-inch, user-friendly
|Honda Sensing suite
|EyeSight Driver Assist standard
|Good, not as efficient
|Price and Value
|Lower base price, good value
|Pricier, but more standard features
Honda CR-V: The Swiss Army Knife of Compact SUVs
Let’s kick things off with the Honda CR-V. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of compact SUVs—versatile, reliable, and jam-packed with features that make it a practical choice for many.
Pros of Honda CR-V
One of the first things you’ll notice when you hop into a Honda CR-V is the space. The cabin feels roomy, and it offers plenty of cargo space. Whether you’re carting around groceries, kids, or camping gear, this vehicle has got you covered.
The Honda CR-V shines in fuel efficiency. With its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, you can expect remarkable fuel economy that’ll save you frequent trips to the gas station.
Honda’s reputation for building reliable vehicles isn’t just hype. The CR-V lives up to the family name, offering dependable performance year after year.
Cons of Honda CR-V
If we’re being honest, the infotainment system in the CR-V could use some improvements. It can be a bit clunky to use, especially when you’re trying to navigate through multiple functions.
While the CR-V offers a lot, it’s not the cheapest option out there. The higher trims can get quite pricey if you’re on a budget.
Subaru Outback: The Adventure-Ready Trailblazer
Switching gears, let’s talk about the Subaru Outback. If the CR-V is a Swiss Army knife, then the Outback is a full-fledged machete, ready to tackle off-road adventures and more.
Pros of Subaru Outback
One of the Outback’s standout features is its standard all-wheel drive. This vehicle is engineered to perform in tricky conditions, whether it’s a snowstorm or a muddy trail.
Subaru doesn’t skimp on safety. The Outback comes packed with advanced safety features, including EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, making it a fantastic option for families.
With higher ground clearance compared to the CR-V, the Outback is more capable off-road. It’s a go-anywhere kind of SUV that isn’t afraid to get its tires dirty.
Cons of Subaru Outback
One downside to the Outback is its fuel economy. While it’s not terrible, it doesn’t match up to the CR-V’s impressive figures.
Cost of Ownership
Subaru vehicles can sometimes have higher maintenance costs, especially if you’re someone who really puts the all-wheel-drive system to the test on off-road adventures.
The Key Differences Between Honda CR-V and Subaru Outback
When you line up the Honda CR-V next to the Subaru Outback, several key differences jump out at you like a pop quiz in school. But don’t worry, we’ve got the cheat sheet right here, breaking down what sets these two automotive titans apart.
The Honda CR-V comes with a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that provides a solid mix of power and fuel efficiency. The hybrid option adds a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, offering even better fuel efficiency and additional horsepower.
The Subaru Outback, on the other hand, gives you more options under the hood. The standard 2.5-liter flat-4 engine is capable but not particularly thrilling. For those who want more pep, the turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-4 is available in the XT models. This engine is beefier, making the Outback a stronger performer in terms of acceleration and towing capability.
Honda CR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is available for those who want extra traction.
Subaru Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive across all trims, making it a go-to choice for anyone who deals with challenging road conditions or off-road adventures.
One area where the CR-V excels is its spacious interior. Both the front and rear seats provide ample room, and it offers more cargo space compared to the Outback, making it ideal for families and road trips.
While the Outback is not as roomy as the CR-V in terms of cargo space, it still offers a comfortable interior with high-quality materials. Plus, it features a longer roof, which can accommodate more oversized items like kayaks or bicycles when roof-mounted.
Infotainment and Tech
The CR-V’s infotainment system can be a bit of a letdown. The 7-inch display comes standard, but it’s not the most user-friendly system out there. However, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.
Subaru’s infotainment system, on the other hand, is more modern and easier to use. The standard touchscreen starts at 7 inches but can be upgraded to an 11.6-inch vertical display, similar to what you’d find in luxury models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard.
Honda offers an array of safety features through its Honda Sensing suite, which includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, and lane-keeping assist, among others.
Subaru sets the bar high with its EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which comes standard and includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning. Some trims also offer additional features like blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.
The CR-V wins hands down in this department. With its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, it offers excellent fuel economy, especially in the hybrid version.
The Outback falls behind a bit here, especially if you opt for the more powerful turbocharged engine. The standard engine offers decent fuel economy but doesn’t match the CR-V’s numbers.
Price and Value
Starting at a lower base price, the CR-V offers excellent value for money, particularly if you’re interested in higher fuel efficiency and lower long-term costs.
Although the Outback tends to be pricier, especially in the higher trims, you’re paying for additional standard features like all-wheel drive and more advanced safety tech.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Both brands have solid reputations for reliability, but Honda generally has the edge here, especially when it comes to long-term durability.
“Better” is subjective. If you prioritize fuel efficiency and reliability, a Honda might be your best bet. But if off-road capability and safety features top your list, a Subaru could be the winner for you.
The main drawbacks of the Honda CR-V include its somewhat lackluster infotainment system and the potentially higher costs for upper trims.
Both brands hold their value well, but Hondas generally have a slight edge in resale value over Subarus.
Both vehicles have strong safety ratings, but Subaru goes the extra mile with standard safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
It’s a close call, but Subaru generally invests more in standard safety technologies, giving it a slight edge in this department.
When it comes to Honda CR-V vs Subaru Outback, the “better” option ultimately boils down to your needs and priorities. If you’re all about fuel efficiency and space, the Honda CR-V could be your perfect match. But if you’re an adventure-seeker looking for more standard features like all-wheel drive and advanced safety tech, then the Subaru Outback might just steal your heart.
So, there you have it—the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback, head-to-head. Each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, so your choice ultimately depends on what you prioritize in a vehicle. Either way, you’re getting a fantastic SUV that’s bound to serve you well. Happy driving!