Wagon and SUVs each has a unique place in the automotive world. But what if you want a combination of both? Luckily, there is a solution: the 2019 Subaru Outback. It has the shape and driving style of a wagon but with extra abilities commonly found in SUVs.
The 2019 Outback is backed by one of two engines: an efficient 175-horsepower 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder or 3.6-liter flat-six with 256 hp. Both send power to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. The standard engine isn’t enthusiastic, but it’s capable so we thought it’s the engine should get.
Inside, the 2019 Subaru Outback is well-crafted and has a good range of materials and textures. Everything doesn’t look like a cheap, large piece of plastic. The Subaru EyeSight suite of safety technologies comes standard this year, as well as a crisp-looking touchscreen that can be integrated with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And thanks to its standard swing-out roof rack crossbars, and elevated ground clearance, the Outback is very capable as a vehicle for outdoor activities.
For 2019, the Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite is now standard on all Outbacks models. The base 2.5i trim gets additional USB ports.
Trim levels and features
The 2019 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon that available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring.
Standard equipment for the base 2.5i includes 17-inch alloy wheels, hill descent control, hill hold assist, roof rails with integrated crossbars, a rearview camera, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. For tech, there’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Subaru’s Starlink 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB interface.
Also standard the Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite. This system bundle front collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning.
The 2.5i Premium add a windshield wiper de-icer, heated exterior mirrors, rear privacy glass, foglights, a cargo cover, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, an 8-inch touchscreen, three additional USB ports, satellite radio, and six speakers. The optional Power Moonroof package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror and power moonroof. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a power liftgate with memory height is also optional.
The 2.5i Limited includes the Premium options and further adds keyless ignition and entry, 18-inch wheels, driver-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, rear air vents and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. LED headlights are optional on the 2.5i Limited. Apart from more powerful engine, the 3.6R Limited gets the same equipment as the 2.5i Limited.
Navigation is available on the Premium and Limited trim. The Outback Limited can also be equipped with automatic braking for rear collisions.
The 2.5i Touring and 3.6R Touring include all above feature as well as dark exterior trim, different 18-inch wheels, fixed low-profile roof rails without crossbars, a heated steering wheel, wood grain interior trim, and premium leather upholstery.
The 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i is powered by a 2.5 liter horizontally opposed (“boxer”) four-cylinder engine that generates 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The Outback 3.6R come standard with 3.6-liter flat-six good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Power sent through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control, and all-wheel drive is standard. The AWD system includes X-Mode for low-speed traction and Active Torque Vectoring for high-speed stability in corners.
The four-cylinder is slow to accelerate, and handling performance isn’t fantastic. The six-cylinder engine is far better suited to the Outback size and weight. It also work much more nicely with the CVT. The Outback is much more adept when it comes to handling bumpy back roads or snowy highways
In performance testing, the 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds. Most compact crossovers are a bit quicker. The 3.6R did it in 7.1 seconds. Properly equipped, the 2019 Subaru Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds with the four-cylinder or 3,000 pounds with the six-cylinder. EPA fuel economy rating for the Outback 2.5i at 28 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway). The 3.6R stands at 22 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).
The 2019 Subaru Outback interior is completely redesigned in 2015. It’s got some interior upgrades and more functionality for infotainment systems. The rest of the central stack control is easy to use, and there is a useful smartphone slot on the center console. Overall the quality is high, with plenty of soft-touch materials around the cabin and convincing wood-tone accents and faux metallic.
The front seats are padded and provide excellent comfort in long-distance driving. However, some long-legged people may want a little thigh support. You don’t need to pick for the leather-coated Limited model, because the Premium 2.5i has already covered with soft, grippy cloth seats. There is plenty of room for the driver and front passenger. In the back, headroom is only adequate for adults, but there are abundant legroom and hiproom.
Though more like a station wagon than a high and airy SUV, the 2019 Subaru Outback slim roof pillars provide exceptional outward visibility. The cargo capacity is also large, with 35.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 73.3 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded down. The Outback position, which is not as high as the SUV, also makes it the right choice if you often load gear on the roof.
Release Dates and Price
The 2019 Subaru Outback base 2.5i has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $27,320 (all prices include the $975 destination fee). The better-equipped 2.5i Premium trim comes in at $29,420. The 2.5i Limited has a starting price of $33,820, and the top-line 4-cylinder Outback Touring model starts at $37,770. A 6-cylinder Outback Limited begins at $35,970, while the ultimate 3.6R Touring for $39,970.