Crosstrek vs. Outback : Which Subaru is Right For You?

The mention of Subaru brings a picture of college students cruising on vehicles with stickers all over their bodies. Well, this stereotype is here to stay as the Subaru brand continues to hold its ground with several models. It brings us to the Crosstrek vs. Outback discussion.

At the first sight, the two vehicles appear similar, probably due to their body shape. However, a keen eye, such as that of a car enthusiast can tell them apart. In this piece, we review the two Subaru brands to know about their several features and performance.

Subaru Crosstrek Non-Hybrid

Subaru Crosstrek

We start our discussion by looking at the trims of each vehicle. The Subaru Crosstrek has both hybrid and non-hybrid trims and the four non-hybrid trims include the Crosstrek, the Crosstrek Premium, Sport, and Limited.

As for fuel efficiency and strength, the lower Crosstrek trims run on a 2-liter, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine, capable of 152-horsepower. In keeping with that, the higher-ranked trims, such as the Sport, run on a 2.5-liter Subaru BOXER engine with a 182-horsepower rating.

Other amazing features of the non-hybrid versions are a symmetrical all-wheel drive power train, ground clearance of 8.7-inch, and using the Lineartronic continuous variable transmission. 

The table below summarizes these features.

Key Features
PRICE $22245 to $27995
LAYOUT Five seats, symmetrical all-wheel drive, with 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels depending on the trim.
TRANSMISSION Lineartronic continuous variable transmission.
TOWING CAPACITY Maximum capacity of 1500lbs.
ENGINE 2-liter BOXER engine for the lower trims, rated at 152-horsepower and 2.5-liter BOXER engine of 182-horsepower for the more powerful trims. The torque is 145 lb-ft and 176 lb-ft, respectively for the trims.
DIMENSIONS: L*W*H 176.5*71*63.6-inches, including the roof rails.
FUEL ECONOMY 2-liter engine: 29/22 for highway and city in MPG

2.5-liter engine: 34/27 for highway and city in mpg

WHEELBASE AND CURB WEIGHT 104.9-inches and 3117-lbs.

Crosstrek Hybrid

Crosstrek Hybrid

After looking at the non-hybrid trims, we now shift our focus to hybrid. The 2021 Crosstrek hybrid is a major upgrade from the previous year’s release, noticeable in its exterior styling. This trim relies on the Subaru StarDrive technology, which works in tandem with the Subaru BOXER engine for efficient performance.

More good news! The engine will charge the electric battery even if not plugged in. This does away with the worry of the battery running out of charge. Not forgetting, the Crosstrek hybrid has a 90-MPGE rating and a vehicle range of 480-miles. On its top, it operates on the symmetrical all-wheel-drive powertrain.

The table below highlights the features of this Crosstrek trim.

Key Features
PRICE $35345
LAYOUT 5-seater vehicle, running on the symmetrical all-wheel-drive powertrain. It has 18-inch wheels.
TRANSMISSION Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
TOWING CAPACITY Maximum of 1000-lbs
ENGINE 2-liter DOHC engine capable of 137-hp and 134 lb-ft of torque.
DIMENSIONS: L*W*H 176.5*71*62.8-inches, including roof rails.
FUEL ECONOMY Hybrid/combined: 90-MPGe and 35-MPG
WHEELBASE AND CURB WEIGHT 104.9-inches and 3717-lbs.

Subaru Outback Non-Hybrid

Subaru Outback Non-Hybrid

On the other side of the Subaru Crosstrek vs. Outback discussion, we look at the non-hybrid variants of the Outback. This Subaru model has been in production since 1994 and continues to grow stronger. Looking at its longevity in the market, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the 2022 Subaru Outback has eight non-hybrid trims.

They are:

  • Outback
  • Outback Premium
  • Outback Limited
  • Outback Touring
  • Outback Wilderness
  • Outback Onyx edition XT
  • Outback Limited XT
  • Outback Touring XT

From the list, you can see that you have a wide pool of options if you have your sights set on the Outback. Under the hood of this Subaru model, sits the powerful 2.5-liter BOXER engine, though the Onyx edition XT has a 2.4-liter engine. They have a power rating of 182-horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The Onyx packs more power, rated at 260-horsepower and torque of 277 lb-ft.

The table below will clearly show you the attributes of the non-hybrid Subaru Outback.

Key Features
PRICE Ranges from $26945 to $35145, depending on the trim.
LAYOUT A five-seater car, symmetrical all-wheel drive, higher-rated trims have 18-inch wheels.
TRANSMISSION Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
TOWING CAPACITY 2700-lbs for all the trims and 3500 for the Onyx edition.
ENGINE 2.5-liter DOHC engine, rated at 182-hp at 5800-rpm and 176 lb-ft torque at 4400rpm. The onyx edition has a 2.4-liter engine with a rating of 260-hp at 5600-rpm and torque of 277lb-ft at 4800-rpm.
DIMENSIONS: L*W*H 191.3*73*66.1-inches, including the roof rails.
FUEL ECONOMY The 2.5-liter has values of 33/26-MPG for highway/city. The 2.4-liter is 30/23-MPG for highway/city.
WHEELBASE AND CURB WEIGHT 108.1-inches and 3637-lbs. The Onyx edition has a curb weight of 3885-lbs.

Subaru Outback Hybrid

The popularity of Hybrid vehicles seems to grow by the day and it is an expectation that the most popular vehicle makes to have a hybrid trim. Unfortunately, the Subaru Outback does not have a hybrid car at the moment. It comes as surprise to many Subaru enthusiasts, considering the varieties of the Outback.

However, not all hope is lost as Subaru recently partnered with Toyota and there is a high possibility of production of a hybrid Outback. Insider news points to a release of a 1.8-liter Subaru Outback hybrid either in 2024 or 2025.

Crosstrek vs. Outback Differences

Not to veer away from the main subject of this piece, we have to look at Crosstrek vs. Outback differences.  There are plenty of contrasting points, which will help you decide on the vehicle model to go for. To offer you an in-depth understanding, we will look at various attributes of the Crosstrek and Outback, as follows.


Performance is a crucial element to check on when getting a vehicle. When looking at the two Subaru models, we look at the power, torque, and towing capacity. We compare the non-hybrid models, seeing there is no hybrid Outback.

From the tables, you have by now seen why the Outback easily comes on add to that, a look at Crosstrek vs. Outback Reddit 2021 forums will get you a clear breakdown of how the Outback emerges as the victor as a performer. With trims like the powerful Onyx edition, you can see how it is a win for the Subaru Outback.

 Fuel Economy

Focusing on the 2021 Crosstrek vs. Outback fuel economy subject, we can see that the two models have almost similar values. We look at the base fuel economy, which is like an average of the different trims offered by the vehicle brands.

The Crosstrek has values of 27-MPG in the city and 34-MPG on the highway. Flipping the book, the Outback’s values are 26-MPG and 33-MPG for city and highway roads, respectively. You can see there is not a huge variance, though the Crosstrek appears to have a better fuel economy.

Safety Features

Subaru spares no effort to ensure safety. As is claimed, the vehicle models offer the best safety features to much the passengers’ likings when on the road. The Crosstrek and Outback have similar safety and driver-assist features.

They fall under two categories, active and passive features. Under the former category, you find Standard EyeSight, High Beam Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Vehicle Dynamics Control.

And passive safety features are STARLINK Safety and Security, side curtain airbags, knee airbags, and rear child safety locks.

Interior Design

Shifting our focus to the Crosstrek vs. Outback 2022 models, you will notice that the interior design is among the Subaru models’ standout attributes. In keeping with their fame and name, the interior is cozy and designed with premium materials and state of an art infotainment system.

The Outback appears to be more spacious, with more cargo and passenger space than the Crosstrek. The Crosstrek’s redeeming factor is its ample legroom. To handle a lot of cargo, the Outback is the go-to choice.


When buying a car, always weigh its price against your budget. So talking about affordability, it is prudent that we touch on the Crosstrek vs. Outback price debate.

Here, the Outback is pricier than the Crosstrek, with its prices ranging from $26945 to $35145. The Crosstrek’s cost range is $22245 to $27995, with the hybrid trim being the costliest at $35345. If you are considering affordability, go for the Crosstrek.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Subarus Reliable?

Subaru has been around for ages and is still growing strong as a brand, extending its reach in different markets worldwide. On reliability, we look at performance, comfort, and ease of maintenance. Subarus ticks all the boxes; hence, they are reliable choices. A hint of how great they are in their presence in rallying events, where their resiliency stands out.

Q: How Is Crosstrek Different From The Outback?

At first sight, you may confuse the Subaru Crosstrek for its cousin, the Outback. A closer look will show you their variations, such as the Outback being bigger and slightly powerful than the Crosstrek. Other contrasting points are interior space and price. The Outback is pricier and has more interior space, compared to the Crosstrek.

Q: How Much Bigger Is An Outback Than A Crosstrek?

When placed side by side, you will notice that the Outback is larger than the Crosstrek. The difference is more significant lengthwise, which is almost 20-inches. The width and height differ by a few inches.

Q: Is Outback Safer Than Crosstrek?

You should look at the safety features of the car in your mind before purchasing it. The good thing with Subaru is that it spares no effort to make its vehicles safe, with plenty of driver-assisted and safety features.

The Outback and Crosstrek share common safety features. Here you go with them:

  • High Beam Assist
  • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Traction Control System
  • LATCH system and rear child safety locks.

Q: Is The Subaru Crosstrek Really Underpowered?

The Subaru Crosstrek runs on a 2-liter BOXER engine, which is robust. Compared to most vehicles, the Crosstrek holds its ground. Moreover, the symmetrical all-wheel powertrain also makes it more efficient. Therefore, it enjoys a great rank among its peers in the crossover SUV class.

Q: What Is The Subaru Crosstrek Comparable To?

In the crossover and compact SUV class, there are several cars you can compare the Crosstrek to. They include the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-3. Both are powerful and exist in many trims. And they are spacious, with adequate cargo space and legroom.

Q: What Car Is Similar To Subaru Crosstrek?

While shopping for a Subaru Crosstrek, there are many models to consider. 

Some options include the Toyota RAV4, the KIA Soul, and Hyundai Kona. If you strictly want a Subaru, you may check out the Outback or Forester, which assure you of more power on the road.

Final Words

Crosstrek or Outback, which one should I pick? This should not be a question to bother you as this article takes an in-depth look at the two Subaru models. From an overview of their features, we can conclude that the Outback is more powerful and bigger than the Crosstrek. Wh, the Crosstrek is affordable, both in the cost price and fuel economy. Pick a preferable vehicle from the two and enjoy Subaru’s cutting-edge automotive technology.  


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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