2017 Honda CR-V vs Subaru Outback: Very Different Strengths

Americans’ love of utility vehicles is continuously growing and it has led to sales of the crossover segments as well as wagons recording a hike. In some cases, buyers actually find that the wagons perform better as utility rides compared to crossovers.

This is evident in the case of the Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V. The Subaru may not be fully considered a wagon but it is being sold in that category in some markets.

The Outback seems to surpass the CR-V in many ways. For one, it has a 2.5-liter flat-four worth 175hp and 174lb-ft torque and a 3.6-liter flat-six engine worth 256hp and 247lb-ft torque. Both of these engines are mated to a CVT.

Whereas the Honda CR-V comes with a 2.4-liter four-pot engine churning out 185hp and 181lb-ft torque, also paired to a CVT.

The CR-V may be outputting more power than the Outback’s base engine, it feels more underpowered. The Outback has better driving and handling on the tarmac and off road compared to Honda’s top-selling SUV.

Although the EPA has yet to release the fuel economy rating for the Outback, the previous model did have 28mpg combined which surpasses the 27mpg from the CR-V.

When it comes to design, the CR-V is more of a “mom vehicle” despite looking more smoother and refined compared to the Outback. The latter is more toward a sportier vibe with its jagged lines.

However, the CR-V wins in interior space as there are lots of occupant space, especially with the foldable seat. Aside that, there is a lot more storage area and compartments in this model compared to the Outback.

The Honda crossover also appeals with its starting price tag of $23,750 as the Subaru starts off at least $25,645.

4 thoughts on “2017 Honda CR-V vs Subaru Outback: Very Different Strengths

  • I bought a 2006 Limited edition CRV just as the 2007 model year started. Test drives seemed fast enough but when my job change involved a longer commute I realized how underpowered the CRV is in traffic. My commute proved exhausting and I dreaded it. In 2011 we rented an Outback for a 10 day New England – Quebec trip and it won me over. The base engine proved plenty fast and powerful, the drivers seat in particular was very comfortable. In late 2012 I bought a 2013 Outback Premium and I almost looked forward to my commute, the drivers heated lumbar/seat, decent basic sound system and blue tooth connection proved the perfect upgrade.

    • When we were car shopping our mechanic warned us the CRV was underpowered. Consumer Reports warned us the handling was terrible in the last generation ending in ’16. The Daily Sun seems to be saying the handling still isn’t good in the new gen ’17 CRV although I don’t know if they actually drove one. They don’t seem to know yet the difference between an SUV and a station wagon.

      Forrester and Outback started a new gen in ’15 and we bought a ’16. It’s a dream come true, especially an upscale model with heated leather, Bose, sunroof. It’s an entirely different car than the previous gen, the difference between an economy compact and a luxury station wagon. The engine feels powerful.

  • We bought the 2017 Subaru Outback Limited after months of comparative test drives of all the similarly priced SUV competitors. By far, the Outback surpassed our expectations in every category; power, emergency handling, safety, technology, ergonomics, reliability data and overall functional design. Something else to consider: All all-wheel drive technology is NOT the same. Subaru uses a symmetrically mounted engine for even weight distribution that minimizes torque steer in slippery conditions. It makes a big difference in terms of control. I highly recommend this car to anyone looking for an affordable and safe AWD vehicle.

  • Having owned Subarus off and on over the past 20 years, we once again considered buying one when our last car required replacement. We bought the 2017 Subaru Outback Limited after months of comparative test drives of all the similarly priced SUV competitors. By far, the Outback surpassed our expectations in every category; power, emergency handling, safety, technology, ergonomics, reliability data and overall functional design. Something else to consider: All all-wheel drive technology is NOT the same. Subaru uses a symmetrically mounted engine for even weight distribution that minimizes torque steer in slippery conditions. It makes a big difference in terms of control. I highly recommend this car to anyone looking for an affordable and safe AWD vehicle.

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