Utility vehicles have become really big with Americans lately, which has not only driven up sales of the crossover segment but of wagons as well. And in certain cases, buyers would find that the wagons perform better as utility rides than crossovers.

This is the case for the Subaru Outback and Honda CR-V. Although the Subie cannot fully be considered a wagon, in some markets it is being sold in that category.

There are many ways the Outback is a clear winner over the CR-V, not least with its powertrain options – one 2.5L flat-four and a 3.6L flat-six engine.

Paired to a CVT, the base engine for the Outback does 175hp and 174lb-ft torque while the larger block delivers 256hp and 247lb-ft torque. Powering the CR-V, on the other hand, is a 2.4L four-pot engine with 185hp and 181lb-ft torque that’s also mated to a CVT.

Although the CR-V technically pushes out more power than the base engine Outback, it feels comparatively more underpowered. On the tarmac and off-road, the Outback drives and handles better than Honda’s best-selling SUV.

The EPA hasn’t released the fuel economy numbers for the Outback yet, but the prior model does 28mpg combined which is superior to 27mpg from the CR-V.

2016 Honda CR-V

2016 Honda CR-V

As for design, the CR-V still has ‘mom vehicle’ written all over it. Although it wears a more smoothened and refined overall look relative to the Outback that takes a sportier stance with more jagged lines, there are no standout aspects from its appearance.

The aesthetics of the Outback make it look right at home when cruising by the hills desert or country roads, and can sometimes feel a little out of place in the urban milieu. But its ‘rough around the edges’ appeal can be alluring to some and gives it a lot of character.

The one advantage to the CR-V being the ideal suburban choice is its interior space. There’s loads of occupant space to be had, especially with the foldable seats; plus there’s a lot more storage space and compartments to go about compared to the Outback, though the latter isn’t too shabby in that regard as well.

Another plus point to the Honda crossover is its price relative to the Outback. It starts at $23,750, while the Subie asks for at least $25,645.

Staff Reporter

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