Skip to Content

Subaru Outback vs Crosstrek

A picture of Subaru Outbackk facing Crosstek.

Choosing between the right car to get can sometimes become overwhelming, especially if you’re caught up between two similar ones. Crossovers like the Subaru Outback and the Subaru Crosstrek could be a difficult decision between the two. That’s why I did some research to see which is better between the two.

If you’re looking for a base hybrid car that is great for the city and economy, then the Crosstrek is the best choice out of the two. However, overall the Outback outperforms the Crosstrek in many areas, such as power, cargo space, safety features, and gadgets.

The Outback outsold the Crosstrek in 2017 sales in the USA; the Outback was top of the Subaru sales chart whereas the Crosstrek came in fourth place. But choosing between these two comes down to preference and your budget as the Outback is pricey.

Outback vs Crosstrek

Side view of a white-colored outback car.

The Outback is the longer, chunkier crossover to the Crosstrek that takes after the Subaru Impreza more and is regarded as a compact crossover. City drivers find that Crosstrek’s ability to move around tight spaces and other vehicles a lot more attractive.  Suburban drivers prefer the Outback’s limousine ride and cavernous interior while using that all-wheel drive to go off-road.

The Outback has a much longer wheelbase than the Crosstrek, 3 inches longer, to be specific. You might be wondering how that could affect the car; by increasing the wheelbase, the vehicle’s ride is a lot smoother. It is possible because the vehicle’s platform covers more area, and therefore, bumps are less likely to be picked up by passengers.

Outback and Crosstrek offer all the features of a sport utility vehicle with a lower cost, higher fuel economy, better ride, and superior car’s outward visibility.  They come included with full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive meaning that the feature doesn’t require any buttons to be pushed to be activated.

Both the Outback and Crosstrek have earned top safety pick ratings. So you can ease your mind that you will be safe in both vehicles at all times. Subaru has tested all safety features rigorously to ensure only the best quality of service to their customers.

Equally equipped, the Outback is about $4,000 more.  Outback lets off only one more mile per gallon of gas to the Crosstrek around town when equipped with the standard engines, and they both return 33mpg on the highway.

However, if you compare the turbocharged version of the Outback, it outshines the Crosstreks 2.0 liter manual. That’s not the case, though, for the pricier Hybrid Crosstrek that will make your drives a lot cheaper than the Outback.

Size Difference

Side view of a dark colored crosstrek car.

Like previously mentioned, the wheelbase of the Outback is longer than the Crosstrek. The Crosstrek is 175.8 inches long, which is 15 inches shorter than the Outback. The wheelbase of the Crosstrek is 104.9 inches, which is 3 inches shorter than the Outback. Clearly explains why the Crosstrek is more preferred by city drivers for that compact shape!

The Crosstrek has quite a roomy cabin that measures 43.1 inches of legroom for the front seats, which is surprisingly a bit higher than the Outback. The rear legroom at 36.5 inches (926 mm) is on the lower side, especially for adults. The Crosstrek has a nice comfortable headroom of 39.8 inches in the front and 38.0 inches at the back.

However, the Crosstrek that includes a moon roof drops those figures bit to 37.6 inches in front and 37.8 inches at the back. The rear legroom at 36.5 inches (926 mm) is on the lower side, especially for adults.

The front head and legroom of the Outback are almost identical to the Crosstrek. However, this is where the extra size of the Outback comes in and outshines the Crosstrek, giving passengers at the back 3 inches more legroom and 2 inches more headroom. This makes the back seats more comfortable for adults for longer rides compared to the Crosstrek.

The Crosstreks cargo volume in the trunk is 20.4 cubic feet (588 L), and with the rear seats folded, the size increases to 55.3 cubic feet (1,565 L). The Outback’s cargo space is even more impressive. Behind the rear seats, the Outback Legacy can accommodate 32.5 cubic feet (920 L) of luggage, nearly 12 cubic feet more than the Crosstrek. Outback Legacy drivers can increase that to 75.7 cubic feet (2,144 L) when they fold the rear seats.

Technology and Specs

An inside view of a black car.

The Crosstrek at its base, starting off at $23,295 offers an acceptable level of comfort equipment. You get an automatic climate control system as standard, along with electrically adjustable and retractable side mirrors. You can expect to see a 6.5-inch touchscreen Starlink infotainment system that is compatible with Android and iPhone in the center console.

The Premium version of the Crosstrek will come included with the EyeSight driver assistance system, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, departure warning, and pre-collision braking. To get your hands on one, it will cost you $24,345, as a starting baseline cost for a manual. Not to mention the extra $1,000 plus you will need to add to get the CVT.

Once you start looking at the top Limited Crosstreks or even the Hybrid that starts at $29,000 and $ 36,395 you will get more than you can ask for. You will see a size increase in the console screen, along with EyeSight driver assist technology, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist. The rest, such as the moon roof, are additional attachments that will cost you.

The Outback, on the other hand, is definitely more expensive, but you got more out of it for your money that is worth it. Standard it comes with the EyeSight safety suite, which starts at $27,845 comes with the 7.0-inch Starlink infotainment system.

The Outback Premium trim ($30,095) is a significant step up in terms of equipment on offer. The Premium trim gets a huge 11.6-inch Multimedia Plus touchscreen on the center dash along with a dual-zone climate control system. To upgrade to limited Outback for almost $35,000, you will get luxurious leather seats and additional safety features to the car, making it feel like you’re in the future.


The Outback is definitely more expensive than the Crosstrek, but what it offers for that price becomes a value for money. Overall the Crosstrek is meant more for urban driving, with its compact shape and hybrid engine that is more fuel-efficient than the Outback.

However, even though the Crosstrek outperforms in fuel efficiency and price, the Outback in size, luxury, comfortability, and performance is still the best choice. It all depends on your taste and what you expect from your car.