2020 Honda Passport vs Subaru Outback
Midsize crossovers are now selling in record numbers. Last year, the Honda Passport finally returned to the market. Many people appreciate the Passport’s spacious seating and rugged exterior styling. Drivers will also be impressed by the Passport’s lively acceleration and capable handling. Furthermore, it’s surprisingly rugged for a crossover SUV.
Another one of the segment’s top contenders is the Subaru Outback. It’s always been a favorite among outdoor lovers. Ample cargo space and a standard AWD system make it perfect for weekend adventures. However, a luxurious interior also enables the Outback to excel as a daily-driver. Is the 2020 Honda Passport better than the 2020 Subaru Outback? Let’s find out.
Every new 2020 Honda Passport comes equipped with Honda’s well-liked 3.5-liter, V6 engine. Over the years, this engine has proven itself to be trouble-free and easy to maintain. It generates a fulfilling 280 horsepower and more than 260 lb-ft of torque. Routing power to the wheels is a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
When heading out to test drive the 2020 Subaru Outback, prospective buyers will have two boxer four-cylinder engines to choose from. The standard four-cylinder engine is geared towards drivers who wish to save more fuel. It develops a fair 182 horsepower. Stepping up to the Outback’s turbocharged engine bumps output to a far more interesting 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are connected to a continuous variable transmission.
Outback models equipped with the base engine are the slowest of the bunch. Drivers seeking a legitimately quick SUV will desire the turbocharged Outback. It can clock a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds. However, a 0-60 mph dash of 6.1 seconds makes the Honda Passport even quicker. Expect the Passport’s engine to pull strong at all speeds.
Many drivers will also find the Passport’s nine-speed automatic transmission to be more responsive. Activating the Passport’s sport mode really maximizes the performance of its transmission. The Outback’s gearless transmission isn’t quite as much fun. It’s more concerned with optimizing fuel economy as opposed to creating more excitement.
The best crossover for towing is Passport. Opting for all-wheel drive raises its tow rating to 5,000 pounds. Meanwhile, a 3,500-pound towing capacity is listed for the new Outback. Folks who need to pull a bigger load will ultimately need the Passport’s extra muscle.
A smaller engine helps the Subaru Outback to win the fuel economy battle. It can return up to an EPA-calculated 26 mpg town/33 mpg freeway. The turbocharged Outback delivers 23 mpg town/30 mpg interstate. While the Passport isn’t as good on gas, most drivers won’t be too ashamed of its rating of 20 mpg town/25 mpg highway. Both SUVs can be fed cheaper 87 octane.
Don’t be misled by the Honda Passport’s bigger size. Most experts agree that it actually handles the road a tad bit better than the Subaru Outback. While the Outback takes curves well, it’s steering system does not provide as much feedback. Nevertheless, the overall driving character of these SUVs is very close.
Like the new Outback, the Passport is capable of handling a muddy adventure. Its optional torque-vectoring AWD will help minimize traction loss of slippery ground. Activating the SUV’s snow mode also helps manage frozen turf. There are a few advantages on the Outback's side. Not only does the Outback have a higher ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, but it also benefits from an innovative X-Mode system. When pressing the Outback’s X-Mode button, the SUV immediately transforms into a more suitable trail machine.
When stomping on the brakes at 60 mph, tests show the 2020 Honda Passport takes around 130 feet to come to a stop. This is about an average braking performance for an SUV. To no surprise, the much lighter Outback can stop eight feet shorter. This may be a big deal for drivers who desire more confidence during emergencies.
Both of these crossover SUVs offer average reliability. They received a 3.0 out of 5.0 rating in J.D. Power’s dependability study. Owners shouldn’t encounter any major problems for at least 100,000 miles.
In terms of warranty protection, the Honda Passport and the Subaru Outback yet again tie each other. Their bumper-to-bumper warranties run out after 36,000 miles. Meanwhile, drivers can travel up to 60,000 miles before the powertrain warranty expires.
The 2020 Honda Passport has a good ride quality. Expect the Passport to ride a lot like the three-row Honda Pilot. However, Subaru designed the Outback to offer an even more comfortable ride. It feels smoother and more refined than the Passport. Even some luxury vehicles don’t soak up bumps as good as the new Outback.
Both of these models are quiet. They do a superb job of keeping things hushed. However, the Outback’s base engine can become a bit noisy under hard acceleration.
These SUVs are made to accommodate up to five people. Families will love the spaciousness of the Honda Passport and the Subaru Outback. Rear legroom is virtually the same. Even tall adults can ride without feeling confined. However, the Passport’s wider rear seat will come in handy when three passengers are sitting in the back.
The advantage in front-seat legroom goes to the Outback. It gives front passengers an extra 1.9 inches of legroom. Of course, tall drivers will appreciate being able to extend their legs just a bit further. On the other hand, there is more elbow space in the Passport.
In terms of overall seat comfort, the Subaru Outback takes the lead. Some automotive critics rave about the soft padding of the Outback’s front seats. This crossover will keep everyone happy on long drives. While the Passport’s seats are far from being uncomfortable, they are simply not as plush.
There’s a lot of space for your extra belongings in the Passport. It provides an extremely pleasing 41 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. By comparison, the Outback has 33 cubic feet of car space behind its rear seat.
The Subaru Outback has always rewarded drivers with great outward visibility. This fact remains true for the latest generation. Skinny window pillars give you an expansive view of the road. There are also not many blind spots behind the driver. Drivers can expect the Passport to offer above-average outward visibility as well. A big rear window helps reduce dangerous blind spots.
Many people will consider the Outback to have the best interior design. While the Passport’s push-button gear shifter may save some space, some drivers will find it to be somewhat awkward. There’s also a greater number of hard plastics inside the Passport. The Outback is the more luxurious of these two SUVs. Subaru lines its cabin with top-quality interior materials. Nappa leather seating surfaces are found in the Outback's upscale Touring trims.
Honda’s available Display Audio infotainment system is substantially better than in previous years. It responds quickly and doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to use. While Subaru’s Starlink infotainment is even simpler to use, response times are a tad slower. However, keep in mind that only the Outback offers a stunning 11.6-inch touchscreen. Aside from giving the Outback’s cabin a more modern feel, it can also display large driving maps when traveling. Honda offers the Passport with a smaller 8.0-inch touch display.
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The 2020 Subaru Outback is a remarkably safe crossover. It received a perfect score in all of the NHTSA’s crash tests, thus receiving a five-star overall rating. While the 2020 Honda Passport also took home a five-star overall safety rating from the federal government, its frontal crash protection wasn’t quite as good.
Families will also appreciate the Outback being named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. Because of the Passport’s lower headlight rating and less impressive overall impact scores, it was not able to receive the organization’s top honor.
Both SUVs come standard with advanced driving aids. Forward collision braking, lane departure intervention, and intelligent cruise control are the biggest highlights. Blind-spot monitoring is offered on the upper trims.
Some other exclusive safety features can be added to the new Outback. Subaru’s DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System uses facial recognition software to determine if the driver has become drowsy. Meanwhile, LED Steering Responsive Headlights provide better lightning on rural roads. Lane centering technology and reverse automatic braking are also exclusively available on the new Outback.
As expected, both SUVs receive a standard backup camera. However, the Subaru Outback further simplifies the task of parking with its optional Front View Monitor. Aside from helping to prevent fender benders, this forward-facing camera also helps drivers to dodge off-road obstructions.
Which Has the Best Value?
Prices for the 2020 Subaru Outback begin at an estimated $26,660. Meanwhile, the 2020 Honda Pilot has a starting MSRP of $31,900. Buyers can save more than $5,000 by choosing the Outback over the Passport.
Both SUVs are loaded with a good amount of equipment. While the Passport features a better stereo system and tri-zone automatic climate control, the Outback clearly has the better standard infotainment system. To get a touch display with advanced smartphone support, Passport buyers must move up to a pricier trim. Satellite radio is another one of the Outback’s key standard features.
Drivers who are seeking the most luxury will be comparing the range-topping Outback Touring XT to the Passport Elite. While the Outback Touring XT costs around $37,745, the Passport Elite has a suggested retail price of $43,780. Because of the Outback Touring XT’s lower cost, it’s a better value. Both of these top-of-the-line models feature climate-controlled front seats, a premium stereo system, and upgraded leather.
Which is Better?
Car shoppers should take a close look at their finances before making a choice. The new 2020 Subaru Outback proves to be the better bang for the buck. It matches what the 2020 Honda Passport brings to the table for a lower price.
Some people consider a vehicle’s exterior styling to be a major selling point. While the Subaru Outback is a decent-looking vehicle, some drivers may not be fond of its wagon-like exterior. Sportier styling enables the Passport to turn more heads. Featuring 20-inch black wheels and blacked-out trim, the entry-level Passport Sport is one of the most attractive base models you’ll find.
The edge in technology goes to the Subaru Outback. High-end upgrades, like an 11.6-inch touchscreen and a front-view camera, help set apart the Outback. More advanced safety tech is also available for the new Outback.
When it comes to performance and driving enjoyment, these midsize crossovers are a close match. While the Outback’s base four-cylinder engine isn’t designed to win races, it’s extremely efficient. Driving enthusiasts will need the Outback’s turbo engine. The difference in performance is like night and day. All versions of the Honda Passport feel muscular.
This head-to-head comparison is almost too close to call. Both of these midsize SUVs are highly recommended. However, the 2020 Subaru Outback barely nudges by the 2020 Honda Passport. It’s a bit comfier, packs more technology, and comes standard with an excellent AWD system.