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If you’re in the market for a new small crossover, there’s an endless number of models for you to choose from. However, many car shoppers will be taking a strong look at the 2019 Honda CR-V. It’s ranked among the best vehicles for families. However, the 2019 Subaru Outback is just as appealing. Which one of these small crossovers should you drive home? To find out, check out this head-to-head test.
When preparing to the test drive the 2019 Honda CR-V, you’ll have two four-cylinder motors to choose from. Honda rates the base engine to generate 184 ponies and 180 pound-feet of torque. You can step up to a turbocharged four-cylinder, which cranks out 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque.
Two powertrains are also available for the new Outback. The 2019 Subaru Outback’s base four-cylinder engine focuses on saving fuel. It develops 175 horsepower and just shy of 175 lb-ft of torque. To experience enhanced towing capabilities and stronger acceleration, opt for the Outback’s six-cylinder engine. Subaru tunes it to produce a muscular 256 hp.
Drivers enjoy the turbocharged Honda CR-V’s gutsy acceleration. When equipped with its base four-cylinder engine, the 2019 Subaru Outback is a bit slow to the say the least. However, upgrading to the six-cylinder engine really improves performance. While the turbocharged CR-V can hit 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, Forester models equipped with a six-cylinder engine clock a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds.
Like the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Outback uses a continuous variable transmission. Both perform well during stop-and-go driving. You won’t have to worry about the engine over-revving.
In terms of towing, the Subaru Outback is more suitable for the job. It has a maximum towing capacity of 2,700 pounds. Drivers should have no trouble pulling a trailer with a couple of ATVs. By comparison, Honda rates the CR-V with a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
Expect the Honda CR-V to offer very good gas mileage. The EPA lists the CR-V with a city rating of 28 mpg and a highway rating of 34 mpg. Meanwhile, you can trust the Outback to return 25 mpg in town and about 32 mpg on the freeway. This is impressive for an SUV that comes standard with all-wheel drive. Although fuel efficiency with the Outback’s six-cylinder engine takes a hit, you can look forward to getting 27 mpg on highway trips.
If you are looking for a crossover that can handle rough terrain, the Subaru Outback is a far better option. It offers important off-road features like hill descent control. Furthermore, adventure seekers can take advantage of the Outback’s higher ground clearance when driving down trails. Subaru also offers the Outback with an adventurous X-Mode system. It instantly improves traction and stability at the touch of a button.
As expected from a vehicle built by Honda, the new CR-V has a good reliability rating. While the Outback doesn’t have any big problem areas, it is not quite as dependable as the CR-V. Both manufacturers provide a 5-year powertrain warranty.
Folks who find a large SUV to be a bit too challenging to drive will love these small crossovers. They are both effortless to drive. When behind the wheel, you’ll experience smooth sailing. Parking is also an easy chore with these SUVs. While the Outback has a slightly tighter turning radius, most drivers won’t notice a big difference in the CR-V.
The 2019 Honda CR-V’s handling is on par with the class leaders. This crossover snakes along curvy roads like a sedan. Drivers will especially appreciate the CR-V’s lack of body roll, which creates a very stable feel. Precise steering also helps the CR-V to maneuver with supreme confidence.
Although the 2019 Subaru Outback drivers perfectly fine, it does not feel as athletic as the new CR-V. Its softer suspension causes the SUV’s body to lean more when taking curves. However, the Outback does have a good steering system.
In regard to ride quality, these crossovers are a very close match. Like the CR-V, the Outback absorbs bumps well. Whether taking a quick trip to the supermarket or driving out of town to visit friends, expect to experience a smooth journey.
When it comes to interior quality, the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback both excel. High-grade materials enhance the interior’s durability. However, expect the CR-V’s cabin to be a touch quieter. It seems Honda focused more on eliminating wind noise.
Everyone should be able to obtain a good driving position in the Outback. A wide seat and highly adjustable steering help the Outback to accommodate drivers of varying sizes. Visibility out the front and rear windows is very good. In terms of driver comfort and outward visibility, the CR-V is nearly just as rewarding.
The Honda CR-V is highly regarded as a family vehicle. It provides a great deal of space for everyone. While the Outback is built to provide everyday comfort, it does not provide as much legroom for rear-seat occupants. There’s also more cargo space in the back on the CR-V. However, roof rails with integrated crossbars do come standard on the Outback. They give adventurous families a place to store their extra gear.
The new Subaru Outback has the best in-vehicle technology. Its touchscreen’s clear menus and ease of use will impress many drivers. While on a busy highway, excellent voice controls enable drivers to easily operate the infotainment system. Although the CR-V’s infotainment system has improved greatly, making voice commands is often a hassle.
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Solid impact protection further highlights the 2019 Honda CR-V as a great family SUV. The NHTSA stamped the CR-V with a top overall safety rating. It also scored well in all of the critical crash tests performed by the IIHS, which helped it to be named a Top Safety Pick.
Like its rival, the 2019 Subaru Outback boasts five-star safety credentials from the NHTSA. It also managed to receive a Top Safety Pick+ rating, which is better than the CR-V’s Top Safety Pick rating. Testers from the IIHS found the Outback’s headlights to be better. They also concluded the Outback’s child safety anchors to be superior to those inside the CR-V.
This year, Subaru has enhanced the Outback’s safety by equipping it with a standard EyeSight system. It equips the SUV with today’s most sought-after safety features. The list of driving aids includes intelligent cruise, automatic pre-collision braking, and lane keeping assist. While the CRV’s available Honda Sensing system offers these same accident-avoidance technologies, it does not come standard on every trim. Both vehicles offer blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic monitoring.
One area where the CR-V outshines the Outback is braking. While the Outback’s brakes are up to the task, they don’t feel as strong. Meanwhile, the CR-V’s brakes deliver a smooth and powerful performance in all conditions.
Remember, only the Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive. Aside from helping to promote good grip in the snow, Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system also aids traction in the rain. When behind the wheel of the Outback, drivers will always have more security in bad weather.
Which Has the Best Value?
The 2019 Honda CR-V is a good pick for drivers looking for an inexpensive family vehicle. According to Honda, prices for the CR-V start at $24,350. Opting for all-wheel drive increases the CR-V’s price tag to $25,750. By comparison, Subaru prices the base Outback at $26,350.
At first glance, it seems the Honda CR-V is the greater value. However, car shoppers should take a closer look at the standard equipment. In comparison to the base Subaru Outback, the CR-V seems lightly equipped. Drivers won’t be able to enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto app streaming. Honda does not even equip the base CR-V with a standard touchscreen. Meanwhile, Subaru’s Starlink interface provides a touch display with advanced smartphone support. Don’t forget about the Outback’s standard EyeSight safety package.
Folks who don’t mind spending more money should consider the luxurious Outback Touring, which starts at $37,345. However, add another $1,300 for the available six-cylinder engine. Noteworthy niceties include a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, heated front/rear seats, and rear air vents. Leather upholstery covers the interior.
Shoppers can compare the Outback Touring to the CR-V Touring. There’s no overlooking the CR-V Touring’s less expensive price. Expect to pay around $32,850. It feels just as nice on the inside. However, music fans will likely favor the Outback Touring stronger 12-speaker sound system. Neither SUV offers ventilated seats.
In the long run, the 2019 Honda CR-V may a tad cheaper to own. This is mainly due to its reputation for being a reliable high-mileage vehicle and stronger fuel economy. With that said, Outback owners shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on maintenance and repairs. Both SUVs are designed to burn regular unleaded gasoline, which is a cost saver.
Which is Better?
Before choosing a winner in this head-to-head comparison, let’s look back at the strengths and weaknesses of both vehicles. Car shoppers seeking optimum fuel economy may lean more towards the 2019 Honda CR-V. It’s among the most frugal non-hybrid crossovers in the country. However, choosing the 2019 Subaru Outback still isn’t a bad idea. Most drivers won’t complain about an AWD-equipped SUV that returns more than 30 mpg on the highway.
The 2019 Honda CR-V is a solid performer. Its available turbocharged engine is powerful and refined. However, some people will need the Outback’s six-cylinder engine for towing. Outback models equipped with a four-cylinder engine don’t pack very much performance.
Outdoor lovers will definitely find the Outback to be a better choice. Its rugged features will help when driving through the backcountry. As its name suggests, the Outback simply can go places where the CR-V can’t. Both of these crossover SUVs provide room for five. However, there’s an inch more legroom in the CR-V’s backseat. The CR-V also has a larger storage area.
Despite having a lower price, the Honda CR-V is not necessarily a better value than the Subaru Outback. Keep in mind that only the Outback comes standard with in-demand features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone support and automatic emergency braking.
Styling with these SUVs is simply a matter of personal taste. While some drivers will prefer the Outback’s understated styling, others will be drawn to the more modern-looking CR-V.Despite its many great qualities, the 2019 Honda CR-V loses this battle of top crossovers. A multipurpose design helps the 2019 Subaru Outback to take the win. It can handle the everyday tasks of a family hauler. Drivers can also use the Outback for taking a weekend camping adventure. On the other hand, drivers who ultimately choose the Honda CR-V will be satisfied with their decision as well.