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2021 Subaru Outback vs Crosstrek

2021 Subaru Outback vs Crosstrek

2021 Outback vs Crosstrek - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

For years, Subaru has been relied on as a trusted provider of reliable, safe and practical vehicles. 2021 brings two unique models - the Outback SUV and Crosstrek – with smaller sizes perfect for versatility and maneuverability. Delivering high tech features at competitive prices in addition to powerful all-wheel drive options combined with comfortable seating areas make these sought after SUVs an excellent choice for any prospective customer.

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Size and Styling

The Outback is a mid-size SUV, delivering more spaciousness than its subcompact counterpart--the Crosstrek. While the former offers added interior room with only minimal increases in height and width, it does come at a sacrifice for parking ease due to being nearly 15 inches longer. Whether you prioritize internal space or maneuverability depends on your individual needs.

The Outback offers a delightfully spacious ride. Passengers can stretch out with up to 42.8 inches of leg room in the front and 39.5 inches in the second row - perfect for taller riders seeking extra comfort while they travel.

In contrast, there's only 36.5 inches of second-row leg room in the Crosstrek. This should be fine for many situations, especially if kids are riding in the back, but things could start to get uncomfortable on longer road trips or when three people are sitting together in that second row. In the front of the Crosstrek, space shouldn't be an issue. There's 43.1 inches of leg room in the first row. That being said, there's a little less shoulder room and head room in the Crosstrek than in the Outback.

With the Subaru Outback, you can turn any family outing into a joyous adventure. Its spacious cabin offers 32.5 cubic feet of storage space – perfect for packing up bikes or sports gear in tow - and it expands to 75.7 cubic feet with lowered rear seats, making road trips and errand-running easier than ever! For those seeking maximum convenience wherever they go, there's no better choice than the roomy Outback from Subaru.

For families ready to hit the road, or those who just need more storage space around town, the Subaru Outback is a great choice. With 32.5 cubic feet of cargo area already available and expandable up to 75.7 cubes with lowered rear seats, packing up for any outing has never been easier.

With the modern, yet timeless 2021 versions of Subaru's Outback and Crosstrek models, there may not be anything especially edgy to draw attention. Yet for many consumers seeking a classic look that still stands out from the crowd, these two cars offer an ideal aesthetic balance - hard to tell apart but distinct enough even with similar stylings.

Both vehicles can ride on 17- or 18-inch wheels. They can be enhanced with LED fog lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and power-operated moonroofs that can either tilt or slide open.

With its range of trims, the Outback offers an extensive selection of premium features. Power moonroofs come standard on several models and chrome inserts accentuate the door handles for a touch of sophistication. Equipped with LED steering responsive headlights as part of their inventory, top-trim Crosstreks ensure drivers have improved road visibility when turning at night – unavailable in other levels but further enhancing safety standards in higher grades from both manufacturers.


The Outback is the powerhouse of Subaru's SUV lineup, boasting two available engines and three powertrains to choose from. Drive with confidence knowing you have an abundance of options for performance on your side.

Subaru's Outback is the perfect ride for any terrain - and thanks to its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it comes with plenty of power. With 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque delivered through all trims, you can tackle anything your next adventure throws at you; plus an impressive towing capacity totaling up to 2700 pounds should cover most needs.

Subaru Outback drivers have the option to upgrade their ride with an exciting 2.4-liter turbocharged engine! This powerful boost in horsepower results in a vigorous 260 horses and 277 pound-feet of torque, providing confidence for treacherous terrain or when towing up to 3,500 pounds.

The Subaru Crosstrek has a standard engine with four cylinders and two liters of displacement that offer 152 horsepower, 145 pound-feet of torque, and towing capacity up to 1,500 pounds. Sport and Limited trims share the same powerful Outback engine as previous models but are limited in their pulling power at an impressive 1,500 lb. max tow load.

With the Crosstrek Hybrid, adventure seekers can make their journeys even more ecological and efficient. Utilizing hybrid technology with an electric motor plus a powerful 2.0-liter engine, it produces a net estimated horsepower of 148 for reliable performance - all while being able to tow up to 1,500 pounds.

Subaru SUVs offer a range of transmission options for different models, with the CVT and manual transmissions available on several. The Crosstrek and its upgraded Premium version feature six-speed manuals as standard - perfect if you're looking to take full control behind the wheel - while all Outbacks come fitted with reliable Lineartronic continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) offering smoother acceleration.

When exploring rugged terrain, Outback and Crosstrek SUVs are built for the journey with standard all-wheel drive. To make it even easier to get through tough spots, X-MODE enhances traction control sensitivity to reduce wheel slippage while providing extra power when you need it most. Hill Descent Control keeps your speed in check going down inclines so you can keep safe on your adventure – both of these tools come standard on every trim level except three trims of the Crosstrek where they're available as an add-on option at a small cost.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Crosstrek Hybrid stands out with its impressive combined MPGe rating of 90. Although other models still offer commendable MPG ratings ranging from 27-34 mpg (city/highway), the Outback rivals them at a slightly lower performance but is available in traditional and turbocharged engine versions for varied levels of power output.

Comfort, Options and Performance

The Outback boasts luxurious interior features, such as heated and ventilated front seats with Nappa leather upholstery along with heated rear seating. While the Crosstrek still offers comfortable seating options in genuine leather, upgraded heating elements like those for the steering wheel or cooled-ventilation are not available.

The Outback has a leg up on the Crosstrek in terms of comfort and convenience, offering power-adjustable seating for both driver and front passenger as well as memory support. Plus, enjoy extra perks like an auto-dimming rearview mirror, hands free power gate with adjustable height settings to accommodate garages with limited space - every drive is sure to be more comfortable than ever!

When it comes to staying connected and entertained, Subaru models have you covered. With their multimedia systems including touchscreens, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth capabilities - plus the added convenience of Wi-Fi access across all trims (except for two entry levels) – your journeys will be anything but dull.

The Outback starts out with a seven-inch touchscreen that has SiriusXM Satellite Radio. All of its other trims have 11.6-inch touchscreens, some of which come standard with integrated navigation and Harman Kardon sound systems with 12 speakers.

Subaru hasn't been as generous with the Crosstrek. Three out of its five trims have 6.5-inch touchscreens, and the entry-level trim is the only one that doesn't have SiriusXM. Navigation is included with the Crosstrek Limited and Hybrid. Those trims have available Harman Kardon sound systems, which would give the vehicle eight speakers.


Safety is an area in which the Subaru does very well, and standard symmetrical all-wheel drive helps these models stand out in a competitive SUV market. Both models have rear-vision cameras, Daytime Running Lights, and traction control. However, there are many differences between the two Subarus.

Every trim of the Outback has automatic high beams and driver-assist technology. As part of the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology package, the Outback has adaptive cruise control; lane centering, lane keep assist, and lane departure alert; and pre-collision braking with frontal collision warning. The Outback can do an excellent job of staying out of harm's way since it can independently hit the brakes or correct its steering if necessary.

Safety is a top priority in this model with features like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert for an extra layer of awareness along with reverse automatic braking to reduce minor accidents. The added front view camera provides a full 180º perspective so you can maneuver more precisely into any spot.

The Crosstrek trims come with a host of advanced safety features in the form of reverse automatic braking, convenient automatic high beams and helpful blind-spot/rear cross traffic monitoring systems. While it does not include a front view camera as part of its package, there are still many reasons for drivers to appreciate this vehicle's top notch safety tech.

The EyeSight Driver Assist Technology package is one way the top three Crosstrek trims elevate their performance, offering it as a standard component. On lesser models of this versatile SUV, drivers can still opt-in to enjoy its suite of intuitive features - however they'll have to pay extra for the privilege.

Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Rydeshopper,   Edmunds,   CarsDirect,   NADAguides  &  Motortrend. These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Model to Choose?

With a smaller size and less power, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has an appealing starting cost of $22,245. Step up to the Limited model for just under $30K or go all-in with the unique Hybrid version at over $35K – all while still reaping great value compared to its larger counterpart Outback.

Investing in an Outback is not for the faint-hearted - with prices starting at $26,795 and going all the way up to $39,945 for their most premium trim. However, its expansive list of features may make this outlay seem worthwhile when deciding between trims such as Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT or Touring XT. Weigh your options carefully before taking that plunge.

For those who'd love a little extra space, the Outback is an ideal option. With its turbocharged engine - perfect for days when you're feeling like picking up speed - and generous features list at an expensive cost, the Outback is sure to provide plenty of fun without breaking your budget. Alternatively, if size isn't as important and value matters more, then look no further than Crosstrek with it's open cabin design packed full of tech savvy amenities that will prove useful in everyday life situations.

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