2019 Honda CR-V vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CR-V EX/EX-L/Touring’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Outback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the CR-V and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Honda CR-V is safer than the Subaru Outback:

 

CR-V

Outback

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23%

27%

Neck Stress

194 lbs.

259 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Stress

124 lbs.

153 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

183/200 lbs.

202/266 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Honda CR-V is safer than the Subaru Outback:

 

CR-V

Outback

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

130 G’s

192 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

125

223

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

17 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 66 percent more Honda dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the CR-V’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CR-V third among compact suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Outback isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 23rd in initial quality. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The CR-V LX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 9 more horsepower (184 vs. 175) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (180 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the CR-V LX is faster than the Outback 2.5i:

 

CR-V

Outback

Zero to 60 MPH

8.6 sec

10.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CR-V gets better fuel mileage than the Outback:

 

 

 

MPG

CR-V

 

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

Outback

 

AWD

2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

 

 

3.6R 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

The CR-V has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Outback doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The CR-V stops much shorter than the Outback:

 

CR-V

Outback

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

146 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CR-V has larger tires than the Outback (235/65R17 vs. 225/65R17).

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the CR-V is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Outback.

The CR-V Touring AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CR-V LX executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Outback 2.5i Limited (27.7 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The Honda CR-V may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 400 pounds less than the Subaru Outback.

The CR-V is 9.3 inches shorter than the Outback, making the CR-V easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The CR-V uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Outback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the CR-V Touring AWD is quieter than the Outback 3.6R Limited (40 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

The CR-V has .3 inches more rear headroom and 2.3 inches more rear legroom than the Outback.

Cargo Capacity

The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Outback with its rear seat up (39.2 vs. 35.5 cubic feet). The CR-V has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Outback with its rear seat folded (75.8 vs. 73.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CR-V easier. The CR-V’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the Outback’s liftover is 27.9 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CR-V’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outback doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the CR-V Touring’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The CR-V has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Outback doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The CR-V EX-L/Touring’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Outback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the CR-V the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CR-V Touring’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the CR-V and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CR-V has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback Base/Premium doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The CR-V is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CR-V is less expensive to operate than the Outback because it costs $684 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the CR-V than the Outback, including $111 less for a water pump, $24 less for front brake pads, $105 less for front struts and $196 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Honda CR-V has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

CR-V

Outback

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

TRUE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the CR-V first among compact suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Outback was rated third in its category.

The CR-V was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 17 years. The Outback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

Motor Trend selected the CR-V as their 2018 Sport Utility of the Year. The Outback has never been chosen.

The Honda CR-V outsold the Subaru Outback by over two to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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