Which is the best new SUV, a Toyota 4Runner SUV or a Subaru Outback midsize SUV? If we look at sales, it may surprise you that the Outback outsells the 4Runner in the U.S. market. And it's not by a small margin. Year to date, the 2023 Subaru Outback has 108,334 sales, and the Toyota 4Runner has 65,224 sales through the first eight months of 2023.
Why does the Outback have 43,110 more model sales than the 4Runner? We talked to one owner of a 2022 Toyota 4Runner who just traded his vehicle for a 2023 Subaru Outback that will shed some light on why. Here is what we found out.
The vehicle's price difference
One significant factor is the price. The 2023 Subaru Outback Touring has an MSRP of $41,070, including destination and delivery fees. A comparably equipped 2023 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4-Wheel Drive is $53,664, including delivery, processing, and handling.
The Toyota 4Runner owner was able to trade in his 2022 model year vehicle for a newer, fully loaded 2023 Subaru Outback for less money. This was a significant reason, but that was not the only factor in his decision.
The vehicles are about the same size inside and out.
The wheelbase is about the same in the Outback versus the 4Runner. The Toyota 4Runner has a 109.8-inch wheelbase versus 108.1-inch for the Subaru Outback. The Outback is larger than he expected it to be. Both are considered midsize SUVs, even though the 4Runner looks bigger.
The 4Runner owner has a 2001 Subaru Legacy wagon, and they like the vehicle for its standard all-wheel-drive and the versatility of a wagon body style. It's perfect for hauling the dogs to the vet and has a lower load height.
A lower loading height
They found the Outback is much bigger than their 2001 Legacy wagon, but it still offers utility, versatility, and a low loading height. It's also easier to get in and out of than the higher 4Runner.
The 4Runner was not stable in a crosswind.
More things they did not like about the 2022 Toyota 4Runner: The owner says the 4Runner was unstable on the highway, especially in a crosswind. The owner says, "It was scary to drive when the wind was blowing hard."
Why is the 4Runner less stable than the Outback? The Toyota 4Runner's overall height is 71.5 inches. The 2023 Subaru Outback's overall height is 66.1 inches (with roof rails). He and his wife found the Outback felt solid on the highway, and the wind did not affect it.
The 4Runner is too tall and too big.
The 4Runner was challenging for his wife to park in a grocery store parking lot. She could not easily see out, and it was too big to navigate the smaller parking spots. Whereas the Outback has excellent visibility from the driver's seat, and it's easy to drive and park. The Outback has the utility of an SUV but drives like a car.
They like the Outback's safety rating. The Outback gets the highest safety crash scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They are still figuring out the EyeSight safety tech and Starlink security because the Outback has many new features.
They liked and purchased Subaru's 3-year maintenance with free oil change and tire rotation package for $300.
The 2023 Subaru Outback the couple purchased is the Touring trim with the 2.5-liter engine. They were impressed with the SUV's power and didn't feel they needed the Touring XT with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine upgrade.
The Subaru Outback has one flaw.
The Outback could be better if it didn't have one feature. What they don't like about the 2023 Subaru Outback is the engine stop/start feature. Many owners have negative comments about the fuel-saving feature. But Subaru is one of many automakers using the new feature to improve the mpg rating.
The Toyota 4Runner owner purchased a 2023 Outback, but what is the price of all 2024 Subaru Outback trim levels? The 2024 model change arrives this fall. The 2024 Outback has additional improvements over the previous model.
The 2024 Outback is available in nine trim levels. The Base is priced at $30,190, Premium ($32,490), Onyx Edition ($37,400), Limited ($37,090), Touring ($41,640), Onyx Edition XT ($40,655), Wilderness ($41,255), Limited XT ($41,490), and Touring XT ($44,090). In addition, destination and delivery fees are included in the price above ($1,295).
The 2022 Toyota 4Runner owner traded in the SUV for a 2023 Subaru Outback Touring midsize SUV because it was a better value, it was about the same size inside, it had a low load height, it was stable on the highway, and it was easier to navigate in a parking lot. It was an easy decision and a good choice for this couple to make.
For additional articles related to the 2023 Subaru Outback, here are a few for your consideration:
- 2023 Subaru Outback Base Trim Is Packed With Value But You Shouldn’t Buy It
- Find Out What The 2023 Subaru Outback SUV's True 5-Year Cost To Own Is
- CR Says Avoid The Jeep Grand Cherokee And Buy The Subaru Outback Instead
Check Out This Related 2023 Subaru Outback Review & Road Test YouTube video from Kelley Blue Book.
Denis Flierl brings over thirty years of combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience to Torque News readers. He is an accredited Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) member. The last twelve years have been spent with Torque News, covering Subaru vehicles and the latest news. Check back daily for his expert Subaru analysis. You'll find the latest stories on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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