2023 Subaru Outback
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Consumer Reports 5 Best 2-Row SUVs Under $40K - Subaru Outback Now Slips To 3rd

What are the best 2023 model-year SUVs you can buy under $40,000? The 2023 Subaru Outback is now Consumer Reports' 3rd-best pick in the 2-Row category. Check out what sets it apart from the competition and why the Outback slips to third place.

Is the 2023 Subaru Outback one of the best SUVs under $40,000? An updated ranking by Consumer Reports (by subscription) lists the top five Two-Row SUVs from its testing and owner surveys. See why the Outback drops a spot from last year’s ranking.

The updated list includes models they own, test drive for thousands of miles, put through an extensive array of tests, and ask owners about their experiences. The top vehicles also have the highest IIHS crash scores.

2023 Subaru Outback
photo credit: Schumacher Subaru

How does the 2023 Subaru Outback 2-Row midsize SUV compare with other top SUVs under $40,000? According to the latest ranking by Consumer Reports, Outback is among the best in its rankings in the 2023 model year 2-Row category. But the Outback slips from second to third place in the updated study.

The five best 2-Row SUVs under $40,000

Consumer Reports says the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback, Toyota Venza, and Ford Edge are the top picks for shoppers this year. Why does the newly-upgraded Outback slip to third place? The Subaru Outback does not offer a hybrid trim level for 2023.

2023 Subaru Outback
photo credit: Schumacher Subaru

The Santa Fe Hybrid is the Consumer Reports choice of this model line in the latest ranking because of its hybrid powertrain. CR singles out its 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder and an electric motor paired with a six-speed automatic and puts out a combined 225 hp. CR says, "This combo gives the Santa Fe plenty of power while remaining relatively quiet in most situations."

When will Subaru give the Outback a new Hybrid powertrain?

Subaru announced last year that 40 percent of its global sales will have some form of electric power by mid-2025 to 2030, and the Japanese automaker has set a target to "sell only electric vehicles" worldwide by the first half of the 2030s. Subaru could use its 1.8-liter turbocharged direct-injection (DIT) engine in the next-generation 2025 Outback. Subaru will couple the small turbocharged engine with hybrid technology they are now developing with Toyota. Stay tuned.

The Outback slips to third place because the Honda CR-V moves up to second overall. The CR-V gets a complete redesign, while the Outback received a refresh for 2023.

What is the 2023 Outback pricing?

The 2023 Outback remains affordable. You will only spend $40,000 on the 2023 Outback if you buy the upper-trim Touring ($41,070). All trim levels come standard will all-drive, which you won't find in all SUVs.

The 2023 Outback now comes in nine trim levels for U.S. customers; the base trim is priced from $29,620, Premium ($31,920), new Onyx Edition with a 2.5-liter engine ($34,720), Limited ($36,520), Touring ($41,070), Outback Wilderness ($39,670), Onyx Edition XT ($39,820), Limited XT ($40,920), and Touring XT ($43,520). Pricing includes $1,225 destination and delivery fees.

What is the best Outback trim level? Check out our complete 2023 Outback trim level and model guide here.

What is the 2023 Outback fuel mileage?

CR's mpg is 16/32 city/highway and 24 combined mpg. The EPA fuel mileage rating of the 2023 Outback XT 2.4-liter turbo is 22/29 city/highway mpg and 25 combined mpg. The estimated fuel economy of the standard 2.5-liter engine is 26/32 mpg city/highway and 28 combined mpg.

The EPA says the 2023 Outback Wilderness gets an estimated 21/26 city/highway mpg and 23 combined mpg.

What sets the Outback apart?

CR says, "The Outback has a reputation as an intelligent alternative to an SUV, and the addition of comfort and convenience features with the 2020 redesign made this wagon even better. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder does the job but can feel strained under stress. The turbocharged 260-hp, 2.4-liter engine transforms the Outback, giving it effortless acceleration. The ride is very comfortable, and the handling is responsive and secure.

Where does the Outback need to improve?

"Some tasks through the large infotainment screen require more than one step, however, "says CR.

In its latest rankings, Consumer Reports says the 2023 Subaru Outback is #2 of thirteen midsize SUVs and the third-best overall among Two-Row SUVs under $40,000 for 2023.

In the link below, shoppers looking for a compact SUV and subcompact SUV this winter can check out the recent list of the 10 best 2023 model year SUVs recommended by Consumer Reports.

You Might Also Like: Two Subaru Models Are Named Consumer Reports 10 Best SUVs For 2023, But You Do Not Want To Buy Them This Year

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: main image Schumacher Subaru

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