Skip to main content

CR’s 6 Best Fuel-Efficient Used 2-Row SUVs, Subaru Outback Is Tight

What sets the 2019 Subaru Outback apart from other SUVs? Consumer Reports' updated list of the top six fuel-efficient 5-year-old SUVs for used car shoppers includes the Subaru Outback. Discover why it's your best mainstream pick now.

The Subaru Outback is stingy.

No one likes to be tight or stingy, but it's a good thing when it comes to an SUV's fuel efficiency. SUVs are typically not the most fuel-efficient models you can buy. But if you are looking for utility, all-wheel drive, and fuel efficiency, check out this report. I will explain why the 2019 Subaru Outback checks a lot of boxes. 

First, an updated report from Consumer Reports (by subscription) emphasizes the reliability of these models, stating that "they are 'reliable and family-friendly but not as bulky as three-row SUVs."

This reassurance of reliability should instill a sense of security in your purchase decision.

The 2019 Subaru Outback is not just any SUV; it's a fuel-efficient choice for used car shoppers. You can read my 2019 Outback fuel efficiency report here for more information. 

Outback tightens it up. 

The Outback is ranked the number one mainstream (non-luxury) choice. Before I explain why, Consumer Reports says the six SUVs listed below are your best picks now because they all have average or better reliability, according to CR's Annual Auto Surveys, which ask Consumer Reports members to tell them what went wrong with their cars.

CR says, "One way you can save money when shopping for an SUV is to focus on 5-year-old used models. That's because they're usually new enough for you to get contemporary features and safety systems wrapped up in a body that's styled a lot like models in a new-car showroom. Yet they're old enough that previous owners have shouldered most of the depreciation. These vehicles typically sell for about half of what they cost when new—or even less."

The list below is the most fuel-efficient midsized SUVs from the 2019 model year. I've listed them in order of their overall fuel economy during their CR tests when new. 

The Best Mainstream 5-year-old SUVs ranked from highest to lowest with the best fuel mileage. 

  1. Subaru Outback - 26 mpg
  2. Nissan Murano - 25 mpg
  3. Hyundai Santa Fe - 24 mpg
  4. Honda Passport - 22 mpg

The Best Luxury 5-year-old 2-Row SUVs 

  1. Lexus RX Hybrid - 29 mpg
  2. Lexus RX - 22 mpg

What does Consumer Reports say about the 2109 Subaru Outback?

  • 2019 Subaru Outback.
  • Price Range: CR says the price range is between $17,175 - $20,375, depending on the trim level and condition.
  • The owner reported mpg is 26 mpg.

CR says, "This generation of Subaru's popular Outback is a more refined SUV than its predecessor. Roomy and spacious, it has a nicely finished interior, and the touchscreen infotainment system is a major improvement. The Outback rides very comfortably, and handling is very responsive and secure." 

"Acceleration from the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the continuously variable transmission is adequate, and we measured 24 mpg overall, beating most midsized SUVs. Even the performance-oriented 3.6R version got a good 22 mpg overall. The standard EyeSight suite of advanced safety gear includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, though blind spot warning was optional."

What is the EPA's 2019 Outback estimated fuel mileage?

The 2019 Outback offers two engine choices. Consumers can opt for the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, which gets an EPA-estimated 25/32 city/highway and 28 combined mpg, or a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer powerplant producing 256 horsepower, which gets an estimated 20/27 city/highway and 22 combined mpg.

For more information on the Outback 3.6R trim level, read my report here

The 2019 Outback checks a lot of boxes.

For the 2019 model year, Outback has six trim levels to choose from.

The 2019 Outback came in Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring with a 2.5-liter engine, and 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring with a six-cylinder engine. For more information about the 2019 Outback when it was new, read my report here.

The Outback gets the top safety crash scores. 

The 2019 Subaru Outback earned the IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ award and five stars from the NHTSA.

Outback's uniqueness sets it apart.

The Outback appeals to a broader audience because it has the driving dynamics of a car yet features the cargo capacity and utility of an SUV. It also has a higher ground clearance (8.7 inches).

The midsize SUV also comes standard with Subaru's excellent Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system for all-weather and severe weather performance. The Outback won't leave you stranded when the roads are snowy, icy, or muddy. 

2019 Outback improvements. 

For the 2019 model year, the Outback featured new interior upgrades. The Base models gained an overhead console shower light and dual front center console USB ports. A high-grade instrument panel with a 5.0-inch LCD was standard for all models. Outback Premium, Limited, and 3.6R Limited models had a new standard auto-dimming rearview compass mirror with Homelink featuring a thin-frame design.

Who should buy it?

The Outback is a versatile choice, perfect for urban adventurers who will use the vehicle for commuting during the week and weekend outdoor excursions. Whether hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, snowboarding, or camping, the 2019 Subaru Outback's go-anywhere attitude and utility make it an excellent fit for various lifestyles, catering to your diverse needs.

It's significant that Consumer Reports says the 2019 Subaru Outback is the best fuel-efficient mainstream 5-year-old 2-Row midsize SUV choice. 

What do you like about it?

Do you have a 2019 Outback? If so, click the red Add New Comment link below and tell readers what you like or dislike about it.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReport, All Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierl, Facebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Lisa (not verified)    July 11, 2024 - 9:15PM

We purchased my 2019 Outback Premium 2.5i over two years ago. I had read it was a really good car with good reports on reliability. Well, my experience is outstanding. My car is a 1 owner vehicle with 88k miles. I now have nearly 110k miles on it and I’m glad to say that I can see myself driving this for many more miles. I love this car. As a realtor, I find it very convenient to carry signs and marketing materials as well as weekly grocery trips, and walking excursions on the weekends. The only thing I could ask is better gas mileage. Maybe a hybrid? No thank you to the Solterra. It’s ugly and does not hold a charge well, from what I’ve heard.
Thank you, Subaru. ❤️