Skip to main content

CR's 8 Best SUVs Under $40,000 - Why The 2023 Subaru Outback Slips To 2nd

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


Why is the 2023 Subaru Outback ranked one of the best SUVs under $40,000 by Consumer Reports? Consumer Reports (by subscription) top eight SUVs list includes models they own, test drive for thousands of miles, put it through an extensive array of tests, and ask owners about their experiences. The top vehicles also have the highest IIHS crash scores.

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

2023 Subaru Outback

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

Consumer Reports says the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, Subaru Outback, Toyota Venza, and Ford Edge are the top picks for shoppers this winter. Why does the newly-redesigned Outback slip to second place? The Subaru Outback does not offer a hybrid trim level.

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.”

2023 Subaru Outback

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 four best 3-Row SUVs under $40,000

The best 3-Row SUVs, according to Consumer Reports, are the Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Palisade, and Chevrolet Traverse. Where does the 2023 Subaru Ascent rank?

Please Read: The 2023 Subaru Ascent Is Now A Consumer Reports Most-Improved Model In Reliability

What sets the 2022 Outback apart?

CR says, "The Outback has a reputation as a smart 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.

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.

Are there still 2023 Outback inventory shortages?

Because of the supply chain shortages, Subaru of America has a limited inventory of models like the 2023 Subaru Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek. Subaru says they expect inventory to improve next year. Check with your local retailer for more information.

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

In the link below, shoppers looking for a compact SUV can check out the latest list of the best 2023 model year SUVs under $30,000.

You Might Also Like: CR’s 6 Best SUVs Under $30K - Subaru Forester Is Now 1st, Crosstrek 3rd

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.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru USA