The automotive world is abuzz with excitement as the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander hit the streets, each vying for the title of the ultimate family SUV. With a plethora of features, impressive performance, and striking design, both vehicles have a lot to offer.
In this article, we’ll delve into a comprehensive comparison of these two SUVs, exploring their strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed decision about which one is the perfect fit for you and your family.
When it comes to exterior design, both the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander boast modern and eye-catching aesthetics. The Outback has a rugged yet sleek appearance, with a high ground clearance and protective cladding that adds to its off-road capabilities. Its signature hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights give it a distinctive front fascia.
In contrast, the Highlander exudes a more upscale vibe, with its bold front grille, sharp angles, and flowing lines. The Highlander’s LED headlights and taillights add to its striking design, making it stand out on the road.
Inside, the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander offer comfortable and well-appointed cabins. The Outback features a clean and functional layout, with an emphasis on high-quality materials and ergonomics. Its infotainment system is housed within a large, tablet-like touchscreen that is easy to use and responsive.
The Highlander’s interior design leans more towards luxury, with soft-touch materials and elegant accents throughout. Its dashboard is dominated by a large touchscreen infotainment system, which is user-friendly and seamlessly integrated into the design. Both vehicles offer a range of modern amenities and connectivity features, ensuring a pleasant driving experience.
In terms of seating, the 2023 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger SUV with ample room for all occupants. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, with available power adjustments and heating/ventilation options. Rear passengers enjoy generous legroom and headroom, making the Outback a suitable choice for families.
The Toyota Highlander, on the other hand, is a three-row SUV with seating for up to eight passengers. Its front and second-row seats are comfortable and spacious, while the third row is best suited for smaller passengers or short trips. With optional captain’s chairs, the Highlander can seat seven passengers, offering a more premium experience.
When it comes to storage, both the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander provide ample cargo space. The Outback offers 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 75.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Its low load floor and wide opening make loading and unloading items easy.
The Highlander features 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, which increases to 48.4 cubic feet when the third row is folded down. With both the second and third rows folded, the Highlander offers a total of 84.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
Under the hood, the 2023 Subaru Outback is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is also available, offering 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive.
The Toyota Highlander comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option.
Additionally, the Highlander is available as a hybrid, which combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 243 horsepower. The hybrid model comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive.
Fuel efficiency is an important factor for many SUV buyers, and both the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander offer competitive numbers in this area. The Outback’s base 2.5-liter engine achieves an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. The more powerful turbocharged engine offers 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
The Highlander’s V6 engine delivers an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive model, with slightly lower numbers for the all-wheel-drive version. The Highlander Hybrid stands out in this category, achieving an impressive EPA-estimated 36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.
Both the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander come equipped with a wide range of advanced safety features designed to keep drivers and passengers safe on the road. The Outback’s standard safety features include Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which consists of adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, pre-collision braking, and more. Additional optional safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.
The Highlander comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and more. Optional safety features for the Highlander include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
The 2023 Subaru Outback is available in multiple trim levels, including Base, Premium, Limited, Onyx Edition XT, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Touring XT. Each trim offers a different combination of features and options, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets.
The Toyota Highlander is offered in various trim levels as well, such as L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. Each trim comes with its unique set of standard features and available options, allowing buyers to customize their Highlander to fit their specific needs and taste.
Pricing is an essential factor when choosing a new vehicle, and both the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander offer competitive starting prices. The base Subaru Outback has a starting price of around $27,000, while the higher-end trims can reach up to $40,000.
The Toyota Highlander has a higher starting price, with the base L trim starting at around $35,000. Higher-end trims, such as the Platinum, can reach up to $50,000. The Highlander Hybrid’s starting price is around $39,000, with the top-of-the-line Hybrid Platinum priced at approximately $52,000.
The Subaru Outback is a two-row SUV with seating for up to five passengers, making it suitable for small families or those who do not require extra seating. The Toyota Highlander, on the other hand, is a three-row SUV that can accommodate up to eight passengers, offering a more spacious and versatile cabin for larger families or groups.
While both vehicles offer ample cargo space, the Outback has a lower load floor and a wider opening, making it easier to load and unload items. The Highlander, however, provides more overall cargo space when both the second and third rows are folded down.
The Outback comes standard with a four-cylinder engine and offers a more powerful turbocharged option. The Highlander features a standard V6 engine, providing more horsepower and torque, as well as an available hybrid powertrain for improved fuel efficiency.
Fuel Efficiency: The base Subaru Outback offers better fuel efficiency than the V6-powered Toyota Highlander. However, the Highlander Hybrid stands out with its impressive EPA-estimated fuel economy figures, making it an excellent option for those prioritizing efficiency.
The base Subaru Outback has a lower starting price than the Toyota Highlander, making it a more budget-friendly option. However, both vehicles offer a range of trim levels and optional features that can significantly affect the final price.
After comparing the 2023 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander across various aspects, it’s clear that both vehicles have their unique merits. The Outback’s rugged design, standard all-wheel drive, and fuel efficiency make it a fantastic choice for adventure enthusiasts, while the Highlander’s luxurious interior, larger seating capacity, and available hybrid option cater to those in search of comfort and versatility. Ultimately, the choice between these two capable SUVs depends on individual preferences, needs, and budget. Take the time to explore each vehicle and test drive both to ensure that you find the perfect SUV to suit your lifestyle.
- Exterior Design:
- Rugged, adventurous aesthetic
- High ground clearance for off-road capability
- Signature hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights
- Interior Design:
- Clean, functional layout
- High-quality materials and ergonomics
- Large, tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system
- Two-row, five-passenger capacity
- Supportive and comfortable front seats with available power adjustments
- Generous rear legroom and headroom
- 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind rear seats
- 75.7 cubic feet with rear seats folded down
- Low load floor and wide opening for easy loading
- Standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque)
- Optional turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque)
- Continuously variable transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive
- Fuel Efficiency:
- Base engine: EPA-estimated 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway
- Turbocharged engine: EPA-estimated 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway
- Standard Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
- Optional blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking
- Trim Levels:
- Base, Premium, Limited, Onyx Edition XT, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Touring XT
- Starting price around $27,000
- Higher-end trims up to $40,000
- Exterior Design:
- Refined, luxurious aesthetic
- Bold front grille, sharp angles, and flowing lines
- Striking LED headlights and taillights
- Interior Design:
- Upscale, elegant cabin
- Soft-touch materials and stylish accents
- Large touchscreen infotainment system
- Three-row, up to eight-passenger capacity
- Comfortable and spacious front and second-row seats
- Optional captain’s chairs for seven-passenger seating
- 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind third row
- 48.4 cubic feet with third row folded down
- 84.3 cubic feet with both second and third rows folded down
- Standard 3.5-liter V6 engine (295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque)
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Available hybrid powertrain (2.5-liter four-cylinder engine + two electric motors, 243 hp combined)
- Fuel Efficiency:
- V6 engine: EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway (FWD), slightly lower for AWD
- Hybrid model: EPA-estimated 36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway
- Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+
- Optional blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front/rear parking sensors
- Trim Levels:
- L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum
- Starting price around $35,000
- Higher-end trims up to $50,000