Trucks and SUVs

2023 Best Compact SUV: Subaru Outback

Canadians love compact SUVs, and selecting an overall winner amongst all 2023 model-year options currently available was no easy task.

After an initial round of voting by our panel of more than 20 automotive experts, the Mazda CX-50, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Corolla Cross, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Outback were shortlisted as the best choices in the segment today. Subsequent voting put the finalists against one another, and just one machine emerged as the winner: the 2023 Subaru Outback, which has been voted as the Best Compact SUV in the 2023 AutoTrader Awards.

Covering a price range of about $33,000 to $46,000, the Outback is a highly familiar nameplate with numerous earlier generations having found homes in Canadian driveways. A major consideration in the Outback’s overall win was the way it delivers strongly on key attributes like practicality, value, and ease of use, which are all important to Canadian car shoppers.

The long, wagon-like body and elevated ground clearance set the stage for a flexible and accommodating drive that’s up for virtually any adventure with room to spare. The Outback’s relatively long body enables a lengthier and more flexible cargo hold than many comparable crossovers, and makes the machine especially appealing to dog owners. There’s also a high-capability Wilderness trim ($43,195) that adds a lifted suspension, more rugged cladding and tires, and an assortment of hardware and feature upgrades for the most adventurous drivers.

Engine choices include a 2.5-litre 182-horsepower boxer four-cylinder or a 260-horsepower boxer turbo powerplant in higher-grade models. With a total of seven trims on offer backed by a full arsenal of factory-approved accessories, there’s an Outback for just about any driver and plenty of room to customize.

Strong safety scores from industry authorities and a long list of standard safety equipment provide peace of mind for family-minded drivers. In 2023, safety system offerings have expanded to include emergency automatic steering, lane centring assist, reverse automatic emergency braking, and a distraction mitigation system – each of which builds on core EyeSight safety functionalities that are built for next-level collision prevention.

Add in the familiar combination of proven boxer engines and a robust AWD system, and the Outback easily delivers the efficiency and traction expected of the nameplate.

When it comes to safety, flexibility, practicality, user-friendliness, and familiarity, the Outback is tough to beat. The 2023 Subaru Outback hits hard when it comes to driver satisfaction and it easily accommodates the needs of a busy family without breaking a sweat. The Outback is a proven and familiar SUV that takes the stress and drama out of severe weather driving and off-road exploring.