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  5. 2020 Subaru Outback vs. 2019 Honda Passport

John Coyle | Sep 18, 2019

In this corner, we have the 2020 Subaru Outback. While it doesn't looks drastically different, the company's famous go-anywhere wagon is fully redesigned for 2020. 

Next, we have the 2019 Honda Passport. While the first Passports were rebadged Isuzus, the latest generation is a Honda through and through, and it's all new for 2019.  

Both the Subaru and Honda are excellent choices for folks with an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. So let's take a look at the engines, cabins, infotainment, and price to determine a winner.


First, let’s look at the powertrains. The Subaru comes standard with a 2.5-liter flat-four engine good for 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. Those looking for a little more poke can opt for a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four, which pumps out 260-horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come mated to a CVT transmission that sends power to all four corners via Subaru’s famed all-wheel drive system. The standard mill delivers 26 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway, while the turbo unit comes in at 23 city, 30 highway.

In comparison, the Passport offers a single engine. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and it’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is a $1900 option. In front-wheel drive spec, the Passport is EPA-rated at 20 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway. With all-wheel drive, there’s a slight drop, to 19 city, 24 highway.

While you have to spring for all-wheel drive in the Honda, we like that all models come with a powerful engine and traditional automatic, so we’re going to give it the win here.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory

Cabin Interiors

Now, let’s look inside the cabin. Subaru doesn’t have a luxury line, so the company has sought to give all its interiors a premium feel, and the Outback delivers. The redesigned dashboard is has plenty of angles and details, but avoids looking busy, and all the touchpoints and switches feel high quality. The large touchscreen at the center is well integrated, and neatly framed by buttons and dials for the radio and climate controls. Behind the rear seats, there’s 32.5 cubic-feet of cargo space, and if you fold them down, that jumps to 75.7 cubic feet.

The cabin of the Passport is also a nice place to be. The seats are exceptionally comfortable, the high stance provides great visibility, and there’s plenty of room, even for rear passengers. Soft-touch materials abound, the under-floor storage in the cargo area is handy, and everything reflects Honda’s rock solid build quality. Since the Passport is a mid-size SUV, cargo space is better, with 41.2 cubic-feet behind the rear seats, which expands to 77.9 with them folded.

While the Subaru doesn’t have quite as much storage, we liked the upscale feel of the redesign, so it takes the win here.

Shop Honda Passport Inventory

Infotainment Systems

In the minds of buyers, infotainment tech is more important than ever, and we liked the setup in the Subaru, Base models come with a seven-inch display, but tech-savvy buyers will want to spring for the 11.6-inch display, which as well as being intuitive and quick-responding, looks fantastic. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as are Bluetooth, HD radio compatibility, and over-the-air software updates. Audiophiles will also appreciate the available Harman Kardon audio system.

In the Passport, the standard infotainment system comes with a five-inch display, but buyers can upgrade to an eight-inch touchscreen. The interface is easy to use, and the combination of onscreen controls and physical buttons makes it easy to quickly make selections. While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t standard, they’re available on upper trim levels, along with options like a WiFi hotspot, a 10-speaker audio system, and HD radio.

While we think both systems will be able to meet the needs of buyers in the segment, we think the beautiful packaging and more robust list of standard features gives the Outback the win here.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory


Now it’s time to talk safety. Since the Outback is a brand-new model, it’s yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But it’s worth noting that the 2019 model passed its battery of tests with flying colors, and earned a Five Star overall safety rating. It also comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight technology, which includes adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, pre-collision braking, and pre-collision throttle management.

The Passport also earned a Five Star crash rating, and comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech. It includes collision-mitigation braking, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist, and traffic sign recognition.

So with that in mind, we’re going to call this a draw, as both vehicles are well equipped to keep you safe on the road.

Shop Honda Passport Inventory

Value and Price

Now, it’s time to talk price. The base Outback starts at $26,645, and the range-topping Touring trim will start at $37,345.

The Passport starts at $31,990 and top-spec Elite models will start at $43,680.

Overall, this is a close contest. But while we like the Honda’s storage, power, and traditional ten-speed auto, we think the Subaru’s standard all-wheel drive, great infotainment system, and better handling win the day.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory
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**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.