Still undecided about which midsize SUV you want for 2020? Here’s what makes the Honda Passport and Subaru Outback two top choices for families

You’ve probably scoured the auto market for detailed info on popular midsize SUVs and crossovers and if you’re interested in driving home a fuel-efficient 2020 sport utility vehicle, you’ve probably narrowed your options down to the Subaru Outback or the Honda Passport. But which midsize SUV is best for kicking off the new decade for your growing family?

No doubt that some of the leading sport utility models in 2020 have third-row seating, but if you want more interior cargo because your small family needs the space for piling in their gear, both the Outback and Passport offer spacious rear cargo areas as well as opportunity for rooftop rack attachments and luggage carriers. However, there are some differences between the two when shopping across all the offered trim level options.


For drivers on a budget, Subaru Outback is a more affordable vehicle across all trims. With an MSRP starting at $26,645, the top trim for the Outback is the Onyx Edition XT at a starting price of $34,895. For the amenities Subaru provides (all-wheel-drive, for one) you receive an abundance for your money. 

Buyers will pay more for the Honda Passport, essentially because it is classified as an SUV, rather than a crossover SUV (which, in the Subaru Outback’s case, is a combination of an SUV frame with a sedan/hatchback body style). If you have yet to drive both vehicles, you will see and feel a difference in power and interior space between the Honda Passport and Outback. The base level trim of the Honda Passport starts at $31,990 and for the top tier Elite option, $43,780. Is paying more for the Honda Passport worth it? Here are the details.

Engine capability & fuel economy

Though the Subaru Outback comes standard with the Subaru Symmetrical all-wheel drivetrain, the basic 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer four-cylinder engine, it receives 26 MPG highway and 33 MPG highway. The Subaru Outback will get you to work and back without burning a hole in your pocket and it goes above and beyond on fuel efficiency when taking on long-distance road trips. 

If you plan on pulling a small trailer, boat, or jet ski, the Outback offers up to 2,500-lbs of towing capability which is plenty of power for the small stuff. However, if you plan on pulling a pontoon boat or camper, the Honda Passport will suit your needs better.

The Honda Passport comes standard with 280-horsepower V6 engine with a towing capacity capable of 5,000-lbs when properly equipped with all-wheel drive. For drivers who frequently drive through hilly landscapes, a stronger engine is always better for torque that will help you up hill. Though the Honda receives lower miles per gallon, having the extra power for towing and climbing is helpful in loose gravel scenarios.

The all-wheel drive and hill-ascent and hill-descent assist adds additional traction to make up for the Outback’s smaller engine.

Passenger & cargo space

Every car buyer’s main priority before buying an SUV is fitting in the family and feeling comfortable throughout every commute. With plenty of practicality for the weekend or school days, your decision could change after one test drive. 

The Honda Passport is bolder inside and out. Compared to the hatchback sedan shape of the Subaru Outback, the Honda Passport provides a total of 114.9 cubic feet of passenger space and 50.5 cubic feet of Cargo volume. The Outback holds 109 cubic feet of passenger space and 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space which is plenty. 

The Subaru Outback may be a tighter fit. Still, there’s a reason why rooftop luggage racks for Subaru are popular. If you require storage containers or vehicle roof accessories, Subaru crossovers are simple and fun to customize. 

Depending on the trim option you choose in either vehicle, pick from plenty of leather interior options. Heated seating is available on select models. With more passenger space, the Honda Passport is more roomy compared to the smaller sized Outback.

Technology & safety

Subaru holds a reputation for excellent safety technology  and standard features that are compatible with both Apple and Android phones. It’s a tough comparison when up against Honda tech interfaces because it also promotes smartphone connectivity. Wireless phone charging for the Honda is available but is not yet for the Subaru. The Subaru Starlink App is cable connected for the 2020 Outback. Bluetooth audio offers hands-free connectivity and convenience.

Subaru offers a 11.6-inch vertical Multimedia touchscreen with premium audio and a multitude of apps.

The Honda Passport holds a less-appealing touchscreen interface with its horizontal display. But all-in-all, the system is user-friendly and practical for new and seasoned drivers.

Are these midsize SUVs equal? It depends

Subaru Outback

subaru outback midsize suv

Both of these midsize SUV options are equipped for family camping adventures and the daily errand runs around town. If you’ve never driven an SUV but want a crossover that can take on dirt trails, the Subaru Outback is it. It’s equipped with the essentials for safety plus slightly more polished tech, minus the choice for wireless charging.

Honda Passport 

honda passport

If you want more power and boldness with the larger exterior of a midsize SUV, the Honda Passport is a top contender for models in its class. It’s equipped with stylish black-painted wheels and innovative safety features. This means a Collision Mitigation Braking System and Road Departure Mitigation System. The spacious interior and wide cargo space are top selling points for this SUV.

Check out other Subaru model reviews like the new Subaru Forester to learn more about the latest SUVs for 2020.

Patrick Kirk
I am a full-time copywriter from Naples, FL and living in Austin, TX. I have written for the automotive industry for three years, and enjoy other hobbies such as camping and mountain biking. I received my Bachelors from Florida Gulf Coast University, and served in the U.S Coast Guard.

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    1. I prefer the look of the Passport, yet the Outback seemed to come out on top for most of the specs I would be looking into. That is a toughy for me. It’s hard not to want to go for the one you think looks better. But the Outback’s technology package and smaller frame is definitely more appealing to me. This one will have to be a toss up.

    2. Something about the Subaru just speaks to me. 🙂

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