The 2019 Subaru Outback is a very popular crossover known for its customer satisfaction, top safety ratings, affordability, and overall utility. It's popular with families, and outdoorsy people - especially skiers and snowboarders - love it for its usefulness in transporting equipment and its confidence in winter weather. One of the biggest competitors of the Outback is the Toyota Highlander, a crossover of similar size offering similar standard features that also attracts the family market. We'll compare these two vehicles' major points below.

Overview: 2019 Outback vs. 2019 Highlander

Both of these CUVs boast high driver satisfaction along with exceptional resale value, but the most significant difference is that the base MSRP of the 2019 Subaru Outback is about $5,000 less than the base MSRP of the 2019 Toyota Highlander. Another major differentiator is that all Outbacks come standard with Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, while AWD must be added on to the Highlander at an even higher price tag.

The two crossovers have similar safety credentials, although the Outback is rated as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, with that plus sign indicating a level just above the standard Top Safety Pick, which the Highlander has earned. Both vehicles are available with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine, with the Toyota eking out about 10 hp more with the base engine (while consuming more fuel). The Outback wins when it comes to fuel efficiency, with its smaller engine getting up to 25 mpg around town and 32 mpg on the highway, compared to the Highlander's highs of 20 city and 27 highway. The Outback also offers a bit more ground clearance, with its 8.7 inches versus the Highlander's 8 inches.

Safety Features

Both the Outback and the Highlander come with a backup camera and their manufacturer's proprietary package of crash-mitigating active safety features: the Subaru's EyeSight and Toyota Safety Sense, respectively. EyeSight, so named because it gives Subaru drivers "an extra set of eyes," bundles pre-collision throttle management and braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keeping assist. The '19 Outback has also earned distinction as an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+, the IIHS's top honor. Toyota Safety Sense also includes a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, and dynamic cruise control, but the Highlander is rated one level below the Outback on the IIHS safety scale.

Passenger and Cargo Space

The Subaru Outback seats five passengers, with a dedicated space for cargo behind the second row. The Toyota Highlander can seat either seven or eight, depending on whether it's equipped with a second-row bench seat for three or a pair of captain's chairs. However, if the captain's chairs are opted for and the third row is needed for cargo, then the Highlander will only fit four passengers. While the Highlander is nearly 3 inches longer than the Outback, the Outback is 3.4 inches wider than the Highlander.

Some amenities that are either standard or optional on the base trim of the Outback yet are not available on the Highlander base trim are SiriusXM satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an electronic parking brake.


  • Monday 10:00AM-7:00PM
  • Tuesday 10:00AM-7:00PM
  • Wednesday 10:00AM-7:00PM
  • Thursday 10:00AM-7:00PM
  • Friday 10:00AM-7:00PM
  • Saturday 9:00AM-6:00PM
  • Sunday Closed

Balise Subaru

561 Quaker Lane
Directions West Warwick, RI 02893

  • Sales: 401-287-2921
  • Service: 401-780-3492
  • Parts: 401-780-3491