2016 Subaru Outback vs Toyota Highlander

The 2016 Subaru Outback and the 2015 Toyota Highlander are two of the most inventive and inspired crossovers on the road today. Both provide generous passenger space, modern convenience features, and a swift ride. Before you make a final buying decision, read our side-by-side comparison guide.

2016 Outback vs Toyota Highlander

Power and Performance

With its standard all-wheel drive and optimal fuel economy, the 2016 Subaru Outback is our pick in this important category. The standard 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed boxer four-cylinder generates 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque for an impressive performance. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission for optimal fuel economy, earning an impressive 25 city/33 highway mpg. The standard all-wheel drive gives you greater control over slick roads. If you require greater power, test-drive the Outback 3.6R, which boosts engine output to 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque.

The Toyota Highlander competes well in this category. Its base engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 185 horses and 184 pound-feet of torque. For enhanced performance, check out the 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 270 horses and 248 pound-feet of torque. Choose between standard front- and optional all-wheel drive for optimal traction.

Passenger Comfort

Here the 2016 Subaru Outback has the edge. Its clean-cut interior is both practical and supremely comfortable. Up front, you’ll enjoy generous padding and support during your daily ride. The rear seat is big on head- and legroom. Behind the rear seats, you can fill 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space with your favorite Sunday fun day gear. Use the fold-down levers for easy access to 73.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.

Of course, the Toyota Highlander puts up a good fight. In addition to its roomy front and middle rows, the Highlander adds a third row that’s great for kids. From behind the wheel, you’ll enjoy modern ergonomics and easy access to important controls. Niceties like leather upholstery set a stylish tone. Fold down the rear seats to create 83.7 cubes of max cargo space – perfect for ferrying large items.

Modern Convenience

When it comes to modern technology, the Highlander is our pick. The driver voice amplification feature makes it easy to communicate with passengers in the rear seats. Use the 110-volt power outlet to keep devices fully charged on the go. The Entune infotainment system is easy to use and offers handy apps and smartphone integration.

The 2016 Subaru Outback is also big on high-tech features. Its Starlink infotainment interface is intuitive and responsive, keeping you connected from anywhere. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity means you can make hands-free calls. The Harman Kardon stereo system enhances your favorite Internet radio stations with its crystal-clear sound


Both models deliver excellent passenger standards in passenger protection, but the 2016 Subaru Outback takes the lead. In government crash tests, it earned a perfect five-star rating for overall protection. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the Outback its top score of “Good.” Advanced safety technology – including lane-departure warning – scans surrounding areas and alerts you to potential danger. The new EyeSight driver assist technology can detect pedestrians, helping you maintain optimal safety at night.

The Toyota Highlander isn’t far behind. It also earned similar safety scores and offers high-tech systems, including rear cross-traffic alert. Like the Outback, the Highlander comes standard with a long list of items to help you maintain authority over difficult weather conditions, such as antilock disc brakes and traction and stability control.

Learn More about the Subaru Outback

Although both the 2016 Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander crossovers have plenty of appeal, we favor the Outback overall. Its cabin is comfortable and spacious – perfect for your big family or a pack of friends. Modern gadgets help keep you connected and protected. The Outback’s engine options supply plenty of power for a swift, comfortable trip. Come in and test drive the Outback today!