Subaru Outback Touring XT Stays on Course in 2024

Tom Crosby
| January 12, 2024 | 3 Minute Read
A black 2024 Subaru Outback Touring XT Tom Crosby

The Subaru Outback has been around since 1994 and is the Japanese automaker’s best-selling vehicle. The model has no major changes for 2024 as it nears the end of its sixth generation.

No longer the biggest Subaru built, Outback lost its title to the seven- to eight-passenger full-size Ascent SUV in 2019—sharing the same 2.4-liter engine and 11.6-inch dashboard touchscreen as the less expensive Outback XT—both fully loaded.

The Subaru brand won top rating awards from numerous auto industry rating companies in 2023 for such things as Quality for the Price, Social Impact, Product Quality, Top Crash Safety and Customer Satisfaction. Subaru claims 96% of its vehicles are still on the road after 10 years.

Our test vehicle

Our test drive was the Outback Touring XT/RDL, the top of nine trims thanks to its off- and on-road mastery, extensive cargo area, robust 2.4-liter turbo Boxer engine, luxurious interior, all-wheel drive, superior resale value and reliability.

The vehicle provided a comfortable on-road ride during a six-hour, 400-mile trip, averaging 28 miles per gallon with regular gas and using the smoothly functional, continuously variable transmission with manual paddles.

Standard option 41 added numerous features folded into the MSRP, with only $141 added on top for floor liners.

With seating for five and the profile of a wagon, Subaru refers to this Outback as an all-wheel mid-size SUV; EPA classifies it only as a small SUV.

For 2024, the Outback XT added 1.4 inches of extra leg room for reclining second row seats and folded some previous minor options into standard status.

The sleek profile of our Outback Touring kept chrome window surround on a slightly rising beltline, lower body cladding with protection around the slightly modified front fascia, high wheel arches and versatile roof rails that can be arranged horizontally for extra luggage. Towing muscle remains at 3,500 pounds, when equipped, and ground clearance is 8.7 inches.

X-mode aids mild off-roading, using symmetrical all-wheel drive to react to conditions like snow, mud, gravel and ruts, with a separate selection adding hill descent control.

The test drive

Behind the wheel, this two-ton vehicle was a pleasure to drive, hugging curves, oozing confidence on rainy roads and adjusted torque, wheel spin and power as needed on and off road.  

Handling was solid, with Active Torque Vectoring and Vehicle Dynamics Control riding on 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires. A temporary spare is included.

Subaru’s vaunted Eyesight lists 33 safety features and remains cutting edge. Lane alerts and centering worked well. Voice recognition, however, was spotty, requiring repeated requests and sometimes having to manually write addresses.

A stop/start feature was jerky and ends when the engine is turned on; it needs to be turned off when the engine starts or kept active to gain an extra mile or so per gallon.

The Outback XT interior

The cabin is nicely sized with quality materials, leather-trimmed upholstery, comfortable ventilated heated/cooled front seats and heated rear seats, silver trim around the center spine and gear shifter, upper padding on doors, and lots of stitching to improve the overall ambiance.

The sizable dashboard touchscreen dominates the interior and basically controls most of the vehicle features, some of which seem overly complicated and somewhat distracting while driving. For safety, it’s best to use it when stopped.

Skipping the touchscreen, voice commands for audio and climate controls responded well.

The glove compartment was lined, while small storage spaces were sparse, with ports for electric devices located beneath the touchscreen.

Underway, the cabin was quiet, and the 12-speaker Harmon/Kardon audio sharp and clear.

A hand gesture raises the liftgate when the key fob is nearby. The large cargo area has a retractable cover, with rear seats folding 60/40 automatically.

And for those wondering what XT/RDL means in the model’s name, XT simply means turbo, and RDL is a dealership code for delivery.

Overall review

LIKES: Engine power, off-road capability, on-road ride, spacious cabin/cargo area, mpg, spare tire, visibility, value

DISLIKES: No complimentary maintenance, spotty voice recognition, touchscreen can be distracting

BOTTOM LINE: There are safety, quality, value and customer satisfaction reasons why Subaru wins industry plaudits

Car fact file


        2024 Subaru Outback Touring XT/RDL         

    Base Price                     $44,090 ($44,231 as tested)
    Curb Weight       3,946 lbs. 
    Wheelbase      108.1 inches
    Length       191.1 inches
    Width       82 inches
    Engine Specs      2.4-liter turbo, 4-cylinder boxer, DOHC                              
    Horsepower      260 hp @ 5,600 rpm
    Torque      277 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
    Transmission      High torque, continuous variable Lineatronic®
    EPA Rating       22 mpg city | 29 mpg hwy
    Range       18.5-gallon tank, regular
    Performance       0-60 in just over 6 seconds

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