Subaru Outback Limited Vs Touring: Which Trim is Right for You?
With wagon sensibilities, SUV styling, and car-like drivability, the Outback is a jack-of-all trades. For the 2023 model year, the mid-size long-roof underwent a significant refresh. It brought forth new stying and new technology. This made an appealing vehicle even more so.
Consumers interested in the Outback have a lot of choice. Currently, there are no fewer than nine different trims to choose from. Two of the most popular are the Limited and Touring, which are also available with a more powerful engine, called the Limited XT and Touring XT. The Limiteds represent the second highest trim levels while the Tourings are the designation reserved for fully loaded Outbacks. To help consumers decide which trim makes the most sense for them, we are comparing the Outback Limited vs Touring, through eight key categories. Read on to see which trim is right for you.
The general look of the Limited and Touring trims are very similar, regardless if they’re the regular versions or the XT. All wear 18-inch alloy wheels, with a two-tone black and silver finish. LED lights are found at all four corners, including the fog lights. The XT models get a dual exhaust set-up for the more powerful turbo engine.SEE ALSO: 2023 Subaru Outback Review: Updating the SUV Anomaly
Where the two vehicles do differ has to do with trim pieces. The Limited has black side mirrors and body colored door handles. The Touring swaps these parts out for satin side mirrors and body colored door handles with a chrome insert. The Limited offers up to nine exterior colors while the Touring is only available in eight colors. Sorry Touring buyers, there’s no Brilliant Bronze.
Inside, there’s a bit more difference between the Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring. The Limited comes equipped with regular leather seating surfaces while the Touring features Nappa leather. The Limited can be had in three color configurations, Slate Black, Warm Ivory, or Titanium Grey. The Touring only comes with two choices, Slate Black and Java Brown.
The Limited model does not come with a moonroof as standard equipped. Without it, the vehicle offers 40.1-inches of headroom for front passengers and 39.1-inches for occupants in the rear. Add the Optional Package to the Limited, and it includes a moonroof. This shrinks front-row headroom to 39.1 inches, which cranium capacity in the rear remains unchanged. The Touring, Limited XT, and Touring XT all include the moonroof as standard equipment.
Legroom lists at 42.8-inches up front and 39.5-inches in the rear for all trims. When it comes to cargo capacity, there’s no difference between the Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring.
Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring: Powertrain
The Limited and the Touring come with a single transmission option and a choice of engines. All models come with Subaru’s continuously variable automatic transmission, which is one of the better such units on the market. The engine in the Limited and Touring is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The Limited XT and Touring XT have a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a more robust 260 hp and 277 lb-ft. of torque.
Of course, power flows to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive set-up. Subaru’s X-Mode system is also equipped on all Limited and Touring trim levels. It helps deliver more traction at low speeds in extra slippery conditions.
Fuel economy figures do not differ between the Limited and Touring trim levels. The 2.5-liter engine’s officially ratings are 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The XT models with the turbocharged engine come in at 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.SEE ALSO: Ford Bronco Sport vs Subaru Outback Wilderness Comparison
Regardless of which engine is selected, both only require 87 octane regular grade gasoline to fill the 18.5 gallon tank.
Cargo and Towing
When comparing the Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring, there’s no difference between trim levels when it comes to towing. It is the engine choice that makes the difference. Vehicles with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder are capable of towing upwards of 2,700 lbs. when properly equipped. The XT models with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine can haul a bit more, rated at 3,500 lbs., once again when properly equipped.
Both trims include a hands-free power rear lift gate. Behind it, the vehicle is able to hold 32.6 cu ft of gear. Fold down the rear seat backs and this expands to 75.6 cu ft.
Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring: Safety
Most of Subaru’s safety equipment comes standard on all versions of the Outback. The Limited and Touring feature EyeSight, which includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and more. The two trims also have high beam assist, blindspot detection, lane change assist, and reverse automatic braking.
Where things differ between the Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring has to do with DriverFocus and the 180 degree front view monitor. DriverFocus comes at no cost on the Touring, Limited XT, and Touring XT. On the Limited, it is part of the Optional Package. The 180 degree front view monitor is an item only found on the Touring trim level of the Outback. It is not an option on any other trim level.
Tech and Features
Both the Limited and Touring trim levels of the Outback come well equipped. They include items like a wiper de-icer, dual power front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Subaru Starlink Services, a 11.6-inch infotainment screen, and a Harmon Kardon audio system.SEE ALSO: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Review: First Drive
A heated steering wheel and in-car navigation are standard on the Touring, Limited XT, and Touring XT. For the regular Limited trim level, these items are once again part of the Optional Package. Exclusive to the Touring and Touring XT models are ventilated front seats with a nappa leather surface. Oh, and only these top trims feature a rarity amongst automobiles these days – a CD player.
The Outback Limited lists at a price of $36,520 (all prices include destination charges). The Optional Package brings the price of the Limited up to $38,580. The Touring with the less powerful engine clocks in at $41,070.
Step up to the turbocharged XT Outback, and the Limited will set one back $40,920. The Touring with the turbocharged powerplant rings in at $43,520.
Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring: Verdict
When comparing the Subaru Outback Limited vs Touring, there isn’t a lot of difference. This isn’t much of a surprise as we are dealing with the two top trim levels in the vehicle lineup. In our opinion, the price increase for the Touring over the Limited isn’t worth it for the extra equipment included. Our pick would be the Limited model, specifically the XT. Priced at less than the Touring with the weaker motor, the Limited XT provides a lot comfort, technology, and power. Those more concerned about fuel economy than power should check out the Limited with the Optional Package as well.
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