To date, we’ve offered you a approved affluence of Camry alternatives, from the underrated Nissan Frontier to the able Subaru WRX, with a few Honda Accords (the adventurous Accord Sport 2.0T, the base-model Accord LX, and the fuel-saving Accord Hybrid), the absorbing Hyundai Kona Electric, and a fun-to-drive Chevrolet Camaro Turbo in between. Today, however, we cull out the stops and advance the best the 2020 Toyota Camry has to action to do action with the 2021 Subaru Outback XT Onyx Edition.
Loyal readers will anamnesis the Onyx Edition Outback XT was amid our best contempo Automobile All-Stars contenders, and admitting I was in the minority, I ranked it amid my acceptable picks. It’s not aloof a acceptable Camry alternative, it’s an awfully acceptable car, period. And by opting for the Onyx Edition on the Outback XT, you can get a lot of go-anywhere fun and action for your $37,000 and change.
But afore we get into the specifics, let’s get into the specs:
Surprised the Camry is the added big-ticket of the two? To be fair, we didn’t baddest the absolute priciest brand of Subaru Outback XT, as the Onyx Edition pairs bigger aesthetics with accomplished value—so abounding so that we threw metal engine-and-differential aegis plates, and a accomplished set of all-weather mats and accompanying accessories, into our as-configured price.
First up, the blueprint blueprint seems to advance alloyed messages; the 2020 Camry XSE V6 offers appreciably added aiguille horsepower, it’s quicker to 60 mph, and it weighs about 300 pounds beneath than the 2021 Subaru Outback XT Onyx Edition. Yet, somehow both cars get functionally identical gas mileage. And authority on—the Outback XT’s torque amount is not aloof 10 lb-ft stronger than the Camry XSE V6’s, but it’s additionally accessible beyond a advanced plateau rather than at a distinct peak. What, exactly, is activity on here?
It’s not absolutely all in the numbers, it turns out—or at atomic not explicitly. While the Camry’s 301-horsepower aiguille wrangles 41 added horses than the Outback XT’s 260-horse show, the Subaru’s abounding and always-on-tap torque absolute about makes up for both its ability arrears and its 300-pound weight disadvantage—the Camry alone wins the 0-60-mph birr by 0.3 second. There’s accession blueprint that has some address here, too, but it’s not on the chart: manual types.
While the Camry XSE V6 uses a accustomed and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, the Outback XT gets Subaru’s added all-over continuously capricious manual (CVT). We’ve justifiably levied complaints at some added CVT-equipped cars, but the Outback XT’s CVT is mostly unnoticeable—thanks, in part, to the advanced torque band, which lets the CVT advance the car at a acceptable clip in best situations after accepting to rev up to ability a artlessly aspirated ability peak, thereby mostly alienated the all-too-familiar loud dawdling agent agenda of a archetypal baby four-cylinder agent commutual with a CVT.
It should appear as no abruptness that these nearly-$40,000 upmarket specials appear adequately able-bodied loaded with appearance and equipment. These days, that about agency tech appearance and multimedia accessories aboriginal and foremost, and neither car disappoints. The 2020 Camry XSE V6’s 10-inch head-up affectation (HUD) is both futuristic-feeling and functional, presenting advice alongside your appearance of the road, rather than demography your absorption elsewhere.
The Outback XT doesn’t action a HUD at any price, unfortunately. But you won’t absence the HUD too abounding with the 11.6-inch, high-mounted, portrait-oriented centermost affectation aural accessible reach. Bluetooth audio and handsfree? Check. Same with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus, the Subaru offers NFC advice for accordant electronics. Fixing the weakest allotment of the autogenous of every avant-garde Subaru, the accepted Starlink infotainment arrangement (a name additionally acclimated for the subscription-based, chip safety-telematics suite) is accessible to use, quick, and effective. It’s still not the best admirable awning or user interface architecture on the market, but it apparel the Outback XT and Subaru’s (and the buyer’s) accepted alternative for functionality over form.
The Camry’s Aeronautics Package (bundled with the $2,790 Driver Assistance Package with Options) brings an 8.0-inch touchscreen, in acceptable mural orientation, and has the USB ports and Bluetoothing you’d expect, additional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as able-bodied as a three-month cable to Sirius XM and a balloon cable to Toyota’s assorted alien safety-assistance systems.
It’s not all about the tunes and the navigation, is it? Sometimes you appetite a car not aloof to get somewhere, but to do article with, and that frequently agency accepting abroad from paved roads, whether you’re abundance biking, camping, hiking, or aloof sightseeing. You could footfall bottomward a few trim levels (and lose a brace of cylinders) for an all-wheel-drive Camry, but you’re of an age area you feel like you shouldn’t accept to skimp to get what you want—and Subaru agrees.
In adverse to the 2020 Toyota Camry XSE V6’s 5.7-inches of arena approval and front-wheel drive, the 2021 Subaru Outback XT Onyx Edition offers 8.6 inches of arena clearance, abiding all-wheel drive, and a 3,500-pound tow rating. Oh, and it offers added than alert as abounding burden amplitude alike if you ample every bench with a person. If you accumulate the bodies in the advanced row, the Outback XT Onyx offers up to 75.7-cubic-feet of burden amplitude with the rear seats laid flat. Take the wagon anatomy agency into account, and it’s abounding easier to get ample items into and out of the Subaru, too. And you haven’t alike gotten to the hitch, which, in accession to actuality a accessible abode to put a arbor to supplement the accepted roof rails, additionally has abundant towing accommodation to cull an absolute trailer—think bicycles, clay bikes, a jet ski (or two), a baby sports car, or alike a camping trailer—all are aural reach.
Oh, and by the way, the Subaru is about $1,600 cheaper than the Camry. Do I alike charge to say it this time? For acceptable measure: If you’re attractive for a comfortable, quick, well-equipped car that’s accessible to get into and out of, accessible for annihilation you can bandy at it, and not too adamantine on the wallet, you’d be adamantine apprenticed to do bigger than the Subaru Outback XT Onyx Edition.
Gallery: 2021 Kia Stinger facelift (motor1)