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2024 Subaru Outback Onyx Review: Fancy-Pants Wagon

2024 Subaru Outback Onyx | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Derek Boshouwers
The qualities of a Subaru and of a wagon, in a spiffier package

•   Auto123 reviews the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx.

What’s in an Onyx?
To be clear: The Onyx edition of Subaru’s Outback wagon doesn’t deliver any performance upgrades. First introduced for the 2023 model-year, it’s strictly an appearance package, but then what’s wrong with putting a ribbon or two on your AWD weekend-warrior-mobile if that’s what strikes your fancy?

2024 Subaru Outback Onyx grey
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx grey | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The Outback Onyx gets most of the features of the Touring model, such as the larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Also included are heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and inductive charging for smartphones. Under the hood, however, we find the smaller 2.5L engine, rather than the 2.4L turbo of the range’s higher-end models.

Unique features found in the model include:

- all-weather seating surfaces
- alloy pedals
- sharp black interior accents
- darker exterior badging
- hands-free power liftgate
- LED headlights, lights and fog lights

The all-new 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx
The all-new 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Pricing of the 2024 Subaru Outback

The Onyx sits on the third rung from the bottom of the Outback lineup. The base Convenience model gets the ball rolling, then we have the Touring, our Onyx and the Limited. Above that sit the Wilderness, Limited XT and finally the Premier XT. Here’s the pricing structure for the Outback for 2024:

- 2024 Outback Convenience – MSRP $33,995 CAD
- 2024 Outback Touring – MSRP $38,295 
- 2024 Outback Onyx – MSRP $40,595 
- 2024 Outback Limited – MSRP $42,295 
- 2024 Outback Wilderness – MSRP $44,795 
- 2024 Outback Limited XT – MSRP $45,295 
- 2024 Outback Premier XT – MSRP $47,395 

The interior of the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx
The interior of the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Interior of the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx

This might not sit high in the pecking order of the lineup, but you do get a fairly generous amount of equipment. As mentioned earlier, you have the dual-zone a/c, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, wireless access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and inductive smartphone charging. Beyond that, both rows of seats provide more than acceptable comfort, and behind them there is a vast cargo area, giving you 920 litres of usable space (2,144 litres with the back seats down).

The 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx multimedia screen
The 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx multimedia screen | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The multimedia screen departs from the usual with its blocky, sort-of-vertical form, and for some reason whenever I drive a Subaru I dwell too much on the purple-ness (or overall primary colour feel) of the display. But no matter, the display is large and the system fairly intuitive to use.

2024 Subaru Outback Onyx put to the test
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx put to the test | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Powertrain of the 2024 Subaru Outback

The model’s base engine, which is what powers the Onyx trim, is a 2.5L 4-cylinder good for 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque working with Subaru’s continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is not a setup that promises a sporty driving experience, but that’s not primarily what the Outback is about anyways.

Official fuel consumption ratings for this model with this powertrain are 9.2L/100 km city, 7.3L/100 km highway and 8.3L/100 km combined.

For comparison, higher trims of the 2024 Outback, for instance the Wilderness trim, get a 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which delivers 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, again with that CVT.

Exterior design of the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx
Exterior design of the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Driving the 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx

As mentioned, this is not exactly a sporty vehicle, in terms of performance and excitement. But it is sporty in the sense it’s great fit for outdoors enthusiasts. Weekend warriors count the reassuring all-wheel drive, convenient wagon format and decently rugged exterior elements for more than on-road acceleration and nimble handling, let’s put it that way.

Not that the Outback is a stiff to drive, not at all. Remember that this wagon’s origins are as an offshoot of the Legacy, which remains a very positive sedan to drive. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that, if you really do intend to push your Subaru Outback to its limits off the road, then probably the Wilderness edition is more for you, simply because it actually features elements designed for that use. This Onyx is, to grossly oversimplify, the city cousin to that Wilderness country cousin.

Either way, of course, you have Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, rightfully considered among the best in the business. In today’s wintertime, that may not be as essential as it used to be, even in Canada, but it’s sure nice to have when it’s needed. My week with the Outback featured a couple of decent snowfalls and I live at the top of a hill. In those moments before the plows were able to clear the snow off the roads I took great pleasure at chugging past a few cars struggling to make it up that hill.

Given average combined fuel consumption: 8.3L/100 km

Our average combined fuel consumption, in winter: 10.2L/100 km

2024 Subaru Outback Onyx put to the test by Auto123
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx put to the test by Auto123 | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The final word
It’s not the most exciting ride or the most exciting design, but the Outback and its so-useful wagon format continues to be relevant and a solid choice. All that cargo space is nothing to sneeze at, and even in our current milder winters the able AWD system is a very good friend to have indeed.

The Onyx model does have to make do with the smaller engine and I admit I would have liked the extra muscle available from the bigger 2.4L turbo engine. It’s up to you to choose if that’s worth the extra cost of moving to a higher trim in the range.

Overall rating: 80 percent

Strong points

  • All-wheel drive system
  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Comfortable, spacious interior (including plenty of cargo space

Weak points

  • Onyx makes do with the base engine
  • A little expensive
  • Timid exterior design
Overview of 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx from rear
Overview of 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx from rear | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Competitors of the 2024 Subaru Outback

- Chevrolet Blazer
- Ford Edge
- GMC Acadia
- Honda Passport
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Kia Sorento
- Nissan Murano
- Toyota Venza
- Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

2024 Subaru Outback Onyx , logo
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx , logo | Photo: D.Boshouwers
Inside view of the new 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx
Inside view of the new 2024 Subaru Outback Onyx | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx Reviewed by Auto123
2024 Subaru Outback Onyx Reviewed by Auto123 | Photo: D.Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists