We have owned 2013 CRV EX-L and 2016 Outback Limited and now a 2018 CRV EX-L. For overall reliability and fuel economy and performance, the CRV would be our choice. The Outback performance is far less than the CRV. The advertised fuel economy of the Outback and the CRV are about the same but in real world experience in our household, we find the CRV to be considerably better. Interior of Outback was somewhat nicer, premium audio is better than the CRV. However, the best audio is available only in the Limited model which is more costly than the CRV. The outside appearance of the Outback was also a bit more stylish, but for overall usage, we much prefer the CRV. We carry one dog on lmany long trips and find virtually no difference with either vehicle for this purpose. With two large dogs, it may be better to choose a larger vehicle, and the pilot would be our choice in that case.