2019 Subaru Outback Review

Outback

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2019 Subaru Outback Overview

During its two-decade tenure, the Subaru Outback has climbed its way to best-seller status. Subaru last redesigned the crossover in 2015 and thoroughly refreshed it for 2018. It decided to leave a good thing alone and introduce only minor updates for 2019.

The Outback hides a multitude of functional touches behind its rugged styling: The plastic lower cladding can be buffed to repair inevitable scratches and nicks from dirt roads. The masculine roof racks hide integrated crossbars that fold out when roof capacity is needed. Even the interior materials are meant to get a lot of wear and still look good. Beyond that, you’ve got 8.7 inches of ground clearance and a maximum 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space with a low liftover height. This is a crossover that encourages adventure and an active lifestyle. However, unlike many of its competitors, the Outback seats five and doesn't include a third row. For a third row, you’ll want to look at Subaru’s new Ascent crossover.

Either of the Outback’s powertrains are equally capable. The base setup consists of a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, delivering 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. For those that have higher demands, Subaru offers a 3.6-liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft. Both units come hooked up to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters, and propel all four wheels courtesy of Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD) system. Active torque vectoring and X-MODE, which is an off-roading feature, also come standard. Best of all, its fuel economy beats that of similarly sized crossovers, with 25 miles per gallon city, 32 highway, and 28 combined for the 4-cylinder, or 20, 27, and 22 for the 6-cylinder.

Subaru splits the Outback among six grades. The base 2.5i trim comes with the 4-cylinder engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, an updated 6.5-inch infotainment system, and projector-beam halogen headlights. The 2.5i Premium throws in heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, a windshield-wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, and a 10-way power driver’s seat. A rear liftgate, a power moonroof, and an upgraded 8.0-inch infotainment system with navigation are options.

On the more luxurious end, the 2.5i Limited trim comes with perforated leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a power rear liftgate, rear-seat air conditioner outlets, a 4-way front passenger seat, keyless access and start, turn-signal side mirrors, and simulated wood grain. You can also add adaptive LED headlights that aim around corners. Finally, the 2.5i Touring comes with low-profile silver roof rails, additional chrome accents, a unique gray grille insert, 18-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a unique woodgrain finish, special Java Brown leather upholstery, navigation, and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system. Both the Limited and Touring trims are available with the 6-cylinder engine, as are the 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Premium, respectively.

Safety is yet another one of the Outback’s positive attributes. In addition to a reversing camera and a full suite of airbags, the EyeSight technology suite—which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist—is standard. Thus, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic detection is the only available option. The Outback achieved perfect crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and is a 2018 Top Safety Pick Plus.

The Subaru Outback combines all the best attributes of a wagon, a car, and a crossover. Thus, it isn’t difficult to see why this Goldilocks combination remains popular across the country.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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Subaru Outback Questions

BSD/RCTA OFF Switch

When you press BSD/RCTA OFF switch, does it actually turns off the radar modules (eg turns off the power supply for the modules) or are they still active, and just BSD/RCTA reporting is disabled?