2020 Subaru Outback Review

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2020 Subaru Outback Overview

The Subaru Outback was last redesigned in 2015, so an all-new 2020 model arrives right on schedule.

Subaru knows better than to mess with a good thing, so the new Outback looks much like the previous generation. Nevertheless, it includes a strong set of improvements, like increased safety, improved capability, and greater sound insulation. Meanwhile, the Outback’s traditional selling points, like its rugged exterior cladding, folding roof crossbars, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance, carry over.

The base engine for the 2020 Outback is a redesigned 2.5-liter flat 4-cylinder engine making 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, which are modest improvements over the old model. If that’s not enough power, you can specify a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat 4-cylinder engine that makes 260 hp and 277 lb-ft and offers a 3,500-pound towing capacity. Both engines transmit their power to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that lets you run through eight predetermined gear ratios with standard paddle shifters. Subaru estimates 26 mpg city and 33 highway for the base engine, plus a 600-mile range between stops. Meanwhile, the turbocharged engine is expected to deliver 23 mpg city and 30 highway. All trims also come standard with the brand’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, active torque vectoring, and X-Mode with hill-descent control.

Subaru offers the 2020 Outback in Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT trims. All XT trims benefit from the turbocharged engine, while the other trims come equipped with the base engine. The Onyx Edition XT grade bundles black exterior details, 18-inch alloy wheels, a two-tone interior with water-repellent upholstery fabric, full-size spare tire, and an exclusive Dual-Mode X-Mode system. Limited and Touring trims get 10-way power front seats and heated front and rear seats. The Touring trim tacks on high-gloss roof rails, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats.

On the technology front, the Base grade comes with a high-resolution touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. All other trims get a nicer 11.6-inch HD tablet-style display that lets you configure and move app icons like a smartphone. Other technology options include navigation, Wi-Fi-hotspot capability, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The 2020 Outback will also offer the new Chimani app, with extensive information on all the national parks in the U.S.

The 2020 Outback also makes a renewed commitment to safety. The standard EyeSight driver-assist technology now includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering and pre-collision braking. From there, you can add adaptive LED headlights, automatic reverse braking, blind-spot monitoring with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a head-up display (HUD). There’s even a new Front View Monitor system that provides a 180-degree camera feed of the view ahead, eliminating forward blind spots. The new Outback has not yet been tested by any major agency.

The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback incorporates all of the model’s traditional virtues in an improved and more stylish package.

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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