The Ascent could also be a surprisingly good three-row SUV, and the redesigned Forester has been promoting nicely, however the Outback remains to be Subaru’s best-selling automotive and its best-known mannequin. The 2020 Outback marks the sixth era of Subaru’s venerable crossover. When you’re a long-time Subaru proprietor seeking to improve, there’s lots to love right here. When you’re new to Subaru, the Outback has some promoting factors that make it stand out from the group of compact crossovers.
On the skin, not so much has modified for the Outback. With 8.7 inches (22cm) of floor clearance, the Outback nonetheless rocks that basic let’s-go-off-roading-to-the-grocery-store look. Constructed on Subaru’s international platform, the sixth-generation Outback appears to be like similar to the earlier yr’s mannequin. Except you are trying carefully on the grille, which has black accents as an alternative of chrome, or the taillights, you may be hard-pressed to identify any large variations. The most important modifications come below the hood and contained in the cabin.
The 2020 Outback nonetheless comes customary with the naturally aspirated 2.5L boxer engine, however there’s now a turbocharged 2.4L energy plant that comes with the XT mannequin we examined. Obtainable in an Outback for the primary time since 2009, the turbocharged engine is able to 260hp (191kW) at 5,600rpm and 277lb-ft (376Nm) of torque at 2,00rpm. The usual, horizontally mounted 2.5L engine sees some modest efficiency positive factors from final yr: 182hp/134kW and 176lb-ft/237Nm, up from 175hp/129kW and 174lb-ft/235Nm—mainly the identical because the Forester. What hasn’t modified is an eight-speed Lineartronic repeatedly variable transmission, which has the identical upside (gasoline financial system) and draw back (noise) as at all times. Your entire Outback lineup now comes geared up with paddle shifters and an eight-speed manual-mode operate.
Subaru has additionally outfitted the Outback with an all-new suspension. The MacPherson struts in entrance have a brand new inner rebound spring, and there is additionally a brand new 23mm hole stabilizer bar paired with aluminum decrease L-arms. Within the rear, you may discover a double-wishbone format with coil springs, subframe, and a brand new 19mm hole stabilizer bar.
The turbocharged 2.4-liter engine is certainly peppier than the similar 2.5-liter engine that powered the Forester we drove final yr. The Outback XT is extra responsive and faster off the mark than the bottom mannequin—that extra 82hp makes a large distinction. That mentioned, if you’re behind the wheel, you may expertise a typical Subaru trip as a result of horizontally mounted energy plant together with the CVT. I do not suppose the extra horsepower is well worth the $12,000 value premium over the bottom mannequin, even with the opposite perks that come from the Touring trim degree. The bottom Outback begins at $26,795.
Contained in the Outback
You will discover the most important modifications contained in the Outback. Just like the redesigned Subaru Legacy, the Outback now sports activities an 11.6-inch touchscreen show with a vertical orientation. Gone is the mini-display on prime of the dashboard; the entire infotainment features are actually viewable on a single display. Each Android Auto and CarPlay are customary if you wish to jam to your personal tunes or use Waze to get the place you are going. The draw back to the large show is the elimination of bodily local weather controls. Adjusting the AC or warmth now requires a pair faucets on the display, which will be distracting.
Typically, although, the Outback’s cockpit format is top-notch. All the controls are inside simple attain of the driving force, and you should use the large touchscreen and the smaller show in the midst of the instrument panel to customise the information you need to see. Visibility from behind the wheel is great, as is the case with Subaru’s different SUVs and crossovers.
Subaru prides itself on security, and the carmaker makes its suite of driver-assist applied sciences (EyeSight) customary throughout the lineup. DriverFocus, which made its debut on the Forester final yr, is now customary throughout the Outback lineup. It makes use of a digicam to scan the driving force’s face and emits a warning beep when it detects the driving force is not trying on the street. It is not foolproof, however it may be a useful gizmo in reminding you to concentrate to the street. Subaru additionally touts improved crash safety, because the redesigned Outback can take in 40-percent extra power in entrance and aspect crashes than the earlier iteration.
Mileage and cash
The Outback XT is rated at 30mpg (7.84L100km) on the freeway and 23mpg (10.23L/100km) within the metropolis; we noticed 26.4mpg (8.91L/100km) in every week of combined driving. When you persist with the two.5L direct-injection four-banger, Subaru says you may get 33mpg (7.13L/100km) on the freeway and 26mpg (9.05L/100km) within the metropolis. There’s additionally loads of room in your children and all of their stuff, with 32.5 cubic toes (920L) of cargo area. This expands to 75.7 cubic toes (2,144L) with the rear seats folded down.
At almost $40,000, the XT is tough to suggest, as the extra energy would not translate to a meaningfully higher driving expertise. However the remainder of the lineup presents wonderful worth throughout the bottom, Premium, Restricted, and Touring fashions. In case your previous Outback is trying prefer it has been by the outback one time too many, you may be thrilled with a brand new one.
Itemizing picture by Eric Bangeman