The 2020 Subaru Outback looks the same, but is very different

Jeannie Matthews
April 20, 2019

Most models come with a 2.5-liter flat-four making a modest 182 horsepower (136 kilowatts) and 176 pound-feet (239 Newton-meters) of torque.

Both engines are mated to a CVT automatic transmission and feed power to an all-wheel drive system. There are paddle shifters, and up to 3,500 pounds of towing capacity from the turbo engine. Manufacturer's estimated fuel economy is 26/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.5-liter and 23/30 mpg city/highway for the turbo. It rises on MacPherson struts up front, while the rear has a double-wishbone layout.

When compared to the outgoing auto, Subaru says the new Outback is both stiffer and safer than before, and the cabin promises to be a much nicer place to spend time. Although the vehicle is yet to be tested, Subaru is pointing to a full five-star crash rating. Swiveling LED headlamps, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and a head-up display are among the options.

New for the 2020 model is a front-view monitor, which detects and displays potential blind spots in front of the vehicle on the 11.6-inch display. The Onyx Edition XT features black detailing on the exterior, 18-inch alloys, special badging, and an exclusive gray two-tone interior.

Cloth upholstery covers the seats in base and Premium trims, while the Onyx Edition comes with water-resistant synthetic leather, Limiteds are dressed in real leather, and Tourings come with softer nappa hides.

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The 2020 Outback offers a peaceful cabin that is nearly 3 dB quieter at highway speeds. This architecture is said to have a 70 per cent improvement in torsional rigidity for better handling and a quieter and more supple ride. The driver and front passenger, meanwhile, enjoy 10-way adjustable, heated seats with lumbar support, standard on Limited and Touring models. For 2020, seat heaters come with three levels of temperature adjustment as well as extended coverage up to the shoulders for improved comfort. Up to four USB ports and two household-style outlets stand by to power devices.

Out back, the Outback's newly available hands-free power-lift system opens the tailgate with the wave of a hand, providing access to a widened load-area opening. For Subaru, in particular, the Outback has been a key to its ongoing success. Roof rails with integrated, retractable cross bars and tie-downs are also standard.

The body itself is styled following Subaru's "Dynamic x Solid" philosophy, which is tied in with the "Active x Tough" concept. The 2020 Outback projects a large presence from thicker profile panel surfaces and raised rear gate as well as a sense of speed from its dynamic silhouette. Granted, this app partnership isn't anything hugely new, but just tell me that isn't the most Subaru thing this touchscreen could be used for.

While it's aimed at exhausted and texting drivers, a new 11.6-inch touchscreen display that's standard with all but the entry-level trim may prove to be something of a distraction, too, and is the high-tech showpiece of an interior that's quieter than the one in the outgoing best-seller for the brand.

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