The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback
Just by looking at the 2020 Subaru Outback, most people wouldn’t know that it has been redesigned. Yet as it enters it’s sixth iteration, the question remains the same – is the Subaru Outback an SUV or a wagon?
Throughout its history, the Subaru Outback has always been hard to pinpoint what it is. It takes on the duties of a crossover-utility vehicle, but in reality, it’s a Subaru Legacy wagon, and in some countries, it’s even badged as one. But regardless of what it’s called and what it is, one thing is for certain – it’s quite an impressive vehicle.
Walk up to the five-passenger Outback and you’ll immediately recognize it as a Subaru. But only keen eyes will spot it being all-new, with its main hint being the placement of the Outback logo, which has been moved from next to the front wheel, to the bottom of the passenger door. This new Outback is an inch longer and inch wider than the model it replaces. It continues to have an aggressive, bold stance, thanks to its attractive body side cladding. The overall result is a large, functional vehicle that doesn’t stray away from the Subaru formula.
Part of that formula is a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, which is better than most SUVs. It’s great for off-road capabilities but so not so high that makes entry/egress difficult. The key element to this Subaru and every Subaru (sans the BRZ sports car), is their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System. This system consists of full-time All-Wheel Drive (AWD), a horizontally opposed boxer engine, and a four-wheel independent suspension. All three pieces working together provide a confident feeling behind the wheel of the Outback, no matter what the road conditions are. A nice thing about the All-Wheel Drive system is that because it is working all the time, so you never have to worry about it. Drivers can rest assured that the Outback will respond automatically to the road’s surface.
Under the Outback’s hood, two engines remain available. The standard engine is an updated version of last year’s 2.5 liter four-cylinder. Power has increased from 175 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque to 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes in the base model, Premium, Limited and Touring models. Opting for the Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT or Touring XT gets the new 2.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Replacing last years 6-cylinder, this engine makes 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque compared to 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque from the outgoing 6. Both engines are mated to a Lineratronic CVT transmission.
The cabin of the Outback is nicely done, with Subaru aiming more towards function and simplicity as opposed to trying to impress. It works, as the interior is straight-forward, yet comfortable. The dash is dominated by a huge 11.6-inch infotainment screen that looks much like the one found in the Tesla.
Room is in abundance including those in the backseat where there is plenty of legroom and with seat backs that recline – features that families will enjoy. Lowering those seats, the Outback earns its utility nature by providing an impressive 75.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity. With the rear seats in place, cargo room is still plentiful at 32.5 cubic feet. Both figures are improvements over last year’s model.
The Outback has always done well in the safety department, and for 2020, that trend continues. Every Outback is fitted with EyeSight Assist Monitor – a heads-up display projected on the windshield for EyeSight warnings and status information. Optional is a new DriverFocus Distraction Migration System that can identify signs of driver fatigue or distraction using facial recognition. To achieve this, driver must set up a profile in the multifunction display. Up to 5 different drivers are allowed.
As I drove the test vehicle, a Crimson Red Outback Limited, the one thing that stood out was just how refined it felt. The new chassis that the Outback rides on soaks up bumps and broken pavement with ease. The base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder base engine is adequate for daily duties (although at times it does feel strained). I’m sure the new turbocharged engine resolves this issue and may be a wise choice.
The 2020 Subaru Outback starts at just $26,646 while my nicely equipped Outback Limited came with a $36,500 price tag – a fantastic deal.
Whether you’re looking for an SUV, SUV alternative, or a wagon, the all-new 2020 Subaru Outback should meet your needs nicely and will gladly accept any adventure you may encounter. It offers an abundance of rugged versatility as well as a level of comfort and refinement perfect for long drives – regardless if those long drives are on the highway or on some dirt trail.
Subaru has gone from a cult-favorite to a mainstream player in the SUV / wagon market, and vehicles like Outback is proving why Subaru should be taken seriously. They are simply that good.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Subaru Outback Limited
Base Price: $33,445.00
Price as Tested: $36,500.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 182 hp
Torque: 176 ft-lbs torque
[Visit me at www.carsbycar.blogspot.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org]