Following the introduction of the next-generation Legacy earlier this year, Subaru chose New York as the venue to showcase the all-new 2020 Outback. Built on the company’s global platform, the Outback gets updated styling, a range of new features as well as an updated powertrain and the latest version of EyeSight, Subaru’s suite of advanced safety technology.
Indoor National Park
To celebrate Subaru’s dedication to supporting America’s national parks, the company created a beautiful 360-degree park-like setting in the middle of Jacob Javits Convention Center at this year’s show. The innovative display gives visitors an immersive experience with the sights, sounds, scents, and weather of these stunning locations while creating a one-of-a-kind sensory experience. The new Outback complemented the scenery perfectly, as Subaru intended.
Subaru’s global platform was first introduced in 2017 on the new Impreza and has since been the basis of the new Forester, Ascent and 2020 Legacy. With a structure 70 percent stiffer in torsional rigidity than the outgoing model, as well as a 100 percent improvement in rear subframe rigidity, the new Outback should provide a much more comfortable and engaging ride — which has been our experience with other Subarus on this new platform. Adding to the improved drivability is an all-new suspension that is lighter and more responsive.
Safety is a focus for this new Outback, which gets improvements in both passive and active safety measures. The new body can absorb 40 percent more energy than the previous model in both front and side crashes, providing better occupant protection in the event of a crash. Adding to this new level of safety are eight standard airbags.
While the Outback has been redesigned for improved crash protection, Subaru’s EyeSight system — now standard on all Outbacks — helps avoid the collision altogether. EyeSight includes automatic emergency braking as well as an advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, providing steering assistance if the vehicle veers out of its lane. Also new for 2020 is the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, which uses an infrared camera and facial recognition to determine if the drive is fatigued or simply not paying attention; it provides both audio and visual alerts.
Additional Safety Features
Subaru will also offer the new Outback with additional safety features that include reverse automatic braking, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and LED steering responsive headlights. Another new feature for 2020 is a front-view monitor that provides a 180-degree view to aid when exiting driveways, parking spaces or proceeding onto roads with limited visibility.
Although the Outback retains its signature overall styling, for 2020 this crossover / wagon gets a more rugged look with thicker cladding, wider fenders, a new hexagonal grille and bolder front cladding with integrated LED fog lights.
Bringing up the rear, the new Outback has a raised rear tailgate with a bolder bumper design that better integrates with the cladding around the vehicle. Taillights are slightly wider which provides a more premium look.
The Outback’s interior has been completely redone with a new multi-layered dashboard design centered around the most noticeable update — an all-new tablet-style integrated center display that measures 11.6 inches. This full HD touchscreen is the most advanced system ever offered in the Outback, and it comes standard on all but the most basic trim. The system is completely configurable and will be the first in the industry available with the Chimani app, which provides a comprehensive guide to all 417 national parks in America. Subaru will also offer a Wi-Fi hotspot for the first time in the Outback.
Subaru engineers have worked to make this new Outback quieter than its predecessor, employing new door weather stripping as well as thicker sound-insulating glass. Rear-seat passengers — in addition to the quieter surroundings — will enjoy more headroom and legroom than in the previous generation.
With a new wider liftgate opening, the Outback is easier to load and can handle longer items when necessary. A total of 75.7 cubic feet of cargo space is available with the rear seats folded flat. Subaru will also offer a hands-free power tailgate and a single-touch lifting cargo cover. All Outbacks come with roof rails and integrated crossbars for those who need to carry extra cargo.
For the first time since 2009, Subaru puts a turbocharged powerplant back in the Outback. Powering the XT trims is a 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer engine that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque at a low 2000 rpm. This turbocharged engine gives the Outback its best towing rating ever — 3,500 lbs. Other trims will be equipped with a 2.5-liter engine that delivers 182 horsepower. Both engines are teamed with Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously-variable transmission. Subaru estimates that the turbo engine will deliver30 mpg on the highway, while the normally-aspirated 2.5-liter unit will get 33 mpg highway.
Coming This Fall
The new 2020 Subaru Outback will go on sale later this year, available in multiple trim levels that include Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT. Pricing will be available closer to the on-sale date.