Photography by Stephanie Wallcraft
With the new Legacy sedan debuting in Chicago a few months ago, it's no surprise that the updated Outback would soon follow. Like the Legacy, the car gets a new chassis, a new turbocharged engine, and new tech options.
The 2020 Outback rides on Subaru's newest platform that the company says is stiffer in just about every way. They also say it can absorb 40 percent more energy in a crash, keeping that energy away from occupants.
Subaru has also added its latest EyeSight driver assist technology, which comes with adaptive headlights, reverse automatic braking, blind spot alerts with lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert. New for 2020, it also has adaptive cruise control with lane centering and DriverFocus distraction mitigation that watches the driver to monitor for distraction and fatigue. Another new feature is a front view monitor that projects a 180-degree view in front of the vehicle onto the 11.6-inch screen.
According to Subaru, the new Outback is 3dB quieter on the highway due to sound mitigation like new door weatherstrips and thicker, sound insulated glass.
With the new platform comes some extra space. Fold the seats down and all that back end holds 2,144 L, up 68 L from the old model. Subaru says that a the opening behind the optional hands-free power tailgate accommodates larger gear like golf clubs and strollers.
Subaru has put an 11.6-inch screen into the bigger Outback on all but the base model. It allows for configurable settings and moveable app icons like a smartphone does. The top-trim system adds navigation. Surrounding that screen is a new soft-touch dash with optional double stitching. There's also a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo available.
The new Outback will have two engine options. The base choice is a 2.5 L Boxer four-cylinder with 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The XT trim adds a turbocharged 2.4 L with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both get a Lineartronic CVT with all-wheel drive. Turbo cars can tow up to 1,591 kg. The all-wheel drive gets torque vectoring and Subaru's X-Mode that's designed for improved off-road capability.
Subaru hasn't released pricing for the new Outback yet, but the wagon is expected to arrive on-sale this fall.