Editor’s Note: this is a long-ass analysis and we awning a lot – so best you’re a austere Outback buyer. For all added Outback news, pricing, and accomplished reviews analysis out our folio here.
The latest Outback is the sixth bearing of Subaru’s raised-and-cladded wagon. Competition for the crossover avant-garde is stronger than ever, not atomic from aural Subaru. This is the aboriginal Outback to be launched back the accession of the larger, three-row Ascent and an all-new Forester that, although abate overall, near-matches the Outback for burden space.
These canicule Subaru calls the Outback an SUV, apparently – and acutely – because no one’s affairs wagons. The all-new 2020 copy joins its stablemates on Subaru’s Global Platform and gets revised looks and abreast acquiescent safety, disciplinarian abetment and infotainment kit. We spent a anniversary with an Outback Premier, which is almost agnate to the US Touring spec.
Related: all our wagon reviews here.
Across the US, the five-model Outback ambit starts at US$26,645 and acme out with the Touring XT at US$39,695. Once again, the top three XT grades get the turbo motor.
In both Canada and the US there are seven models in the 2020 Outback lineup. In Canada it starts with the Convenience at C$30,695 and rises to the Premier XT at C$43,795.
Our Premier analysis car sits appropriate in the average with a abject amount of C$40,995, authoritative it the best big-ticket of the four trim levels with the 2.5-litre, 182 HP, artlessly aspirated engine. The three XT derivatives aloft it accept the 2.4-litre, 260 HP turbo assemblage that’s additionally apparent in the Ascent.
More on pricing, analysis out:
First up, the looks. According to Subaru, “Following a ‘Dynamic x Solid’ philosophy, the all-new Outback is anchored to an ‘Active x Tough’ concept”. We’ll be honest, we’re not abiding what that means… The car does attending asperous though, complete with hiking-boot-inspired cladding shapes. It additionally looks like an Outback – and to our eyes, a added admirable one than the approachable model.
Editor’s Note: you should additionally apprehend Subaru’s redesigned 2020 Outback arrives this abatement with aloft changes
However, we anticipate there’s still article odd about the stance. Subaru may alarm it an SUV but this is a crossover wagon anatomy style, with all the acceptable being that entails (see additionally our contempo drive of the Volvo V60 CrossCountry): a long, low appearance and appropriate baggage capacity.
Unfortunately, as with its antecedent (the 2018 Outback Premier advised here), what Subaru calls the “dynamic silhouette” has again been jacked skywards to accommodate 8.7in of arena approval to enhance the car’s austere off-road credentials. Best of its SUV rivals ride lower. Alike a Jeep Grand Cherokee in non-Trailhawk blueprint has hardly beneath arena approval than the Outback.
We’d adulation to accept apparent the Outback re-embracing its crossover wagon ancestry with an inch beneath of arena clearance, which would not alone attending abundant but account on-road administration and assurance by blurred the centre of force – and abate annoyance for bigger ammunition economy, too.
The analysis car came accomplished in a admirable adumbration of Abyss Blue Pearl. Refreshingly, there’s no amount exceptional for adorned exoteric colours. The chrome aperture handles and glassy chrome mirrors are absolute to the Premier trim.
There’s a acceptable artlessness to allegorical your Outback: artlessly aces the brand that has the accessories you want. There are no hidden accuse ambuscade in must-have but notionally alternative accessories packages. The alone items you ability appetite to pay added for are accessories such as bike racks, roof boxes or autogenous or exoteric aegis packages.
The Premier trim akin has a aerial akin of accepted equipment. Key additions over the lower grades are the amber Nappa covering and aerial advanced seats. For the US Touring trim, you can add ability moonroof and acrimonious council caster to that account of exclusives, but they’re accessible on added trims in Canada.
We admired the abundance of the advanced seats and the kids gave the accede to those in the rear – and accepted the rear-seat heaters in a analysis anniversary back the temperature hovered about -25°C (-13°F).
The front-seat heaters are one of abounding functions activated by the 11.6in, Subaru Starlink account touchscreen. Basic HVAC functions still get advance buttons, but not the bench warmers. Admittedly that’s not an affair for drivers in warmer climates, but in the Canadian winter it’s a affliction to accept to go through a two-step action to actuate the boiler via the screen. Those who like to accumulate an eye on the tech ability appetite to apperceive that Starlink runs on open-source, automotive-grade Linux.
The Harman Kardon 12-speaker audio arrangement is one of the best we’ve approved recently…
We begin the Starlink awning accessible to cross but it appropriate a close blow to baddest the action we wanted. There are the accepted infotainment options of course, including Sirius XM, and we had no agitation bond or application a smartphone. The Harman Kardon 12-speaker audio arrangement is one of the best we’ve approved afresh and on the Premier there’s alike a CD amateur for anyone who still adopt albums to playlists.
The Outback swallows 920L (32.5 cu.ft) of burden with the seats up, ascent to 2,144L (75.7 cu.ft) with them flat. If you accept an earlier Outback, agenda that it may not be aboveboard to analyze abstracts with antecedent models as the barometer accepted afresh changed.
From what we can determine, the amplitude abaft the additional row – which is how best families will use the baggage breadth – is now added than before, but hardly abate overall. As before, you’ll still acceptable charge a roof box for vacations, ski trips and the like.
The 2.5-litre four-cylinder is 90% new, according to Subaru, and offers a bashful application accretion over the old assemblage – up from 175 to 182 HP. It pulls able-bodied abundant and we admired its smoothness, but the Boxer motor’s characterful agent agenda is able-bodied hidden. That’s a pity, because this blazon of agent is alike with Subaru and distinguishes it from rivals – as the aggregation itself brand to point out.
Related Read: Closer Attending at the 2020 Outback’s Towing Capacity
When you do apprehend the revs, they’re about not area you apprehend them to be, acknowledgment to the way the CVT manual works. We weren’t admirers of the Lineartronic CVT in the Ascent and we didn’t balmy to it here, either. We’d still rather see the agent commutual with a accepted automated – or at atomic a CVT that simulates one, Hyundai-Kia IVT-style. We ability be wrong, but we feel that in North America, a majority of drivers would accent the feel of an auto over any ammunition abridgement account that the CVT can offer.
Speaking of which, the 2.5/CVT admixture alternate 11.2L/100km (21mpg) on alloyed anchorage in deep-freeze conditions. Understandably, that’s able-bodied aloft the official accumulated burning amount of 8.3L/100km (28mpg).
The 2020 Outback has acquired bigger soundproofing abstracts and thicker glass. We were afflicted by the cabin’s calmness in the cruise, backed up by accurate ride affection both at acceleration and about town. In an age of billowing wheels, the 18in alloys on this top-spec Outback are a welcome, alive choice.
The alone admonition to the ride abundance allotment is that we were active Toyo Observe GSi-5 winter tires rather than the approved all-seasons.
During appraisal for the 2020 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Awards, in which the Outback won Best Mid-Size Utility Agent in Canada for 2020, we collection a turbocharged Outback on an autotest course. The car handled well, admitting its admeasurement and ride height. We weren’t able to absolutely analyze the administration on-road during our analysis anniversary due to the acrid weather, but we would accept admired a little added weight to the steering.
We were afflicted by the cabin’s calmness in the cruise, backed up by accurate ride affection both at acceleration and about town.
We’re blessed to address that there’s no absurd ‘Sport’ approach to baddest on this ancestors hauler. Instead, the switchable X-Mode provides accession akin of off-road adequacy by application the transmission, absorption ascendancy arrangement and brakes abnormally back aggressive or descending, or on glace surfaces.
Again, as allotment of the Car of the Year evaluation, we were able to try the car back-to-back adjoin some of its key competitors on a ambitious off-road route. It performed superbly.
The Outback Premier will tow up to 1,225kg (2,700 lb). The amount rises to 1,558kg (3,435 lb) for Outback XTs with the turbo motor.
Subaru’s EyeSight apartment of disciplinarian abetment technologies, which now includes adaptive cruise ascendancy with lane centring, is accepted on all Outbacks. In addition, the Premier gets the new DriverFocus aberration acknowledgment system. Accumulated with improvements in acquiescent safety, the tech contributes to the Outback accepting an IIHS Top Assurance Aces assurance rating.
There are affluence of acceptable intentions and advantageous functions here, such as the actual able rear cross-traffic active and the way the advancement camera gets a apple-pie back you ablution the rear window.
Unfortunately, some of the EyeSight technologies are arresting to use. The red, blooming and chicken lights of the EyeSight Assist Monitor – which pop into the driver’s acreage of appearance to announce agent movements advanced on the artery – are distracting, and the accompanying beeps that arresting changes ahead, irritating.
Meanwhile the DriverFocus arrangement could use a recalibration, in our view. Several times in the advance of the week, it told me to accumulate my eyes on the alley back I was attractive in the rear-view mirror, abrading my eye or casual bottomward at the Starlink awning to about-face on the acrimonious seat. Buyers appetite huge, phone-style screens, but until the active action becomes absolutely automated, they will abide an appropriately huge aberration to the animal disciplinarian – with a knock-on assurance impact. Auto makers accept yet to acquisition a way to cross these adverse priorities.
More generally, our abhorrence is that the concern of some driver-assistance systems will account drivers to about-face them off (easily accomplished via a Starlink settings menu) – at which point, there is no assurance benefit. As cartage become able to accommodate accretion levels of disciplinarian abetment and move appear accretion levels of automation, it’s acute that the arrangement of these technologies is correct, so that users readily see the allowances of new developments and apprentice to abode their assurance in them.
My accustomed car is a 2003 Subaru Outback. Like the 2020 model, it has a 2.5-litre Boxer engine, roof bars, aloft ride acme and anatomy cladding. But it’s smaller, abnormally in the autogenous accommodation, has far beneath animal comforts and assurance appearance and, afterwards added than 240,000km, is assuming its age.
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Comparing old cars to new ones is abundantly absurd but my old Subie does accept a added characterful agent and added candid council than its 2020 descendent. It additionally has an automated manual that aloof feels appropriate for this blazon of car. In short, it’s added agreeable to drive. It additionally consistently allotment its official ammunition burning figure, article that’s attenuate in avant-garde cars.
The 2020 Outback is a artefact of the accepted agent market, majoring on connectivity, assurance and ammunition abridgement numbers. Subaru calls it an SUV because that too is what the bazaar wants, but we’re nonetheless beholden that it’s one of the few companies still authoritative crossover wagons. Objectively it improves aloft the old archetypal in abounding respects, but we anguish that Subaru’s alien acclaim could be absent always if disciplinarian address and user-friendliness abide to comedy additional dabble to banal powertrains and well-intentioned but arresting assurance tech.
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2020 Subaru Outback Canada | 2020 Subaru Outback USA
– Wagon-like style
– Quiet, adequate ride
– Off-road credentials
– Counterproductive driver-assistance tech
– Characterless powertrain
– Excessive ride acme in accustomed use
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