The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback enters its sixth generation this year with changes from top to bottom that make it the safest and most capable Outback ever. There are two new powertrains, an expanded suite of standard safety features, and, of course, standard all-wheel drive to maintain Subaru’s reputation for being a go anywhere choice.
There are two available engines, including a turbocharged option for the first time since 2009. A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission is standard. At the top of the lineup is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.
Regardless of which you choose, the Outback achieves EPA-estimated fuel economy that makes it easy on your wallet. It gets 26 mpg in the city, 33 miles per gallon on the highway, and 29 miles per gallon combined with the base engine. If you want the stronger performance offered by the turbocharged engine, then fuel economy drops by three miles per gallon across the board.
While the Outback has not yet been crash tested, it comes with a solid suite of safety features. There’s EyeSight driver assist technology as a standard feature with pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure warning with sway warning, and for the first time, advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering.
Additional available features include rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and blind-spot detection with lane change assist. There’s also a new front view monitor that shows images ahead of the vehicle to make parking and navigating narrow spaces easier.
Also new to the Outback is the available DriverFocus distraction mitigation system. This unique feature uses infrared cameras and facial recognition technology to monitor the driver. It detects if you’re tired or distracted and then issue a visual and audible warning for both the driver and passengers.
The Outback has room for five people and their cargo with 32.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats. If cargo is your focus, then fold those seats down for an expanded cargo capacity of 75.7 cubic feet. There’s a wide rear opening for managing large items and the available handsfree power liftgate makes it easier to load when your arms are full.
Secure extra cargo to the standard roof rails, which feature tie-down points and retractable cross bars so they’re always at the ready. Finally, the Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds with the base engine or 3,500 pounds with the turbocharged engine. Whatever your cargo needs, the Outback has you covered.
While the base trim has dual seven-inch touchscreens, the rest of the Outback lineup has a tablet-style 11.6-inch touchscreen. It’s the largest screen ever for Subaru and it lets you rearrange the icons to your preferences, just like on your smartphone. Standard features include AM/FM/HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. There’s also available Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, navigation, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Standard all-wheel drive makes sure you get where you need to go even in winter weather and lets you take the Outback where other SUVs can’t handle the terrain. There’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance to manage uneven surfaces as well as torque vectoring to make sure power goes to the wheels with the most grip.
Standard X-Mode with hill descent control is ideal for off-road adventures and, in the new Onyx Edition XT, there’s a dual X-Mode. This lets the driver choose between either snow/dirt or deep snow/mud to further alter the Outback’s performance to suit current road conditions.
Seven trims make it easy to find an Outback that fits both your needs and your budget. The Base trim starts at only $26,645 while the top Touring XT, which features the turbocharged engine, is priced at $37,345, so it’s affordable across the range.
The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback continues to offer the same rugged capability for which the brand is known. Expanded safety features, enhanced infotainment, and a choice of two powerful engines make it an appealing choice for active lifestyles. It will arrive at dealerships this fall.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine makes 175 pound-feet of torque; the engine actually makes 176 pound-feet of torque. Boston.com regrets the error.