The redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback hits the road, trail, mountain, river crossing, or middle-of-nowhere in late 2019. Its styling is largely carried over—think tall station wagon with chunky roof rack, unpainted side cladding, and a stack of LED fog lights on most trims. Inside, the upgrades are literally a bigger story thanks to a vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen for infotainment and climate controls on most trim levels that takes up considerable dashboard real estate.
Underhood, the 2020 Outback retains a 2.5-liter flat-4 rated at 182 hp in base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trims. Opt for the new 2.4-liter, 260-hp turbo-4 and Subaru slaps an XT badge to the tailgate of new Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring trims.
A turbocharged Outback XT is nothing new, but Subaru hasn’t offered a boosted model since 2009. Last year’s optional flat-6 bites the dust as Subaru ends its 6-cylinder entirely. An electrified Outback hybrid isn’t part of the picture—at least not yet, though officials remained mum on timing.
Opt for the turbo-4 and the Outback is rated to tow 3,500 pounds.
Official EPA fuel economy ratings will come closer to its on-sale date, but Subaru’s preliminary estimates are 26 mpg city, 33 highway with the base engine and 23/30 mpg with the optional turbo-4. Cementing the Outback as a road-trip cruiser, the base engine delivers a 600-mile range between fill-ups.
All-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) come standard on the Outback, which rides on a modular architecture that now underpins all but the automaker’s sporty BRZ coupe. The new platform opens up a more spacious cargo area in the 2020 Outback that now offers 75.7 cubic feet to swallow luggage. Most Outbacks include a hands-free power tailgate, too.
The new Outback should be a formidable four-wheeler, at least by crossover SUV standards. Its raised suspension gives it 8.7 inches of ground clearance and an off-road traction control mode can be selected at the tap of a button.
Like double-knotted bootlaces, standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control help keep the new Outback safe and secure. An available driver-attention monitor uses an infrared camera to watch the driver and sounds an alert if it detects distracted eyes.
2020 Subaru Outback
Inside, both the base Outback’s 7.0-inch touchscreen and the tablet-like 11.6-inch touchscreen standard on other trim levels come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Up to four USB ports and two household-style outlets stand by to power devices.
Cloth upholstery covers the seats in base and Premium trims, while the Onyx Edition comes with water-resistant synthetic leather, Limiteds are dressed in real leather, and Tourings come with softer nappa hides. A 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is standard in most models, while full power adjustment for the passenger’s seat and heated and cooled front seats come on higher trim levels.
Subaru hasn’t said how much the new Outback will cost, but we doubt it’ll be much higher than the roughly $27,500 base price for the outgoing model. Look for a loaded-up Outback XT Touring parked at your nearest hiking trail to hover around $43,000 when it hits the market this fall.