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Auto Show:  2012 New York Auto Show

2013 Subaru Outback: New York Auto Show

author photo by Colin Ryan April 2012
  • Mid-cycle redesign brings sharper looks and handling
  • Plus added comfort and utility
  • And driver-assisting technology

Where the Subaru Legacy goes, the Outback follows - including the 2012 New York auto show. Subaru's midsize sedan has received a mid-cycle revamp for the 2013 model year, so it's only right that the 2013 Subaru Outback gets the same treatment. After all, both use the same underpinnings.

The Outback, the company's crossover SUV-ish wagon, sports a new nose whose revised bumper, grille and headlights echo not only the 2013 Legacy but also the 2013 XV Crosstrek, Subaru's newest compact crossover (also introduced at this year's New York show).

Just like those other two vehicles, the Outback comes with all-wheel drive as standard, while sporting the same drivetrain updates the Legacy receives. Which means an all-new 2.5-liter engine (in the familiar Subaru flat four configuration) making 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. In a fine example of having cake and eating it, that's a tad more muscle than the outgoing engine, but with better fuel consumption. In the current absence of EPA estimates, Subaru claims 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined for a 2.5i (with CVT) - that's at least one mile per gallon better for each cycle.

Subaru also says that the engine has been tuned to feel lively, with plenty of punch at low revs. Sending that power to all four wheels is either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with six "virtual" ratios that may be engaged with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Versions with the six-cylinder 3.6-liter engine retain the 2012 drivetrain the links 256 hp to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Going back to the cake, though, chassis engineers have toiled to make the Outback more agile and with less lean when taking corners (a common downside to crossovers), yet still improve ride quality with a greater smoothness and less road noise. Subaru also expects the new Outback to score a full five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's crash test program.

On the roof is a set of rails with adjustable crossbars that can move sufficiently rearward to accommodate a kayak. For extra help, the liftgate can unlock via a touch sensor.

Adorning the cabin is light wood trim and a new seat fabric said to be more comfortable. Bluetooth is now standard throughout the range and the Outback comes with the option of EyeSight, Subaru's suite of driver assistance features that includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking.

Pricing for EyeSight is $2,100. For the Outback range in general - which comes in base, Premium and Limited with the 2.5i; base and Limited with the 3.6R - there shouldn't be much difference between 2012 and 2013 models. The current base-level 2012 Outback 2.5i starts at $24,070 (including $775 destination charge).

What it means to you: The Outback grows ever more tempting to a wider range of buyers without losing its essential Subaru-ness.

Check out more news from the New York Auto Show.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Subaru Outback: New York Auto Show - Autotrader