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2020 Subaru Outback: First Look

  • Subaru says the all-new 2020 Outback is the safest, most capable Outback ever.

  • New turbocharged XT models bring a new level of performance to the Outback.

  • The new Outback comes standard with advanced EyeSight driver-assistance tech on every trim.

The Subaru Outback is a popular all-wheel-drive wagon and the all-new 2020 model that just debuted at the New York Auto Show makes it even better. There are a few aspects of the car that aren’t too surprising like standard symmetrical AWD and a rugged, outdoorsy aesthetic, but it has a few new tricks up its sleeve that we’re pleasantly surprised to see.

Wagon or SUV?

The Outback has been blurring the line between wagon and SUV for a while now and the all-new sixth-generation model brings it another step towards the SUV side of the aisle. It has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is quite tall, but the body still has wagon like proportions making it something a little different in both the midsize wagon and SUV segments.

Whatever you want to call it, the new Outback retains a rugged aesthetic while looking a little more modern and premium than the car it’s replacing. It retains its signature plastic cladding around the bottom, which Subaru says is “meant to resemble a hiking boot” adding to its tough and functional look.

Return of the XT

The performance-oriented Outback XT has been absent since the fourth generation of the car debuted for 2010, but now it’s back with a 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine. The 6-cylinder has been dropped in favor of this new turbo mill, which generates 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque — a notable upgrade over the outgoing 6-cylinder that made 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Another nice perk of the XT is that it can tow 3,500 pounds, the most of any Outback ever. The new turbo engine is also more efficient than the 6-cylinder returning 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

The base engine of the Outback is still a 2.5-liter flat-four engine, but Subaru says almost 90 percent of its parts are new versus the previous model. This engine makes 185 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is adequate for most drivers. Fuel economy is strong at 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

High Tech

The new Outback is loaded with impressive technology. For starters, the Subaru EyeSight driver-assistance technology suite comes standard on every 2020 Outback, which includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, DriverFocus, which uses an infrared camera and facial recognition to look for signs of fatigue and uses warnings to keep you alert if necessary, lane-keeping assist, and a pre-collision system that can help with braking and throttle management. Optional upgrades include LED steering responsive headlights, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring with lane-change assist, and an EyeSight assist monitor with head-up display.

A new tablet-style 11.6-in infotainment system comes standard on every trim except the base model. This huge infotainment system works kind of like a smartphone with app icons that can be configured to your liking. The 2020 Outback is the first vehicle to offer the new Chimani app, which is a guide to more than 400 national parks to further adds to the adventurous nature of the Outback.

Pricing has not been announced yet for the all-new 2020 Subaru Outback, but we can see its starting price coming in around the mid- to high-$20k range like the 2019 Outback. Expect the XT models to start in the mid-$30k range. Look for the new Outback in showrooms this fall. Find a Subaru Outback for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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