*See photos in the gallery below
Subaru of America introduced the new 2020 Outback this week at the New York Auto Show. The sixth-generation SUV comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
The Outback, built on the Subaru Global Platform will be available in base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT models. The new XT model produces 260 horsepower.
Technology highlights include an available tablet-style 11.6-inch SUBARU STARLINK multimedia system with integrated center information display, and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System.
For the first time since 2009, the Outback lineup offers a turbocharged engine. Standard on XT models, the 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine delivers 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. The standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter BOXER—with direct injection and nearly 90 percent of its parts new—delivers 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm.
All 2020 Outback models are paired with a Lineartronic CVT featuring an eight-speed manual mode function with steering wheel paddle shifters. The 2.4-liter turbo delivers a 3,500-lb. towing capacity, the most of any Outback in history, while the 2.5-liter provides more than a 600-mile range on a single tank. Manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy is 26/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.5-liter and 23/30 mpg city/highway for the turbo.
Complementing the more refined powertrains is an all-new suspension that is lighter and more responsive, according to Subaru. The front suspension utilizes MacPherson struts with new internal rebound spring, aluminum lower L-arms and new 23mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension renders a double-wishbone layout with subframe, coil springs and new 19mm hollow stabilizer bar.
Subaru designed the 2020 Outback with an “optimal blend of SUV capability and car-like ride and handling with standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Active Torque Vectoring, Vehicle Dynamics Control and X-MODE with Hill Descent Control,” according to the company. The car has a low step-in height to pair with 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
Clad Like a Boot
Cladding on the side of the Outback is meant to resemble a hiking boot to further emphasize Subaru’s Dynamic x Solid philosophy. The 2020 Outback projects a large presence from thicker profile panel surfaces and raised rear gate as well as a sense of speed from its dynamic silhouette, according to the company. Also notable are the wider fenders, large hexagonal grille, front cladding and LED fog lights on the corners standard on all trims except base.
The interior design uses a widened windshield and long lines from the center of the instrument panel to the door panels to create an open environment. The Outback Touring leverages luxurious appointments inside and out, including Nappa leather, high-gloss black molding for the pillars, chrome plating decorated door handles and satin tone plated side mirrors.
Structure & Safety
The Subaru Global Platform was optimized for Outback, featuring a structure 70-percent stiffer in torsional and front-suspension rigidity, and 100-percent stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Outback’s platform. Crash protection is improved, as the new body absorbs more than 40-percent more energy in front/side crashes than the current model, according to Subaru.
Standard on all trims is Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that now includes Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering, which provides steering assist when the vehicle veers outside its lane, according to Subaru. The DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System uses a dedicated infrared camera and facial recognition technology to identify signs of driver fatigue or distraction and provides audio and visual warnings to alert the driver and passengers.
Available driver-assist technologies include LED Steering responsive headlamps; Reverse Automatic Braking; blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear Cross traffic alert; and EyeSight Assist Monitor with head-up display.
In another Outback first, the 2020 model offers a Front View Monitor, which captures images within the driver’s blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the 11.6-inch display.
Comfort & Versitility
The 2020 Outback cabin is almost 3 dB quieter at highway speeds. Subaru engineers fit the Outback with new door weather strips featuring a baffle in the mid-section and dual lips on the roof side for improved quietness. The windshield and front-door glass have sound-insulating inner film, while glass thickness was increased.
Limited and Touring models feature 10-way power front seats with lumbar support, adjustable cushion length for the driver and heated front/rear seats. For 2020, seat heaters come with three levels of temperature adjustment, as well as extended coverage up to the shoulders for improved comfort.
Touring models add ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Subaru aimed to increase comfort with increased rear head, shoulder and leg room.
For powering and pairing personal devices, up to four USB ports and two 12-volt DC power sockets are available.
With a cargo floor length of 78 inches with the rear seatbacks folded, the 2020 Outback offers up to 75.7 cubic feet of cargo space. With a wider rear-gate opening, the Outback can comfortably accommodate long items such as camping gear, golf clubs or strollers. The hands-free Power Gate allows the owner to open the rear gate by simply waving in front of the Subaru emblem, as well as a new single-touch lifting cargo cover.
For additional cargo versatility, the Outback offers standard roof rails with integrated and retractable cross bars and tie-downs.
SUBARU STARLINK in-vehicle technology offers an integrated cockpit experience by allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings through a large touchscreen display. All STARLINK multimedia systems for the 2020 Outback feature a high-resolution touchscreen; new on-screen controls for audio; HVAC, X-MODE and vehicle features; combination meter integration; smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and new STARLINK SmartDeviceLink apps; Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming connectivity; AM/FM stereo; rear vision camera; SiriusXM All Access Radio and SiriusXM Travel Link, HD Radio and over-the-air updates.
Front and center, and highlighting Outback’s upscale interior, is an all-new tablet-style 11.6-inch full HD multimedia display. Standard on all but the base trim, the 11.6-inch multimedia display offers direct touch controls, HVAC, X-MODE and vehicle settings, and includes Near Field Communication to its list of features.
Like with a smartphone, app icons can be moved and configured based on personal preference. The 2020 Outback will be the first vehicle to offer the new Chimani app, which provides a comprehensive guide to more than 400 national parks in the U.S. and includes park history and highlights written by local traveler experts. The navigation is powered by TomTom and voice activated navigation.
An available in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot provides smooth internet access via LTE communications, according to Subaru.
Framing the large multimedia screen is a new multilayer instrument panel featuring a soft-touch wrapped surface with available real double-stitching for a high-quality appearance. The wrapped surface material and stitching employ the same color combination as the seats and door trim for a uniform look and feel.
An available 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, with Clari-Fi compressed audio restoration technology and GreenEdge high-efficiency speakers and amplifier, delivers premium sound.
Pricing for the 2020 Outback will be announced closer to this fall’s on-sale date.
The new 2020 Onyx Edition XT features black-finish exterior elements, 18-inch alloy wheels and badging, and an exclusive gray two-tone interior. The seats are wrapped in a new water-repellant durable StarTex material. The Onyx Edition XT builds on the premium trim and adds the 2.4-liter turbo BOXER, hands-free Power Gate, Front View Monitor and Dual-Mode X-MODE for a range of envirnonmental conditions.