Subaru of America has introduced the all-new 2020 Outback with the most advanced systems and capability in its history. The sixth-generation SUV comes standard with All-Wheel Drive and Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. (Subaru Sells One-Millionth Eyesight Driver Assist) With data from two Subaru-developed color cameras mounted behind the windshield, Eyesight can identify vehicles traveling in front, traffic lanes, obstacles and pedestrians. The system has helped reduce the rate of pedestrian-related insurance claims by 41% according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.*
With an optional tablet-style 11.6-inch Starlink Multimedia system with integrated center information display, DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation and new XT models with 260 horsepower, the 2020 Outback has more technology, safety and performance than before. Pricing for the 2020 Outback will be announced closer to this fall’s on-sale date.
Built on the Subaru global platform, which provides increased safety, dynamics and quietness as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), the Outback will be sold in Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT models.
The 2020 Outback delivers a 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. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance for all Outback models is greater than that in many SUVs, yet the Outback maintains a comfortably low step-in height for both front and rear passenger entry.
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 robust all-around performance with 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 almost 90% 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 CVT with an 8-speed manual mode and 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 powertrains is an all-new suspension that is lighter and in theory more responsive. The front suspension uses, bah, MacPherson struts with new internal rebound springs, aluminum lower L-arms and a new 23 mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a conventional double-wishbone layout with subframe, coil springs and new 19 mm hollow stabilizer bar.
Introduced for 2017, the Subaru Global Platform has been changed for the Outback, with structure that is 70% stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity and 100% stiffer in both front lateral flexural (sic) and rear sub-frame rigidity compared to the previous Outback’s, apparently Jello-made platform. Crash protection is improved, as the new body absorbs 40% more energy in front/side crashes than the current model. When a crash is unavoidable, from texting or otherwise, there are eight standard airbags, including a driver knee airbag, likely courtesy of the newish small offset frontal crash ratings.
Subaru predicts the Outback will achieve top safety scores when it is tested later this year, including a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
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, helping the driver maintain a direct path.
Claimed segment-exclusive (debatable soon no doubt) 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.
Optional 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 shows a 180-degree view on the 11.6-inch display, providing safety and assistance when checking road conditions ahead or parking.
The new 2020 Onyx Edition XT has – what else – black-finish exterior elements, 18-inch alloy wheels and badging, and an exclusive gray two-tone interior. Further, the seats are wrapped in a new water-repellent 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 full-size spare tire. Limited and Touring models have 10-way power front seats with lumbar support, adjustable cushion length (driver only) 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 as standard items. Comfort and convenience in the Outback have been optimized for passengers with increases in 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 optional.
With a cargo floor length of 78 inches with the rear seatbacks folded, the 2020 Outback has up to 75.7 cu. Ft. of cargo space. And with a wider rear gate opening, the Outback can accommodate long items such as camping gear, golf clubs or strollers. For help while loading the vehicle, a new Hands-Free Power Gate allows the owner to open the rear gate by simply waving in front of the Subaru emblem in the center of the rear gate, as well as a new single-touch lifting cargo cover. Both are a first for Subaru and are standard on most 2020 Outback models. For additional cargo versatility, the Outback offers standard roof rails with integrated and retractable cross bars and tie-downs.
Subaru Starlink in-vehicle technology has an integrated cockpit allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings through a large touchscreen display. All Starlink multimedia systems have 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 (4-month free subscription) and SiriusXM Travel Link (3-year free subscription); HD Radio and over-the-air updates.
For the first time optional in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot provides smooth internet access via high-speed LTE communications. Wrapping the large multimedia screen is a new multilayer instrument panel with a soft-touch surface with optional real double-stitching. The wrapped surface material and stitching employ the same color combination as the seats and door trim for a “uniform look and feel.” An optional 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, with Clari-Fi compressed audio restoration technology and GreenEdge high-efficiency speakers and amplifier, delivers premium sound.
*Based on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reporting data as of November 2016 from MY 2013–2015 Subaru models equipped with Eyesight through 2014