2020 Subaru Outback Review: Punching Above Its Weight Class

Overview

The 2020 Subaru Outback is a completely redesigned product from the Subaru stable that carries forward all of the great bits from the previous and amalgamates it with some great modern touches. The Outback has always had a special place in my heart due to its nature of standing out from the rest all thanks to its quirky set of abilities. If you want a vehicle that is spacious, comfortable, drives like a car on road, performs like a truck off-road and still manages to make you turn back every time you park it, The Subaru Outback is genuinely the only vehicle you need to spend your money on.

What’s new for 2020?

2020 MY of the Outback brings about drastic changes to the exterior and the interior that result in a vehicle that is extremely modern and sophisticated. The station wagon-like side profile is something that enthusiasts really adore but might be a turn off for some that like boxier products. For me personally though everything that Subaru has done to the outside is a big thumbs up and deserves a round of applause. When you first lay your eyes on it, you might fail to appreciate the amount of pedigree this vehicle has as many may dismiss it as a “MOM WAGON” but it is much, and I mean much, more than that. The Subaru scoffs at the usual incapable on-demand AWD drive systems as it houses a proper transfer case system that gets you the real deal. The truck-like 8.7 inches of ground clearance and an extremely capable AWD system on offer make sure that you take your Outback to sceneries that are reserved for Overlanding Enthusiasts.

How well does the Subaru Outback perform?

The base engine on offer in the new Outback is a 2.5-liter 4 pot that delivers an average feeling 182 hp, this in my humble opinion could really break the entire amazing experience of the Outback as this engine feels highly unenergetic and strained every time you need even a quarter of the power. It is therefore advised that the consumers that are seriously considering the Subaru Outback, opt out the XT variants of the Outback as they come with the optional 260 hp producing turbocharged 2.4-liter engine which livens up the entire experience. This turbocharged engine is what I feel should have been the de facto engine option as it is the one that rounds up the entire experience. This engine coupled with the CVT transmission makes for an extremely smooth and relaxing driving experience as the cabin itself is eerily silent for a Subaru. The CVT might not appeal to the boy racer inside you as it does possess significant rubber banding, but for the average Joe at which the Outback is aimed at, it is going to be a pleasant experience.

Trims and Features

The Outback although it is available in six trims, namely, the base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT we would highly suggest you spend the extra bucks and get one of the XT trims. The thing is, even though Subaru has managed to get quite widespread when it comes to the trims, the engine that we would suggest you get, is still reserved only for the XT trims. Even in its Base form at $26,645, the Outback gets Auto Headlights and Wipers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Climate Control, Four Speaker Audio System, and Keyless Entry. The premium adds touches like ten-way power adjustment, heated front seats, Six Speaker Audio System, 11.6 Inch Info, AWD, and Eyesight driver assist. The Limited gets Powered tailgate, Eight-way power passenger seat, Two-position driver memory, Push Button Start, 12 Speaker Harmon Kardon System, Blind Spot Detection, and Reverse Automatic Braking. The big daddy 2020 Subaru Outback Touring gets Ventilated front seats, Moonroof, Nappa Leather, Starlink 11.6 inch Info Display, and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation. The XT’s get similar equipment to the non-XT’s but do get the upgraded engine.

Stepping inside the cabin of the Outback, one would be hard-pressed to believe that he is sitting in a Subaru cabin as everything just feels a notch or two above from what we are familiar with. All the touchpoints are soft and supple and the leather-covered trim pieces do feel remarkably high quality. If I was to cover up the Subaru logo on the steering wheel, it would be an extremely tough guessing game for people to deem the Outback a product of this Japanese manufacturer. Small details such as the stitching and panel fit and finish really impress you and the overall layout and look of the dashboard make you want to stay. The seats are supremely comfortable and spacious as they would be adequate for people that tend to skip the gym sometimes, and even the rear has massive space on offer and would keep 3 adults comfortable even through long journeys. While some rivals in the segment offer a third row, the Outback does without the cramped seats and instead blesses you with an extremely usable 18 cubic feet of boot space. The Tesla inspired 11.6-inch vertical touch screen might look snazzy to many but is the only interior detail that I loathe. I feel I am one of the minorities in this regard but I prefer a crisp smaller horizontal infotainment screen to these flat-screen TVs that take up the entire dashboard. The fact that all of the major climate control functions including stuff like the heated seats are buried into this display just sadden me. Now, I am not one of those people that just scoffs at change, but I do feel at least the implementation by Subaru in the Outback does feel a little half-baked as the system is laggier than many modern systems and has a comical user interface that reminds you more of the older feature phones than newer smartphones. Granted the system sounds really good and navigating the interface is quite intuitive, personally for me, I would have preferred a less flashy alternative if it meant that the user experience was crisper than what the Outback currently provides.

Safety

The Outback also comes packed with active safety features varying with each trim, but if you opt for either the 2020 Subaru Outback Touring or the Touring XT, you get a surprisingly efficient Driver Focus system. This system apparently manages to track the driver’s face and eyes and thus is extremely clever in determining if the driver is distracted on his phone or is drowsy. The Outback beeps and bongs at you to get your attention to keep you safe and the entire system works quite efficiently.

Should you buy the 2020 Subaru Outback?

The Subaru Outback, therefore, might be the only do it all vehicle as it manages to a put a grin on the face of the driver(If you get the optional engine), houses the entire family and a weekend’s worth of luggage, and manages to go the distance into the woods for you to enjoy the perfect family vacation while being ready to drive you to work through peak traffic the very next Monday!

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