IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The Outback has “best of both worlds” appeal; it’s got better off-road capability than a traditional car and more carlike handling than the typical taller crossover. What’s more, it’s solidly built and offers an excellent range of comfort and safety features.

BUT…

The turbocharged engine exhibits a bit of “turbo lag”—a delay in power delivery before the turbo spools up.

WORTH NOTING:

The new Outback Onyx Edition model comes with special StarTex water-repellent upholstery.

WHAT IS IT?

The Outback is Subaru’s popular SUV-flavored midsize station wagon; it’s based on the same basic platform as the Subaru Legacy midsize sedan, but it adds a raised ride height, beefy roof rails, and rugged-looking lower-body cladding. A 182-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is the base engine, and a 260-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter four is the step-up choice; both are paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive. Trim levels run through base, Premium, Limited, and Touring models with the 2.5-liter engine, and Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT with the turbo 2.4. Standard safety features on all include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering function, and a head-up display. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and Subaru’s DriverFocus driver monitoring system are available. Other available features include heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, navigation system, and a power sunroof.

WHAT’S NEW?

Along with its Subaru Legacy sibling, the Outback is redesigned on an all-new platform for 2020. Rear-seat room and cargo room have been improved, and the turbo 2.4 four replaces the previous 3.6-liter 6-cylinder. Newly available features include an 11.6-inch vertically oriented touchscreen, hands-free power liftgate, and 180-degree front-view camera.

FUEL ECONOMY

The EPA rates the Outback at 26 mpg city/33 highway with the 2.5-liter engine, and 23/30 with the turbo 2.4. In Consumer Guide® testing, an Onyx Edition XT averaged 23.9 mpg in 65-percent city driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

At a glance, the new Outback looks almost identical to the outgoing model—and that’s because Subaru doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. For many shoppers, the Outback offers an ideal blend of passenger and cargo versatility, on-road refinement, all-terrain capability, and luxury, and wraps it all up in a rugged, adventurous-looking package that boasts a generous list of safety and convenience features. And, all the Outback’s positive traits get even better on the redesigned 2020 model.

BASE PRICE RANGE $26,645 – $39,695
BODY STYLES 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 182-HP, 2.5-Liter 4-Cyl; 260-HP, Turbocharged 2.4-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 23-33 MPG

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