Model: 2020 Subaru Outback Touring
Wheelbase: 108.1 inches
Type: 4-Door crossover
Base price: $26,645 (base Outback)
Base price Touring: $37,345
As tested: $37,345 (no options)
Engine: 2.5-L DOHC 4-cylinder BOXER
Transmission: 8-speed CVT with manual mode
Suspension/front: MacPherson strut type with stabilizer bar
Suspension/rear: Double wishbone/stabilizer bar
Wheels: 18-inch alloymachine finish
Tires: 18-inch all-season
Cargo capacity: 32.5 cu. ft./75.7 cu. ft. (rear seats down)
Tow capacity: 2,700 pounds
EPA/DOT fuel ratings: 26 MPG/city, 33/highway
To say it’s all-new may be the perfect description for the 2020 Subaru Outback as it has an all-new tablet style STARLINK multimedia system on an amazingly large 11.6-inch, high-resolution touch screen; new and updated engines; new Onyx Edition XT trim with new exterior and interior colors; new dual-function X-MODE on Onyx Editions that optimizes stability; additional cargo space; a redesigned interior; and lots more!
Being longtime fans of the Outback, we found this all-new model to offer almost everything that meets our needs in a vehicle: safety, comfort, solid handling, hauling capability, and technology features. It’s a package that tough to beat in our view. That said, the large touch screen offers a lot of information and, like any touch screen, can be a distraction for drivers.
While there is a new 2.4-L, 260 HP turbocharged BOXER engine available on the Onyx Edition Outback, our Touring model tester had an updated 2.5-L DOHC four-cylinder engine with direct injection that produced 182 HP. It was mated to Subaru’s 8-speed Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Auto Stop/Start technology and a manual mode. The combination results in overall fuel economy of up to 33 MPG.
Ever since Subaru offered the Lineartronic CVT in its models, we have enjoyed this uniquely designed transmission that has no fixed gears and provides seamless acceleration. Mated with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, standard on all seven Outback models, this package provides exceptional on- and off-road capabilities.
With 8.7-inches of ground clearance, the Outback has been a favorite off-road vehicle for us for many years. It’s capability with the AWD and Active Torque Vectoring systems, paired with X-Mode and an excellent traction control system, along with Hill Decent Control, provides superb handling during the most challenging off-road driving.
On the Touring exterior there are power-folding heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto-tilt for reverse driving, and two-position memory. The Autumn Green Metallic paint on our test unit was accented with black chrome, there were LED headlamps and fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels with 18-inch all-season tires, a hands-free rear lift gate, roof rails with tie-down points, and a 180-Degree Front View Monitor offers 360 degrees of visibility for added safety. The rear-view camera has a washer system to keep vision clear for the driver.
There is much to like on the Outback Touring model’s interior from its Nappa-trimmed upholstery to heated and ventilated front seats to a heated steering wheel. The 2020 model has increased the passenger volume a cubic foot and the cargo capacity is 2.4 cubic feet larger than previous models. Whether on a road trip or off-roading, comfort has not been overlooked with both soft front buckets and 60/40 split and rear seats. There are 12-volt and A/C outlets in the rear center console. We found entry and egress easy as well, and we enjoyed the power moonroof.
Incorporated in the 11.6-inch STARLINK touch screen is the navigation system plus controls for audio, climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, Traffic & Travel Link, and numerous other apps. The standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology gives the driver a head-[pup display in the windshield plus has an all-new Advance Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering. We liked the cruise control system as it worked as it should, but in our view the lane departure was too sensitive and a bit annoying.
In addition to EyeSight, a segment-exclusive DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System available on the Touring and three other outback trims. This system alerts drivers when a driver appears to become distracted or drowsy, or removes hands from the steering wheel. Perhaps somewhat creepy artificial intelligence, but on a road trip it was helpful to be reminded to take a break.
Two safety features on most Outback models are the Blind Spot Monitoring System and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, both of which can prevent injury to people and damage to the vehicle. The Reverse Automatic Braking system is cool as it can stop the vehicle before it hits objects. We found that it works quite well when we avoided hitting a trash container at the rear of our vehicle.