Sunday, March 15, 2020

2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT AWD: The Brand's Lone Ranger Upscale Wagon


Highlight: This is the only midsize non premium wagon available on the market in the U.S.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $38,755 (Base Model: $27,655)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: all-wheel drive; airbags; ABS; a rearview camera with a washer; a brake assist system; a brake override system; daytime running lights; automatic headlights with windshield wipers; a hill hold assist feature; an incline assist feature; an automatic on/off headlights with windshield wiper system; an electronic brake distribution system; an EyeSight Assist Monitor system; a radar-activated cruise control system with lane centering system; and a tire pressure monitoring system



Standard Equipment (2.5i): 17-inch wheels; automatic off headlights only; an automatic climate control system; a keyless entry system; cloth seats; sun visors with an illuminated visor vanity mirror; steering wheel paddle with shifters; height adjustable driver’s seat; manually operated front seats; reclining 60/40 spilt flat-folding rear seatbacks; a remote keyless entry system; a touchscreen 7-inch infotainment screen; an electric parking brake; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; an automatic start/stop driving feature; roof rails with tie-down points and retractable cross bars in black; multiple USB ports; cargo area multiple grocery hooks and cargo tie-down hooks; and a removable cargo area tray

Limited XT (Review Model): 18-inch wheels; dual tailpipe outlets; leather seats; power memory operated driver’s seat with a manual leg extender; a power passenger seat; heated front seats; heated exterior mirrors; a windshield wiper de-icer; a passenger side auto tilt for reverse; a heated leather steering wheel; a driver focus distraction mitigation system; a heads up display system; a reverse automatic braking system; 12-volt outlet in the rear seat; automatic dimming rearview mirror; a blind spot electronic braking system with lane change assist; a rear cross traffic alert system; dual tailpipe outlets; a dual zone automatic climate control system; an keyless ignition starter system; a power moonroof;  automatic height adjustment headlights; SiriusXM radio; a navigation system; a 12-inch touchscreen-like infotainment system; a hands free power rear liftgate; and LED foglights  

Options: none

Other Trim Level: 

Limited
Onyx Edition
Premium
Touring XT

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/175-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 24-city/36-hwy



What’s New: The Subaru Outback, which has been around for approximately a quarter of a century, rides on an all-new platform for the 2020 model year. 

Why: Just like the new and improved Legacy, which we recently reviewed, the all-new Legacy rides on Subaru’s all-new global platform too.

The roomier and more premium-like Outback is available in a variety of trims. As consumer tastes has shifted toward crossovers, the Outback is the lone ranger in the midsize station wagon segment. In fact, Buick just backed out of the segment with its Regal TourX, after an extremely short product cycle. So, for buyers looking for a mainstream wagon, the Outback is the only alternative.

The evolutionary styling of the all-wheel drive midsize wagon continues to be powered by the brand’s 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine and an all-new 2.4-liter, 260-horsepower engine. Our test vehicle was outfitted with the smooth-shifting 2.4-liter engine. The ride and handling seems to be leap years ahead of the 2015 model we reviewed.

With the current generation Outback, Subaru seemed to have addressed a lot of our concerns. The passenger volume inside the cabin of the Japanese vehicle has slightly increased. The rear legroom has been enhanced too, making it feel more like a midsize vehicle.

Moreover, we found that the new Outback is more refined, offering plusher  seats that were quite supportive, especially with the manual driver’s side leg extender. Also the interior design team deserves a ten out of ten with the layout of the instrument panel, as well as the supersized touchscreen navigation system. The redesign supersized infotainment screens operates like an ipad. With the system, one can adjust everything from the heated seats to the audio system to turning-on-and-off some of the driver distraction systems. The screen no longer washes out in bright sunlight like the previous generation Outback.

The Outback offers loads of utility space too. With this being a wagon, the rear seats can fold flat, offering additional cargo space. In a matter of seconds the vehicles can be converted from a people hauler to a cargo hauler. In fact, the standard luggage roof offered an additional opportunity for carrying additional cargo.

And like most of today’s vehicles, the Outback offers the latest safety driving aids too. They range from a radar activated cruise control system to a system that monitors when one is distracted while driving to a blind spot detection with a lane change assist system.

But: While there is no longer a glare with the previous infotainment system, during those sunny days, which literally washed out the screen, with the new system we were unable to access the real-time traffic update for the city we were based in. We were only able to access select preprogrammed markets. We’re not sure if this was due to a glitch in the software or some other technical issue. 



Verdict: While the stylish Outback is the lone range in the midsize non premium segment, it’s a great alternative for those who prefer to shy away from a crossover, but need more utility than a traditional car. The new 2.4-liter engine doesn’t seem sluggish and underpowered. The vehicle received a top tier interior update and we’re just over the moon with the comfortable, but extremely supportive driver’s seat. 

Its no wonder why the vehicle is in a class-by-itself. This is the first Subaru we wouldn’t mind keeping our hands on long term. 

Indirect Competition: Jeep Cherokee and Volvo V60 Cross Country

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