2020 Subaru Outback Preview

May 01, 2019
  • EyeSight Driver Assist Technology now standard
  • New Onyx Edition XT trim level
  • Standard hands-free power liftgate
  • Increased safety and reduced noise with optimized Subaru Global Platform
  • Turbocharged engine included on all XT models
  • Lineartronic CVT with 8-speed manual mode
  • Estimated 600-mile maximum fuel range on a single tank
  • Available in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot


Introduced at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Subaru Outback has been optimized for the model year to offer better fuel efficiency, a quieter and safer ride, boosted technology, and turbocharged power, which is something Subaru hasn’t given its Outback in over ten years.

The utility-focused wagon-SUV blend offers seating for five, standard all-wheel drive, improved safety features, and a peaceful, comfortable cabin.

2020 Subaru Outback photo
2020 Subaru Outback

Subaru placed much of its focus for the new Outback on its interior, although the exterior will have a few notable style changes like wider fenders and a bolder grille. The interior, however, sees a host of new technologies aimed at making driving easier and riding more comfortable. The redesigned Outback is slated to go on sale in late fall 2019.

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Exterior Features

An optimized Subaru Global Platform graces the Outback for 2020, creating a stiffer frame to improve responsiveness, crash safety, and noise reduction. Subaru also used what it calls an “Active x Tough” design that focuses on a bold, rugged look with wide fenders, a raised tailgate, and boot-like accents on the lower sides of the SUV, all of which is meant to make the Outback look as capable as it is. With a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, the SUV is ready to hit the road or trails.

Overall, the Outback kept its famous wagon-like body shape that’s catered toward off-roading and adventure. The 2020 version will also return with standard roof rails and its tell-tale hexagonal front grille.

Interior Features

The inside of the 2020 Outback is where you’re likely to notice the most significant changes, the first being its wider windshield that gives a more open feel from the cabin. An 11.6-inch touchscreen found in all models, but the base trim level is also an eye-catching feature that offers a crisp, clear, and conveniently-placed infotainment center.

Start driving the Outback and you’ll notice that it’s a bit quieter than its outgoing version – about 3 dB quieter, to be exact – thanks to its newly-optimized platform that reduces noise from the road, thicker sound-reducing glass, and door weather strips.

The new Outback has the interior space drivers have come to expect from the ready-for-adventure SUV, too. Subaru widened the rear gate for more effortless loading and unloading and gave the cargo area up to 75.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seatbacks folded down. Most models will include a hands-free liftgate and a one-touch cargo cover for added convenience.

Optional Features

With a lineup of seven trims, the new Outback will have something for everyone, although most standard features are yet to be released. The SUV will include EyeSight Driver Assist Technology in every trim level to offer perks like adaptive cruise control with lane centering, driver fatigue alerts, and lane keeping assist. Drivers can add onto the system on upper trims with additional features like a front-view camera, blind spot monitoring, and reverse automatic braking.

A high-tech 11.6-inch touchscreen also comes with all but the base model for drivers to control climate, audio, Bluetooth, and more. The infotainment center will also come with Android and Apple integration. Drivers will also be able to add up to four USB ports and two 12-volt power outlets on upper models.  

A new Onyx Edition XT trim adds sportiness to the lineup with 18-inch black alloy wheels, upgraded all-wheel drive, a two-tone interior color scheme, and water-repellent seats.

Under the Hood

This is the first year for Subaru to gift turbocharged engines to its Outback. The 2020 Outback gets a mostly-new standard 2.5-liter turbocharged BOXER engine with direct injection for up to 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. For XT models comes a 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine with 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque and slightly better fuel efficiency than the standard engine and up to 3,500 pounds of towing capability. Both engines come mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with an eight-speed manual mode.

Fuel Economy

Although final EPA fuel economy estimates have yet to be released for the 2020 Outback, Subaru estimates that models with the optional engine should receive 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway. Models with the standard 2.5-liter engine will notice a slight dip in fuel economy with an estimated 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway.


Previous Outback models have used the Subaru Global Platform, although this frame has been optimized for the current model year to not only provide a more responsive, comfortable, and quiet ride, but also to offer a stiffer construction with improved crash protection. Subaru estimates that this improvement alone should earn the 2020 Outback a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) like its outgoing model.

Other standard safety features include a suite of eight airbags and EyeSight driver assistance technology. The EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, crash avoidance, lane departure warnings, and other helpful features for accident avoidance. A Driver Focus Distraction system will also help drivers avoid fatigue through facial recognition detection and relevant alerts.

Blind spot detection, a head-up display, lane change assist, and reverse automatic braking are a few available safety features for the new Outback.


Standard on all Outback models this year is Subaru’s prized EyeSight Driver Assist technology, which includes an impressive facial recognition feature that detects with a driver gets fatigued or distracted on the road. The system will alert the driver and passengers if it spots anything potentially hazardous by using the driver’s facial features. The technology will hold information for up to five drivers of your vehicle to trigger that driver’s memory settings for audio, seat control preferences, and more.


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