Subaru is not one of the top automakers in the industry, but it’s certainly among those with the most loyal and enthusiastic customers. Every time a new Impreza, Forester or Outback comes around, it’s always a big deal—and we hear about it a lot, including on social media.
Introduced at the New York Auto Show in April, the completely redesigned 2020 Outback is one of the few remaining wagons in Canada (although some now call it a crossover). For its sixth generation, it benefits from the same 70-percent stiffer chassis and the same mechanical and technological upgrades as the Legacy sedan, which is also brand new for 2020.
For the first time since 2009, Subaru offers a turbocharged engine with the Outback. It’s a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit rated at 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque that replaces the old six-cylinder. As for the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine included as standard, power and torque are increased to 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet.
When will we see an electrified Outback? Probably not before the next generation is ready. In the meantime, there’s a Crosstrek PHEV coming up with around 30 kilometres of range in EV mode.
Unsurprisingly, the lone transmission choice with the 2020 Outback is a CVT. This one simulates eight gears and comes with paddle shifters. If you remember, Subaru dropped the manual transmission in the Outback in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Japanese automaker’s excellent symmetrical all-wheel drive system makes use of torque vectoring to improve handling, just like in the latest Forester.
Subaru even added an Outdoor XT model designed for the most passionate adventurers. It features a dual-function version of Subaru’s X-Mode that offers Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes so you can go virtually wherever necessary.
Many will be pleased to know that maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds with the new turbo engine. What’s more, the Outback has grown in size. Thanks to a lower bench seat, rear passengers enjoy more room. And if you fold the seatbacks down, you’ll get up to 2,144 litres of cargo space—more than in a number of SUVs.
Finally, technology enthusiasts will love the latest generation of the STARLINK infotainment system, which is accessed via an 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen. Optionally, users can connect to a 4G LTE network (subscription required) to communicate with emergency services, update navigation data over the air or control some of the car’s functions remotely using a smartphone.