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18 April, 2019, 02:55
At the very least, the new Outback is widely expected to opt for a "mild" hybrid system and could even go for a more advanced form of battery propulsion before the seventh-generation line is launched around 2025. And the brand-new 2020 Outback that debuts at the New York Auto Show this week offers updates that broaden the model's appeal without straying from that charming formula.
By switching over to Subaru's latest global platform, the Outback will benefit from better rigidity and more refinement, as well as improved handling. Indeed, Subaru claims the cabin is nearly 3 dB quieter at highway speeds than its predecessor. Should you want to venture off the beaten path, the Outback offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance - the same as before - and all models get the company's X-Mode function with hill-descent control. Up front the Outback will have MacPherson struts with an internal rebound spring and a new 0.9-inch hollow stabilizer bar. For the first time on an Outback, though, there'll also be a turbocharged option.
The Outback will be offered with a 2.5-litre boxer engine producing 180bhp as standard, but the new range-topping XT trim models will use the more powerful turbocharged unit. All 2020 Outbacks come with a CVT gearbox which can also simulate being an 8-speed auto, plus the usual AWD.
In the USA the towing capacity of the turbo 2.4 is rated at 1500kg, the same as the tow rating for the current 2.5 model sold in Australia. This engine is slightly more efficient, with Subaru estimating fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist uses stereo cameras and other sensors to add adaptive cruise control with lane centering to the 2020 Outback. The first, the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System first seen on the 2019 Forester, is essentially a little camera pointed at the driver, monitoring their face for signs of distractions or fatigue. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert are optional, as is steering-responsive lighting.
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However, it is unlikely the six-cylinder or the diesel will be offered in the new model in Australia. The Onyx Edition XT features black detailing on the exterior, with matching 18-inch alloys and badging over an exclusive gray two-tone interior.
Cloth upholstery covers the seats in base and Premium trims, while the Onyx Edition comes with water-resistant synthetic leather, Limiteds are dressed in real leather, and Tourings come with softer nappa hides. Most Outbacks include a hands-free power tailgate, too. Up to four USB ports and two household-style outlets stand by to power devices.
In the trunk, there's up to 75.7 cubic feet of space. Roof rails with integrated, retractable cross bars and tie-downs are also standard.
Inside, the new Outback gets a massive tech upgrade, by way of the 11.6-inch, portrait-oriented infotainment display, which is standard on all but the base trim level.
Pricing has not been announced yet for the new wagon-slash-crossover, but the 2020 Outback will be on sale in the fall.
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