On The Road

A love for the Outback

Subaru Outback
Mike Hagerty/Special to the Town Crier
The 2020 Subaru Outback has several improvements over last year’s model, including a new engine and more cargo space.

Love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru, it appears.

The love owners have for the pioneering crossover earned it the IHS Markit (formerley Polk Automotive) Loyalty Award in its vehicle class – mid-size crossover utility – for four years in a row (2015-2018).

And return customers will find a vastly improved Outback for 2020. They (and we) would have told you there wasn’t anything wrong with the 2019 Outback, but Subaru found ways to improve it.

The 2020 Outback Touring XT is powered by a new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine with 260 horsepower. Mated to a high-torque Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission, it gets an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. That figure is helped by standard automatic stop/start. The old Outback’s 3.5-liter V6 only managed 256 horsepower, 20 mpg city and 27 highway.

Maximum cargo volume is up 2.4 cubic feet over last year’s model, and there’s an extra inch of interior room between the rear wheel wells. And it’s not just room for stuff. There’s an extra cubic foot of passenger space volume, as well.
The base price for the base model 2020 Subaru Outback is $26,645. As always with Subaru, that includes all-wheel drive. You also get a suite of safety features including Subaru’s EyeSight – which can detect when your eyes leave the road – adaptive cruise control with lane centering and automatic climate control.

The model we tested is the top-of-the-line Outback Touring XT. The base price takes a big leap – to $39,695 – but the list of standard features grows exponentially, including navigation with an 11.6-inch touchscreen, an upgraded audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ventilated front seats, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, Nappa leather upholstery, enhanced electronic safety features and much more.

Add $1,010 destination and delivery charge and the bottom line on the window sticker reads $40,705.

Yes, that’s a heady figure for a Subaru (and this is from a guy whose first review of an Outback asked if we might someday see – gasp! – a $30,000 Outback). But it’s a solid vehicle, packed with features, and it comes with the best review of all – repeat buyers.

If you’re looking for a mid-size crossover, and especially if all-wheel drive is a priority, the 2020 Subaru Outback is a stellar choice.

Mike Hagerty, who has been writing about cars since 1997, is vice president of membership for Western Automotive Journalists (waj.org). Read more of his reviews on his website (tirekicker.blogspot.com) and follow him on Twitter (@mikehagertycars) and Facebook (facebook.com/mikehagertywritesaboutcars).

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