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2020 Subaru Outback Revealed in New York

The 2020 Subaru Outback has been revealed overnight at the New York Motor Show showing off a turbocharged engine, a tablet-style infotainment screen and more.

The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback has been revealed at the New York Motor Show on a lavish forest-oriented show stand. The sixth-generation Outback joins its siblings on the brand’s Subaru Global Platform (which debuted under the Impreza) and, for the first time since 2009 will be available with a turbocharged engine.

According to Subaru, the philosophy behind the new Outback was to develop a “Crossover vehicle that stimulates intellectual curiosity and encourages new discoveries”.

2020 Subaru Outback

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It’s worth noting that the model revealed is specifically for US markets but it’s fair to say Australia is likely to see both engine options. Indeed, the 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine sees Outback continue to offer ‘power’ with around 190kW at 5600rpm and 370Nm of torque at 2000rpm; this engine will replace the 3.6-litre six-cylinder in the Outback as the ‘big banger’. The naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine makes 130kW at 5800rpm and around 230Nm of torque at 4400rpm. As has become the norm with the rest of the Subaru range, there’s only one transmission available, a CVT with a simulated “eight-speed manual mode” and paddle shifters.

2020 Subaru Outback

More than just the new engines, the Outback’s suspension has also been changed with MacPherson struts at the front with a new 23mm hollow stabiliser bar and a double-wishbone and coil springs set-up at the rear with a new 19mm hollow stabiliser bar. Subaru claims the new suspension is lighter and more responsive. We already know that the Subaru Global Platform is stiffer than the old platform and that vehicles built on it have seen ride and handling improved out of sight; it’s likely then we’ll see a similar transformation of the Outback’s ride and handling.

2020 Subaru Outback

Indeed, Subaru said, the Subaru Global Platform has been optimised for the Outback, “boasting a structure that is 70-percent stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity and 100-percent stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Outback’s platform. Crash protection is improved, as the new body absorbs over 40-percent more energy in front/side crashes than the current model”.

The Outback retains its claimed 220mm of ground clearance and features the same tweaked X-Mode set up as the Forester which offers a setting for deep mud and snow which, as we know, disables the stability control system instead of the driver having to do it manually…fortunately it leaves traction control active.

2020 Subaru Outback

In the US, at least, Subaru’s EyeSight system is standard and now includes Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering. US models will also feature DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System which uses a dedicated infrared camera and facial recognition technology to identify signs of driver fatigue or distraction and provides audio and visual warnings to alert the driver and passengers – whether this system will make it onto Australian cars is unknown. Additional features include LED Steering Responsive Headlamps; Reverse Automatic Braking; Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and EyeSight Assist Monitor with head-up display. The Outback will also debut a front-view camera which displays on the infotainment screen.

What about the interior? Subaru claims that improvements to the chassis and insulation, which included new baffled weather strips on doors and sound insulated glass, have made the cabin up to 3dB quieter than the current car at highway speeds.

2020 Subaru Outback

Top-spec models will get 10-way powered front seats with adjustable cushion length on the driver’s seat and three-step seat heaters that extend up the back of the seat and not just the base. Ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel will also be available while Subaru claims the new Outback offers more head, shoulder and legroom all around. There are four USB outlets and 12V sockets spread around the cabin.

2020 Subaru Outback

The boot offers up to 2000 litres of storage with the back seats folded down, and some models will offer a powered tailgate with gesture control – you simply wave at the Subaru badge on the tailgate. The Outback also offers standard roof rails with integrated and retractable cross bars and tie-downs.

2020 Subaru Outback

The new Outback (all models except the entry variant) gets an 11.6in tablet-style infotainment screen which offers Apple and Android connectivity as well as direct touch controls for climate control and even X-Mode. The Outback will also offer, in a first for Subaru, a Wi-Fi hotspot.

2020 Subaru Outback

As for the exterior, the Outback of the 1990s was lovingly referred to as a sneaker, but Subaru wants this one to be known as a ‘hiking boot’. “Cladding on the side of the Outback is meant to resemble a hiking boot,” Subaru said.

Subaru Australia hasn’t announced pricing or features or even issued an expected arrival time for the new Outback.

2020 Subaru Outback


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.