4x4, Motoring News

Subaru Outback upgrade all set for next decade

  • Debut of Onyx Edition XT trim level with unique stuff
  • Tablet-style hi-def touchscreen controls
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control/lane-keeping


NEW YORK – Subaru America has introduced a 2020 Outback with, it  says, ”the most advanced features, design and capability in its history”.

Which, of course, for a Subaru, is something… anyway, read on.

It’s the sixth-generation of the iconic SUV and will be delivered with symmetrical all-wheel drive and Subaru’s award-winning ‘EyeSight Driver Assistance Technology’. which, we have to guess, probably involves pedestrian, cyclist and road-sign recognition.

With an optional tablet-style 30cm multimedia system/info display, and new XT models with 194kW under the bonnet, the 2020 Outback, its maker says, promises better technology, crash protection, and performance.

The Outback will be available in base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT versions.

Subaru says the 2020 Outback can deliver the best of SUV versatility and ride with all-wheel drive aided by torque going to the wheel(s) with the best grip, and gradient descent control. The 22cm of ground clearance for all Outback models, the automaker says, is more than that of many SUV’s yet the Outback maintains a comfortably low step-in height.

(Real 4×4’ers don’t actually care about that, Subaru. – Ed)

The Outback, turbo-less since 2009, has at last been so equipped. It’s standard on 2.4-litre XT models where it delivers robust all-around performance with 194kW at 5600rpm and 376Nm at 2000rpm.

Every 2020 Outback models will have an eight-speed constant velocity transmission, with manual mode using steering-wheel paddles.

The 2.4 turbo delivers a 1600kg towing capacity (best of any Outback yet), while the 2.5-litre is, driven correctly, capable of more than more than 960km on a full tank.

Crash protection (at last an automaker has deigned to call it correctly!) is improved with the new shell able to absorb 40% more energy in front/side crashes than the current model. If a crash is unavoidable, the Outback will deploy eight crash bags, one of the for the driver’s knees. Subaru expects the Outback to achieve top safety scores when tested later in 2019.


The ”Eyesight” assistance doo-dah now includes cruise control and lane-keeping    An infra-red camera and facial recognition technology can identify driver fatigue or distraction to alert the driver and passengers.

Other crash-avoidance thingies include swivelling headlights, auto reverse braking (camera control, just like many other cars),  blind-spot traffic warning, cross-traffic warning, and head-up displays.

In another Outback first, the 2020 model offers a Front View Monitor, which captures images within the driver’s blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the 11.6-inch display, providing safety and assistance when checking road conditions ahead or parking.

A new Onyx model brings to the party Edition XT black exterior elements, 18” alloy wheel rims and badging, and a gray two-tone paint job. Further, the seats are wrapped in a new water-repelling durable material. It also includes a 2.4 turbo Boxer engine.

READ MORE Subaru features on Carman’s Corner

Limited and Touring uhits include a 10-way power adjustment  and heating for the front seats that extends the full height of the backrests. Touring models add seat ventilation and heating for the steering-wheel. Depending on model, there can be four USB ports and two 12V phone chargers.

Being station-wagons,  the Outbacks need cargo space. That of the new models stretchesd for argo floor length of almost two metres with the rear seats folded folded and more than two cubic metres of cargo space. Unlike other brands, the tail door opens not with a waving foot and great balance but by waving a hand close to the Subaru emblem on the tail door.

Permanent roof rails are standard across the range and come with crossbars and tie-downs.


These will be the first Outbacks with their own LTE wi-fi hotspot. Alongside it are (for extra cash) a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, with top-end speakers and an amplifier.

Pricing for the 2020 Outback will be announced closer to dealer launches towards the end of 2010.  Go chat to your nearest South African Subaru dealer now.

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