We can tell a few differences just from the photo here. The lower bumper surround and foglight design is more compact than the big round lights that sit down there currently. Subaru has changed the side mirror design, adding a bit of flair with chrome on this model. It's tough to tell what the headlight design will look like, but it's certainly a different shape and size than the current units that stretch back further into the fenders. There's even more black plastic cladding on the car now, too. Subaru had plenty of the stuff going up and down the Outback before, but the wheel arch molding was optional. It's unclear whether it's going to remain that way or be the only way it comes now. One small thing we noticed was the location of the "Outback" designation in the body cladding — it moved from being under the front door to under the rear door. Subaru appears to be offering a new black wheel option that we see on this car, as well.
The Outback last received a significant update for the 2018 model year. That car was also revealed at NYIAS, but it was a relatively minor update compared to what's coming. We'll expect to see a lot of the same features as what was revealed in the new 2020 Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year. That car went way upscale with its interior design, moved to Subaru's Global Platform, dropped the flat six for a turbo flat-four and features a massive 11.6-inch touchscreen. It's no surprise we're seeing the new Outback so soon after the Legacy update, as Subaru has traditionally updated the two vehicles this way.