2020 Outback New Car Test Drive
Shoppers torn between a conventional passenger car and a crossover SUV have an alternative choice in the 2019 Subaru Outback. The Outback provides a sensible, thoughtful compromise for those who want crossover-style packaging and more than a taste of SUV capability.
Safety is the top Outback news for the 2019 model year. Optional previously for most versions, Subaru's EyeSight group of modern safety features is now standard on all Outbacks.
Several interior enhancements have been added for 2019, too. An overhead console “shower” light and twin USB ports are now standard in the 2.5i base model. Every Outback now includes a 5.0-inch LCD screen in its gauge cluster. Premium and Limited models gain an auto-dimming compass mirror.
Outbacks come in four trim levels: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. The latter two are available with a 6-cylinder engine, rather than the standard 4-cylinder. Both engines are “flat” configuration, with horizontally-opposed cylinders ? a Subaru hallmark for many years.
In 2.5i models, the 2.5-liter flat-4 develops 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Limited and Touring editions can be equipped instead with a 3.6-liter flat-6 that whips up 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet. Every Outback uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that lacks gears, but includes a manual mode. When accelerating, paddle shifters can send the CVT through a series of six simulated gear ratios, emulating a conventional automatic transmission.
Even more than before, the Outback stands out for safety technology, making it a wise family choice. The newly-standard EyeSight package includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors are optional for Premium trim level, but standard on Limited and Touring.
Outbacks have performed well in crash-testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the 2019 Outback at five stars overall, as well as for both frontal and side impacts. Only rollover resistance (a calculated figure) dips to four stars ? as do nearly all vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named Outback a Top Safety Pick+, earning “Good” scores in all tests. Frontal crash prevention was deemed “Superior,” when properly equipped. Standard headlights were rated “Marginal,” while those with automatic high-beams were “Acceptable.” LED headlights, standard on Touring and optional for Premium trim, earned a “Good” rating.
Exceptional outward vision results from a low beltline, complemented by relatively slim roof pillars. .
Prices do not include $975 destination charge.
Base 2.5i ($26,345) comes with the 2.5-liter engine, all-wheel drive, CVT, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, roof rails, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The standard EyeSight system includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.
2.5i Premium ($28,445) adds such features as a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. A moonroof and power liftgate are optional.
2.5i Limited ($32,845) comes with perforated leather-trimmed upholstery, a power front passenger seat, Harman Kardon audio, 18-inch wheels, heated rear seats, a power liftgate, and keyless access/start.
2.5i Touring ($36,795) adds lower body cladding, a heated steering wheel, steering-responsive LED headlights, and navigation.
3.6R Limited ($34,995) is similar to 2.5i Limited, but substitutes a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine for the 4-cylinder.
3.6R Touring ($38,995) is similar to 2.5i Touring, but with the 6-cylinder engine..