Subaru premieres next-generation 2020 Outback

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News
2020 Subaru Outback

New York — Subaru debuted its all-new 2020 Outback as the automaker continues to improve U.S. sales with its crossover-heavy lineup.

The Outback wagon is Subaru's top-selling vehicle in the U.S. Through the first quarter of the year, the automaker sold nearly 42,000 of them, which was down slightly from last year as buyers opted for the newer Forester. Overall Subaru sales were up to 156,754 through March, up 4.7 percent for the year.

2020 Subaru Outback

The new Outback aims to continue that momentum when it goes on sale in the fall. The automaker is planning seven trim levels. It comes with standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, and Subaru's driver-assist technology suite.

The exterior gets some changes to give the Outback a more rugged look.

It also gets new engine options. Subaru is offering a turbocharged engine standard on the Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT models. It's a 2.4-liter boxer engine that delivers 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpms and 277 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpms. That steps up from the standard 2.5-liter boxer engine that delivers 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpms and 176 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpms.

All 2020 models have a Lineartronic CVT transmission. That helps the 2.5-liter engine boast a 600-mile range on a single tank of gas, according to Subaru. The automaker is estimating a 26-mpg city and 33-mpg highway fuel economy rating for the standard engine. The turbocharged engine is estimated at 23 mpg and 30 mpg, respectively.

The standard driver-assist package includes adaptive cruise-control with lane-centering and a segment-exclusive DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System that uses an infrared camera and facial-recognition technology to check the driver for signs of fatigue or distraction. When it does, the vehicle will warn the driver and passengers with audio or visual cues. 

2020 Subaru Outback

The Outback also comes standard with steering-responsive LED headlamps, reverse automatic-braking, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. The 2020 model also has a "front view monitor" to capture images in the driver's blind spots and display them on the standard 11.6-inch screen on the center console.

The 2020 Outback boasts 75.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Roof rails with retractable crossbars and tie-downs are standard.

2020 Subaru Outback

Inside, the 2020 model gets new entertainment perks with a larger touchscreen display. The vehicle now has on-screen controls for audio, air conditioning and heat, and other features. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming. The vehicle can also get over-the-air updates. 

Subaru plans to announce pricing for the Outback closer to the fall launch.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau