Subaru Outback (BT)

Subaru Outback (Front)
Subaru Outback (Front) – Photo by Kevauto
Subaru Outback (Rear)
Subaru Outback (Rear) – Photo by Kevauto
Subaru Outback (Interior)
Subaru Outback (Interior) – Photo by Tokumeigakarinoaoshima

Subaru Outback

Model Years Produced: 2020 to Current

The Subaru Outback has long been the king of practicality, and the latest iteration of it just makes everything that little bit better. Despite looking somewhat like a lifted station wagon, the Outback embarrasses many SUVs when it comes to interior volume and ground clearance. The interior materials are a step up from the previous generation, especially on the top “Touring” trim, although build quality still isn’t on the level of its other Japanese competitors. The turbocharged engine is the one to get – not only is the base engine quite slow, but it’s unrefined enough to make the car feel generally worse just for having it.

The primary sore point of the vehicle is the infotainment system. Subaru ditched the physical climate controls of the previous generation and integrated them into a giant Tesla-like screen in the center stack for better or worse. It looks high-tech, but the implementation leaves something to be desired – nearly every media outlet covering the Outback has complained about infotainment lag. Everything climate, from the fans to the temperature to the heated/ventilated seats, is in that screen, so make sure you give it a good test drive before you buy.

Verdict

Pros

  • Turbocharged engine is properly fast
  • Ride and seats are very comfortable
  • Extremely practical, down to small touches like the roof crossbars being integrated into the rails
  • Excellent visibility
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • All climate control functions are now controlled by the infotainment rather than physical buttons or even a separate touchscreen like on some luxury cars, meaning adjustments require taking focus away from the road and looking at the screen instead of simply reaching for a knob – plus you have to wait for the system to boot up after starting the car before you can make changes in the first place
  • Infotainment is very laggy (compounding how annoying the previous bullet point is)
  • Build quality isn’t great – squeaks and rattles should not be unexpected
  • Base engine is glacially slow and feels unrefined
  • Significant throttle delay from the CVT, compounded by turbo lag on turbocharged models

Reviews

Consumer Reports

SavageGeese


Other Outlets

Specifications

All figures are as of 2022 model year.

  • Transmission: Subaru CVT
  • Drivetrain: AWD standard
    • 2-speed transfer case not available
    • Electronically locking center differential not available
    • Electronically locking rear differential not available
  • Base curb weight: 3637 lbs
  • Max cargo capacity: 75.7 cu ft
  • Seating: 2 rows
  • Rear leg room: 39.5 in
  • Towing capacity: 2700 lbs

Engines

Subaru FB25D - 2.5L H4

Power Figures

  • 182 hp
  • 176 lb-ft

Fuel Economy

  • 29mpg combined
  • 26mpg city
  • 33mpg highway

Subaru FA24F - 2.4L H4 Turbocharged

Standard engine on “XT” trim levels (e.g. Limited XT) and the Wilderness trim

Power Figures

  • 260 hp
  • 277 lb-ft

Fuel Economy

  • 26mpg combined
  • 23mpg city
  • 30mpg highway