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FIRST LOOK: 2020 Subaru Outback brings back turbo option


Subaru recently took the cover off of their latest utility vehicle to show the world what the next-generation 2020 Subaru Outback will look like.

The incoming next-generation version of the Japanese automaker’s high-clearance wagon is totally new from the ground up, features an extensively reworked standard engine, and debuts two new safety ‘firsts’ for the brand.

The 2020 Outback will also mark the return of available turbocharged power under the hood.

Subaru hopes you’ll find the new silhouette to look more athletic and dynamic, and they’ve given the new Outback a fresh take on its distinctive looks, which have long blended rugged and upscale.

There’s 220 millimetres of ground clearance which should be plenty for most shoppers, thanks to Outback’s modestly-lifted suspension.

There’s bigger news under the skin — thanks to a new body structure that’s no less than 70 per cent stiffer than the outgoing machine. Use of structural adhesives is up 371 per cent, and use of light and tough high-tensile steel is up 13 per cent, too. This all combines to make a body that’s stiffer, stronger safer, quieter, and more comfortable.

Notably, a super-rigid body structure like this forms a better foundation upon which to mount and tune the vehicle’s suspension, meaning that former Outback owners can expect better ride quality from the incoming model, too.

The new Outback is a bit longer than its predecessor, and there’s more space between the front and rear wheels — which means bigger door openings for easier access. The cargo opening has also been enlarged, and a hands-free power tailgate will be available.

What’s under the hood? Canadian models will get a new 2.5 litre Boxer engine this time around, and Subaru says this latest version of their staple four-cylinder engine is built using nearly 90 per cent new parts. This standard engine is good for 182 horsepower.

The up-level engine option is Subaru’s new 2.4-litre Boxer turbo four-cylinder, and it develops 260 horsepower and a serious 277 pound-feet of torque. Expect very pleasing performance from this new engine, which is also used by the new Subaru Ascent crossover.

It’s unclear at this writing whether or not the turbocharged Outback XT will come with the signature hood-scoop included on many current and former turbocharged Subaru models.

Of course, Symmetrical AWD is standard, and the engineers even tweaked the Outback’s traction-enhancing X-Mode system to now offer two settings — one for dirt and snow, and the other for mud, or very deep snow.

With the turbo engine, you’re clear to tow 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. Both engines are available solely with a Continually Variable Transmission (CVT). Current information suggests that no manual transmission will be available.

If you’re set on shifting your own gears, consider checking out the very comparable Volkswagen Golf AllTrack, which is offered with all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual.

Safety enthusiasts can take note of two safety firsts that debut with the 2020 Subaru Outback.

The first is called DriverFocus, and it uses facial recognition technology to determine if you might be getting drowsy or distracted at the wheel. If you are, it can alert you to take corrective action.

The second has no name, and lives deep beneath the Outback’s body. This ‘first’ consists of a new floor cross-member that’s full of a rigid, dual-density lightweight foam.

This targeted structural reinforcement helps the new Outback absorb over 40 per cent more impact energy from front-side collisions.

Look for more details and pricing before the new 2020 Outback goes on sale this fall.


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