Useful station wagons aren’t very popular. That’s a shame, because they offer so much utility and usually at a lower price.
Part of the problem is they aren’t as macho-looking as crossovers. So, Subaru wisely gave their wagon a lift and all-wheel drive to mimic the better traits of a tall crossover.
But the Subaru Outback is more than just a taller wagon; it’s still easy to drive and there is a ton of space inside.
For 2020, the revised Outback sees a big upgrade inside that large cabin. The materials are much nicer than before, with a richer look and feel. Subaru seats are generally a bit more firm than the competition, but they seem softer for 2020. The NAV and touch screen are improved too. The 11.6-inch tablet-style screen has better resolution, and that large size makes it a snap to use.
The Outback Touring XT has good power, too, thanks to a new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with 260 hp.
The CVT transmission works well with the turbo engine and acts like a normal transmission most of the time. The high ground clearance is good for snow, and even some off-roading. The all-wheel-drive system keeps the Outback very confident and the handling was surprisingly good, though there is some body lean in the faster corners.
Cost: $39,695; as tested, $40,705.
MPG: 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway; I managed 21.3 mpg in 279 miles of mixed driving.
Safety: EyeSight assist monitor; EyeSight driver assistance technology; DriverFocus distraction mitigation system; blind spot detection; lane change assist; reverse automatic braking.
Things to know: The 2020 Subaru Outback has been redone to better compete in the market. More power and a better interior make a more pleasant car to drive for a long time. It can even tow 3,500 pounds!
- Turbo four-cylinder engine provides plenty of power
- Better interior, with a lot of space that puts most crossovers to shame
- AWD system handles most conditions without any fuss
- Fuel economy with the turbo engine is lacking
- Pricey in top level trim
- Climate controls are small and at the bottom of the touch screen