2020 Subaru Outback adds turbo and huge touchscreen to fan-favorite

Subaru's 2020 Outback has a lot to live up to. The all-new version of the perennially popular SUV enters its sixth generation with two big boasts: first, that it's the safest Outback so far, and second, that it's the most capable.

The car makes its debut at the New York Auto Show 2019, and as you'd expect there's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Subaru is also throwing in its EyeSight Driver Assist technology as standard, too.

It uses the same Subaru Global Platform as the 2020 Legacy and 2019 Ascent, which the automaker says should mean less noise, vibration, and harshness in the ride. Indeed, Subaru claims the cabin is almost 3 dB quieter at highway speeds than its predecessor.

On the outside, you get 8.7-inches of ground clearance, despite the Outback sharing no small amount of the silhouette with a wagon. It rises on MacPherson struts up front, while the rear has a double-wishbone layout.

The standard engine is a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated BOXER, with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. For the first time on an Outback, though, there'll also be a turbocharged option. Standard on the 2020 Outback XT is a 2.4-liter turbo with 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.

Either way, you get a Lineartronic CVT which can simulate an 8-speed manual transmission. There are paddle shifters, and up to 3,500 pounds of towing capacity from the turbo engine. The 2.5-liter is expected to deliver 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, while the 2.4 turbo should do 23 mpg and 30 mpg respectively.

Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist uses stereo cameras and other sensors to add adaptive cruise control with lane centering to the 2020 Outback. Facing inward, meanwhile, there's a driver focus system, using an infrared camera and facial recognition to monitor the person behind the wheel for signs that they're getting tired or distracted. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert are optional, as is steering-responsive lighting.

New for the 2020 model year is Front View Monitor. That uses a front camera to give a 180-degree view of the terrain ahead of the Outback on the 11.6-inch dashboard display.

As well as the usual Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, Limited XT, and Touring XT trims, there's a new 2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT. That gets black finish exterior trim and special, matching 18-inch alloy wheels. The inside of the Onyx trim is gray two-tone, with water-repellant StarTex fabric. It also gets the hands-free tailgate as standard.

Limited and Touring models get 10-way power front seats and heating front and rear. The 2020 Outback extends the seat heating to three levels, and spreads the coverage up to the shoulders. Touring trim gets ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Up to four USB ports and two 12V outlets are available.

In the trunk, there's up to 75.7 cubic feet of space. Subaru says the opening of the 2020 Outback is wider, too, and with the rear seats down there's a cargo floor length of 78 inches. Roof rails with integrated, retractable cross bars and tie-downs are also standard.

As for tech, the 11.6-inch touchscreen is standard on all but the Base trim. It now handles multimedia, HVAC, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and apps. The 2020 Outback gets the Chimani national park app, a first in the segment, while a WiFi hotspot with LTE radio is optional, as is a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.

The 2020 Subaru Outback will go on sale this fall, the automaker says. Pricing will be confirmed closer to release.