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Can the 2020 Subaru Outback Actually Go ‘Out Back’ and Off-Road?

Subaru is one of the rare car brands that has a stereotype that it fully embraces, and it’s the fact that Subaru and Subaru owners love the outdoors. Subaru makes a lot of SUVs that can handle the outdoors well, and the Outback is no exception. Here’s a look at how useful the 2020 Subaru Outback is off-road.

The 2020 Subaru Outback performed well in the 2,000-mile test

A Subaru Outback on display at an auto show
A Subaru Outback on display | David Graff/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

MotorTrend recently took a 2020 Outback on a 2,000-mile long trip from Los Angeles to Colorado and back in order to test the Outback’s capabilities, and generally speaking, MotorTrend was impressed by it. This trip had it all, and it tested the Outback in many situations that a regular driver would probably experience when they’re driving the Outback.

During such a long trip, MotorTrend wrote that the ride quality of most cars is so bad that the test driver has to “give up.” However, Subaru, which is known for its impressive ride quality, lived up to that reputation, and MotorTrend’s test driver was able to drive for 17 hours straight due to how comfortable the 2020 Outback was. 

While the Outback was comfortable on the road, MotorTrend also wanted to test the Outback and see how comfortable it was off the road. That’s where the rocky trails of Colorado came in, and, unsurprisingly, the 2020 Outback did well off-road, too.

How the 2020 Subaru Outback performed off-road

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MotorTrend said that, thanks to the Outback’s standard all-wheel drive, as well as its 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Outback handled most of those rocky trails well. MotorTrend didn’t just compare the Outback’s performance to nothing, either.

The test driver’s in-laws in Colorado had a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and that Jeep handled a lot of those same trails with ease, too. They doubted that the Outback could handle those trails, but of course, it did.

That said, MotorTrend didn’t go as far as to say that the Outback was better than the Grand Cherokee was in terms of off-roading. However, MotorTrend wrote that the Outback should be able to handle most off-road terrains and trails with ease, with the exception of “the most severe stuff.” 

On top of that, MotorTrend had tested other versions of the Outback before, and each one performed similarly well off-road. That’s because Outbacks have X Mode as well as hill-descent control, and when both of those features work with the Outback’s standard all-wheel drive, off-roading becomes much easier than usual.

What else is great about this wagon?

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Subaru offers a lot of standard features on the 2020 Outback, and MotorTrend thought that some were simply great for long road trips like what the test driver went on. For example, the 2020 Outback comes with adaptive cruise control as standard. Adaptive cruise control isn’t really useful off-road, but in traffic, it’s a blessing. 

MotorTrend’s test driver didn’t trust the Outback’s adaptive cruise control at first, but when the test driver started trusting it, they said that “The difference in comfort was notable.” Adaptive cruise control is very helpful when a car is stuck in traffic since it takes away a lot of the hassle that comes with that situation. 

Along with adaptive cruise control, the 2020 Outback comes with other great features, such as a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and more, according to U.S. news. The 2020 Outback also starts at about $27,000, and it comes with a relatively fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets an EPA-estimated 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on highways.