If you want a dependable car with a comfortable ride, any kind of Subaru is usually a safe bet. The Subaru Impreza sedan has one of the coziest interiors and comes with plenty of features at a low price. If you need something a little more outdoorsy, the Crosstrek is definitely a capable off-roader. Another good model to consider is the redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback.
Outback drivers now have more cargo space, plenty of new cabin tech, and a turbo engine offering. So far, it’s garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews. Here’s why Consumer Reports named it the best all-wheel-drive wagon on the market.
Even better than before
The Subaru Outback was already a great car, but its fresh face makes it even more exciting. Even in the lowest trim, critics agree that the cabin definitely looks more upscale than in previous years. The standard wagon also comes equipped with Bluetooth, smartphone integration, automatic climate control, and plenty of safety features.
The Outback is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The new available turbocharged four-cylinder makes 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both are paired with a CVT. While the new turbo is considerably more powerful, the base engine is more efficient.
The Subaru Outback is very reliable
Consumer Reports gave the Outback a near-perfect reliability rating. This is a big improvement from the 2018 model, which only scored a two out of five for reliability. Surveyed owners reported having a lot of difficulties with the infotainment system and certain power equipment.
Faulty in-car electronics seem to be a trend for the Subaru Outback, but it doesn’t affect the car’s overall performance. This car also scores high on predicted owner satisfaction. CR estimates that four out of five owners will want to buy the Outback again or recommend it to others.
Top-notch performance and quality
Consumer Reports was particularly impressed with the Subaru Outback’s CVT. When paired with the available turbo engine, reviewers said that there was barely any engine noise to be heard. They also appreciated how fast the trims with the turbo engine can be, going from 0-60 mph in just over seven seconds. The base engine is also fairly quick, but it feels strained during steep climbs or while passing other cars.
CR’s testers used the top-of-the-line XT trim for this review, so the cabin is predictably luxurious. The shiny chrome and black accents on the doors look great, the seats are comfortable, and there are many soft-touch surfaces. The only hard plastic component to be seen is the bin in front of the center console.
How well does the Subaru Outback drive?
As to be expected from a Subaru, the Outback provides drivers with a comfortable ride. The high-quality seats are perfect for long drives and the suspension can absorb any bumps or jolts. Engine noise is minimal for higher trims, but hasty acceleration may cause the base engine to growl.
Despite its large size, CR found that the Outback handles itself pretty well around corners. It also performed well during the avoidance maneuver test. The steering feels somewhat numb, but the car does have excellent brakes.
Does the Subaru Outback have any downsides?
Consumer Reports noted that the Outback’s infotainment system is a big hassle to use. The initial setup is a breeze and the graphics look vibrant. However, it suffers from laggy input and confusing menus. New Outback drivers should prepare for a learning curve.
Still, this was the only major flaw CR found with the vehicle. Even if you’re not a fan of station wagons, you’ll probably still find something to love about the Subaru Outback.