Crossover & Midsize

Recall Alert: The 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy Suffer From an Unusual Issue

As far as all-around great daily drivers go, you could do way worse than a 2020 Subaru Outback or Legacy. However, as both models get major tech updates, there were bound to be surprise issues. Subaru acted quickly and issued an over the air update to fix this unusual tech problem. According to CarComplaints, however, the update did not clear the issue, and now over 7,000 of these vehicles have been recalled in the U.S.

What is wrong with the 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy?

A blue 2021 Subaru Legacy parked in a city
The 2021 Subaru Legacy | Photo via Subaru

One of the greatest upgrades rolled out for both the 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy was an available 11.6-inch vertically oriented infotainment screen. However, this very screen is that the core of this newest issue. Additionally, the base infotainment screen is also affected. According to CarComplaints, this newest issue surrounds the rear back up camera specifically. In short, the camera display randomly goes blank during operation.

According to CarComplaints, this unusual issue currently affects 6,768 Subaru Outback models and 973 Legacy sedans. To resolve the issue, Subaru decided to roll out an over-the-air update. The update reached customers between August 17th and 21st of this year. Unfortunately, the software update could not fix the issue, pointing toward a potential hardware issue that needs addressing.

Why didn’t the original over the air update work?

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One of the main draws of over the air updates is the ability to fix issues with your vehicle remotely. Unfortunately, the one issued for the Subaru Outback and Legacy failed due to a hardware issue. According to CarComplaints, the data writing speeds of the screens’ flash memory did not allow for the update to install properly. As a result, owners of these vehicles have remained with this issue for the past several problems.

To fix it, you’ll have to take your Subaru Outback or Legacy into the dealership to get revised. According to CarComplaints, Subaru will attempt to remedy the issue by reprogramming the onboard software at the dealership. However, if the reprogramming fails, the Japanese carmaker plans to replace the cockpit control modules completely. The result here is that the fix could prove quite difficult if the needed part is not readily available.

This Subaru Outback and Legacy recall begins officially on January 22, 2021. At that point, the manufacturer contacts owners of affected vehicles to notify them of the issue. From there, you’ll receive an appointment at the dealership to perform the repair. However, given potential parts scarcity, you’ll want to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Are these Subaru vehicles still worth buying?

Subaru Outback during the Moscow International Motor Show 'Autosalon 2014' the leading automotive event of the year
The Subaru Outback | Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While this newest recall may be inconvenient, it is a relatively small issue in the grand scheme of things. As a result, the 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy are still very much worth buying.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Outback is one of the highest-rated vehicles in its class. This includes excellent owner satisfaction ratings and impressive performance during the road test. The only area where the outback did not excel was in the predicted reliability section, where the model suffered from minor issues.

The Legacy doesn’t fall far behind either, receiving very similar scores across the various testing categories. However, the sedan managed to score even higher during the road test, only falling short during the acceleration category. As a result, both of these Subarus should absolutely still be on your radar.