The 2020 Subaru Outback XT – Quickness at a Cost

When you think of the Subaru brand, you likely correlate the brand with reliability, safety, and value. The automaker markets itself as a feel-good brand that focuses on family, off-pavement adventures, and charities. You might not right away imagine Subaru as a high-performance contender. But the 2020 Subaru Outback XT changes things and brings a whole new level of quickness to the already popular Outback. But paying for speed and acceleration might not be your cup of tea, especially with a Subaru.

A performance-ready Subaru Outback XT

MotorTrend recently offered a review of the 2020 Subaru Outback XT. In the team’s evaluation process, they often keep and drive a vehicle over the course of an entire year and 10,000 miles. And the initial reaction to this speedy variation of the Outback is that it’s almost as fast as the WRX. It might even be the quickest SUV in its class right now. The XT translates to a 260-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And this Outback variation can scoot.

Some performance hiccups

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The MotorTrend review does offer a few asterisks next to their thrilling experience with the Outback XT. The team cites tuning issues with the automatic CVT. And test-driving over the course of 10,000 miles, these types of hiccups did present. The transmission would sometimes bog down, even in mild acceleration scenarios. The shifting to the MotorTrend gang was a little too aggressive, even feeling like “fake shifts” when coming to a stop.

Another issue that manifested over the last year is the engine’s stop/start system. The engine essentially “sleeps” and “reawakens,” but sometimes at the wrong time. Sitting at a stoplight, for example, the engine wakes up and might edge forward if you’re not applying ample brake pressure. And there might be an occasional shake during idles. Aside from these few concerns and a service call light the team had to venture to the dealership to remedy, the Outback XT earned high marks.

Why you can’t go wrong with a Subaru Outback

Most of your available 2020 and 2021 Subaru Outback models will come equipped with a satisfying 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of harnessing 182 hp. It’s not XT fast, but MotorTrend did clock this smaller engine at an impressive 8.7-seconds in a 0 to 60 mph test. And aside from performance, the Outback is chock-full of driver assistance features and infotainment extras. From the 11-inch tablet-style touchscreen to the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, J.D. Power suggests there is tremendous value in this SUV. You can’t go wrong with its ground clearance, off-road potential, and capable workhorse mentality, either.

Cars.com points out the 2020 Subaru Outback’s best features, including an improved riding and handling experience overall. Fuel economy is respectable for a midsize crossover. And there’s no question the Outback is a leader in versatility. There is incredible value too, with a starting MSRP of $26,645. Premium, Limited, and Touring trims are also available before exploring the XT trims.

Is it worth the extra cash?

The Onyx Edition and highest-level Touring XT of the Subaru Outback will cost between $34,000 and $39,000. If you’re looking to add a significant boost of power to an already capable Outback, you might feel it’s worth the extra few thousand to get it. The Outback Touring XT will offer all the same features and extras that the Outback Touring provides, only with a more powerful engine. It’s up to you to decide if the quicker engine is worth the roughly $4,000 difference.

The 2020 Subaru Outback XT is certainly impressive and seems to get two thumbs up from the year-long MotorTrend test run. Just know that added quickness will also come at a cost.