Classed as a wagon, midsize crossover, and two-row SUV, the Subaru Outback continues to demonstrate its diversity and consumer appeal. The 2021 Outback, along with the Forester and Crosstrek, are getting a serious off-road upgrade, attracting the attention of car experts who really like the Outback as the “black sheep” of midsize crossovers.
The 2020 Subaru Outback also brought benefits that have carried over to the 2021 model.
The Subaru Outback’s infotainment system
The huge touchscreen on the 2020 and 2021 Subaru Outback offers plenty of showroom appeal. It practically begs to be explored. However, MotorTrend reported that the technology wasn’t well-received during the 2020 SUV of the Year testing. The Outback’s infotainment system was complicated and unintuitive. And the Apple CarPlay display appeared too small given the screen’s vertical orientation. There were also tiny, soft HVAC buttons.
But recent updates to the Outback’s infotainment system have eliminated many of the previous frustrations, MotorTrend reports. The new system is perfect for those who enjoy adjusting settings that optimize displays. On the 2021 model, you get options like X-Mode settings, “see audio” info, and a three-way split screen. The improved display includes a compass, speed limit display, and calendar. The system includes nine icons for customizing sound settings, navigation, and other options. You can also set a home-screen shortcut and satellite radio preset.
There’s also a feature carried over from the 2020 model that music lovers likely enjoy. It involves the system’s display. It shows an entire song title and artist name without cutting off the text. That’s an issue that even larger displays can’t seem to get right.
However, there are still a few negatives. The system upgrade failed to address those soft HVAC buttons. They require too much concentration and pose a potential distraction from the road. Additionally, temperature adjustments on either side of the touchscreen are awkward because they don’t protrude far enough.
Additional improvements to Outback’s infotainment system
According to Subaru, 2020 and 2021 Outback updates are available at the dealer using a USB or over-the-air from your driveway. The updates include improved built-in navigation maps. The former TomTom-based system would default to the original map orientation on restart instead of saving the configuration the driver chose the last time.
Additionally, the empty area below the Apple CarPlay display is gone, allowing whatever app you’re using to take up a greater portion of the screen. It also allows Apple map directions to appear in the instrument cluster display and at the top of the big display. Other improvements include an engine stop/start shortcut button on the home screen and enhanced voice recognition. The update also addressed bugs and other performance issues.
The new infotainment system is less frustrating than before
Subaru continues to take major strides in improving the Outback’s offerings. And the automaker hasn’t ignored the little things that create a pleasant driving experience.
Upgrades to the 2020 and 2021 Outback’s infotainment systems are less frustrating than before. They allow users a more intuitive and less complicated experience when listening to music, adjusting and/or monitoring vehicle systems, and navigating on the highway or off-road.