2020 Subaru Outback

#2 in Wagons

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MSRP: $26,645 - 39,695

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Subaru Outback ranked #2 in Wagons. Currently the Subaru Outback has a score of 8.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 12 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 8.1
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2020 Subaru Outback Review

The fully redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback has a classy cabin and serves up plenty of passenger and cargo space. It ranks competitively among wagons despite so-so standard engine power and some slight hiccups with the infotainment system.

Pros & Cons

  • High-end interior
  • Powerful optional turbocharged engine
  • Roomy seating and large cargo hold
  • Admirable off-road capability
  • Slight infotainment learning curve
  • So-so standard engine

Is the Subaru Outback a Good Wagon?

Yes, the Outback is a good wagon. For this next-generation Outback, Subaru took much of what has made the car so popular over the years and enhanced it. The cabin is awash in high-end materials, both rows of seats offer ample room to relax, and cargo capacity is excellent for the class.

This Subaru has some decent off-road chops, and its on-road manners are generally pleasing as well. While the standard engine merely gets the job done, a newly optional turbocharged variant delivers more authority.

Should I Buy the Subaru Outback?

The 2020 Outback is certainly worth a look from a wide range of shoppers. Outdoorsy types who need a car to venture on trails or gravel will like the standard all-wheel drive and good ground clearance. Families should appreciate its two rows of roomy seats and abundance of active safety features. Overall, the Outback is a good buy, with a long list of standard equipment and a reasonable base price.

Subaru loyalists should cross-shop the Outback against the Forester SUV, as these two utility vehicles have a lot in common. The Toyota RAV4 is another well-rounded option, especially the Adventure trim with dynamic torque vectoring and all-wheel drive.

Compare the Outback, Forester, and RAV4 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Outback?

The 2020 Subaru Outback is fully redesigned. There are several changes that make this Outback more modern and fun than previous models. An optional 260-horsepower turbocharged engine is the first forced-induction powertrain in the Outback since 2009. Previously, a 256-horsepower six-cylinder engine was the available powertrain choice. An 11.6-inch touch-screen infotainment system makes its debut and is standard in all but the base model. Driver distraction monitoring is also available in the Outback for the first time. Lastly, a new Onyx Edition brings unique design elements to the lineup, as well as slightly enhanced off-road abilities and rugged upholstery.

You'll likely save money by buying an Outback from the previous generation, but you'll have to weigh your potential savings against differences in models. The previous generation began in 2015, and there were several changes over the years. The 2016 Outback received an updated steering system and available lane keep assist. For 2017, Subaru introduced available reverse automatic emergency braking. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay debuted in the 2018 Outback, and for 2019, the EyeSight driver assistance bundle was made standard.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Outback and 2019 Outback reviews to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Outback »

We Did the Research for You: 12 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 12 Subaru Outback reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Outback is the right new car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Subaru Outback Cost?

The 2020 Subaru Outback starts at $26,645. The wagon class has a large price disparity, with the Outback being the most expensive among the more-affordable vehicles in the segment. Several other wagons start at around $40,000 and above.

The Outback comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, and the highest trim with that powertrain starts at $37,345. Starting prices for models equipped with the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine range from $34,895 to $39,695.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Outback Versus the Competition

The Subaru Outback is a wagon that also competes with compact SUVs. It can also be measured against hatchback versions of some compact cars.

Which Is Better: Subaru Outback or Subaru Forester?

The Subaru Forester was redesigned for the 2019 model year, and this crossover is pretty similar to the Outback. Both have standard all-wheel drive and the same base 182-horsepower boxer engine. However, the Outback offers a more powerful turbocharged option. Both of these Subarus have roomy seating and a lot of cargo space, as well as numerous driver assistance features. Despite the redesign, the Forester features a standard 6.5-inch infotainment display with an 8-inch option, while the Outback debuts a fancy, available 11.6-inch touch screen. All things considered, both of these Subies should appeal to anyone shopping within the brand. Take both for a spin and see which suits your needs and lifestyle.

Which Is Better: Subaru Outback or Toyota RAV4?

Like the Outback, the Toyota RAV4 has spacious seating, a cavernous cargo hold, and lots of standard active safety features. After a full redesign for 2019, the RAV4 has a noticeably nicer interior than its previous generation, but the Outback is a little more upscale. The Toyota is a little less expensive across its trim range compared to the Subaru, so it’s a great value when you consider its long list of standard equipment. The RAV4 also has a slight edge in overall performance. Its lone engine is plenty powerful, and handling is relatively composed. We wouldn’t fault you for going with either of these capable vehicles, but the RAV4 is a little better.

Which Is Better: Subaru Outback or Subaru Impreza?

The Subaru Impreza is available as a sedan and a hatchback, the latter of which is another decent model that should appeal to Outback shoppers. The Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive, and while it doesn’t offer as much cargo space as the Outback, it has ample room for a compact car. The Outback has a nicer interior, a better predicted reliability rating, and more standard safety features than the Impreza, but it also costs thousands of dollars more. You should buy an Impreza if you want a roomy, all-wheel-drive car for less money and don’t need all of the Outback’s added features. If your budget allows, go with the Outback. It’s a better all-around vehicle.

Compare the Outback, RAV4, and Impreza »

Outback Interior

How Many People Does the Outback Seat?

The Subaru Outback holds five people. The front seats offer good outward visibility in all directions thanks to thin roof pillars and a high seating position. There's ample head- and legroom for taller drivers and passengers, and the seats are comfortable and supportive. The base model only offers a handful of manual adjustments, but higher trim levels give you up to 10 power adjustments that make it easier to find the ideal position.

Cloth upholstery is standard, and you can also choose from genuine leather or Nappa leather seats. The new outdoor-oriented Outback Onyx Edition features water-repellant synthetic leather that's easy to clean. Optional features include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The Outback is just as accommodating in back as it is for front-seat occupants. Even taller riders in the second row will enjoy ample space to stretch out.

Outback and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the Outback's rear outboard seats.

Outback Interior Quality

Across its trim lineup, the Outback boasts a handsome interior full of quality materials. The available infotainment screen is large and gives the cabin a cool, high-tech feel.

Outback Cargo Space

The Outback has 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind its second row. You can fold down the back seats completely flat to open up a maximum capacity of 75.7 cubic feet. The load floor is low, making it easy to lift in heavy things, and the hatch opening is wide and tall for larger, bulky items. You can opt for a hands-free power liftgate.

The Outback's cargo volume is excellent for a wagon, and it matches up well against some compact SUVs. The Subaru Forester serves up 35.4 cubic feet of space with the second row up and a maximum of 76.1 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The Toyota RAV4 has 37.6 and 69.8 cubic feet with those parameters.

Outback Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The base Outback has a dual-screen infotainment system, with each display measuring 7 inches. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, as well as satellite radio and two front USB ports, are standard.

The big story is a newly available 11.6-inch vertical touch screen. It makes the Outback look futuristic and serves as the command center for most of the car’s functions. Some controls are buried in multiple menus, and while the screen is generally responsive, a few reviewers noted that the display misread their inputs and clicked on erroneous virtual buttons. If this large display sounds intimidating, don’t fret – there are some traditional knobs and buttons for common controls. They’re clearly marked and easy to operate, even with gloves on.

Available amenities in the Outback include remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, a Rockford Fosgate stereo, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo, two rear USB ports, HD Radio, navigation, and wireless device charging.

Read more about interior »

Outback Performance

Outback Engine: Turbo Is the Way to Go

The 2020 Outback comes standard with a 182-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. This is the same powertrain found in some other Subarus, such as the Forester. It has enough power to easily get you moving from a stop and up to speed. Don't expect it to be overly thrilling though.

A 2.4-liter turbocharged engine is introduced with this new generation. Its 260 horses are most noticeable at higher speeds and when passing on the freeway.

All models feature a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). When paired with the base engine, Subaru's Lineartronic CVT has adequate acceleration. In most scenarios, it simulates traditional gear shifts well enough and is a capable partner to the turbocharged engine.

Outback Gas Mileage: About Average

With the base engine, the Outback returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are on par with many wagons. Models with the turbocharged engine earn 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

By comparison, the Toyota RAV4 gets up to 27/34 mpg city/highway. The Subaru Impreza is rated at up to 28/38 mpg.

Outback Ride and Handling: Responsive

The all-wheel-drive Outback stays planted around turns, with controlled body motions that deliver a plush, comfortable ride, even over broken pavement. Test drivers noted that the car generally has responsive handling and even feels a little athletic.

Outback Off-Roading

The Outback can't match some SUVs when it comes to venturing off the beaten path, but it holds its own. This wagon has a respectable 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and its standard X-Mode off-road driving setting includes hill descent control. The new-for-2020 Outback Onyx Edition ramps things up with added deep snow and mud settings. It also boasts a front-view camera for navigating trails and unconventional paths.

Outback Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds with the standard engine. The turbo Outback has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Outback Reliability

Is the Subaru Outback Reliable?

The 2020 Subaru Outback has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Subaru Outback Warranty

Subaru covers the Outback with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Outback Safety

Outback Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Subaru Outback.

Outback Safety Features

The Outback comes standard with the EyeSight suite of driver assistance technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Automatic high-beam headlights and a rearview camera are also standard.

Optional active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, driver distraction monitoring, and a front-view camera.

Read more about safety »

Outback Dimensions and Weight

The Subaru Outback is 15.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,634 to 3,937 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Subaru Outback Built?

Subaru builds the 2020 Outback in Indiana.

Which Subaru Outback Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Subaru Outback comes in four main trims: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. A four-cylinder engine is standard, and a turbocharged four-cylinder variant comes in XT models (Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring). All Outbacks feature a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Those who want a more thrilling drive should spring for any of the XT models with the turbo engine, provided there’s room in your budget. It'll cost you around $35,000 to get a turbocharged Outback.

Among the regular trims, the Outback Premium is a good combination of features and price. You'll get the upgraded 11.6-inch infotainment screen, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and two rear USB ports. That's on top of the base model's long list of standard equipment, which includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, forward automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist.

Subaru Outback

The 2020 Subaru Outback starts at $26,645. Standard features include cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, a four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, automatic climate control, and LED headlights. The Starlink infotainment system features a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, two USB ports, a four-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth.

Standard driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera.

Optional features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a Rockford Fosgate stereo, and remote start.

Subaru Outback Premium

With a base price of $28,895, the Outback Premium comes with heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED fog lights, two rear USB ports, a six-speaker stereo, an 11.6-inch touch screen, and HD Radio.

Two packages are available with this trim. One costs $1,400 and adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, proximity keyless entry, and a hands-free power liftgate. The other retails for $2,995, and it has all the features of the previous bundle in addition to a moonroof and navigation. Wireless device charging is optional for $245.

Subaru Outback Limited

The $33,445 Outback Limited features standard leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated rear seats, proximity keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, and a hands-free power liftgate.

The optional package here costs $2,045 and includes a moonroof, a heated steering wheel, navigation, and driver distraction monitoring.

Subaru Outback Touring

The Outback Touring starts at $37,345. Standard features include Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, driver distraction monitoring, and a moonroof.

Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT

The new Outback Onyx Edition starts at $34,895 and has unique interior and exterior design elements, including water-repellant synthetic leather upholstery. It has the same features as the Premium trim, along with a front-view camera and an upgraded off-road driving mode.

For $1,845, you can add a package that includes a moonroof, navigation, and reverse automatic emergency braking.

Subaru Outback Limited XT

The Outback Limited XT has a base price of $37,745. It includes all of the regular Limited trim's amenities, along with a moonroof, a heated steering wheel, navigation, and driver distraction monitoring.

Subaru Outback Touring XT

The Touring XT comes with pretty much all the features you can get in the Outback, and it starts at $39,695.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2020 Subaru Outback specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Subaru Outback drives well both on and off road. It has an expansive, upscale cabin and a long list of standard and available features. If you’re looking for a utilitarian five-door vehicle, the redesigned 2020 Outback should be on your list.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The all-new 2020 Outback isn't a revolutionary upgrade over its predecessor, but rather, it's evolutionary. Subaru did a great job taking everything that people loved about the Outback and making it even better by giving it an updated look, a nicer, roomier interior, and a huge, user-friendly available infotainment system plus generous standard safety tech. It also improves on the composed on-road manners and rugged off-road capabilities you expect from an Outback." -- Autotrader
  • "It may not be a legitimate off-roader like a Jeep Wrangler, but the Outback's purpose more befits a lifestyle vehicle that projects outdoorsy intentions even when confined to tarmac. Still, for drivers who enjoy exploring off the beaten path, the 2020 Outback has impressive trail chops, with comfort and capacity for everyday needs." -- Motor Trend
  • "The new Outback is subtly improved in every way. But it’s the new interior (especially that 11.6-inch touchscreen) as well as the turbocharged engine option that would have us trading in our old wagon for this new one." -- Autoweek

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 11, 2019

Class-Leading Sales: The Subaru Outback is the best-selling wagon on the market in 2019, although sales have remained constant this year relative to the same period last year. Competing crossover SUVs, however, such as the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, are outselling the Outback by at least 93 percent.

Research more buying advice »
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