For more than 20 years now, the Subaru Outback has been catering to those who want a station wagon, but need just a bit more ground clearance. There's an all-new model out now, and it still sticks to the unique niche which blurs the fine line between station wagon and crossover.
This generation however is different. For the first time in its long history, the Outback also gains a turbocharged boxer engine, which could essentially fill in the void left by the recently discontinued Forester XT. Dubbed the Outback XT, its 2.4-liter flat-four gets some boost, packing 260 PS and 376 Nm of torque. Think of the 2020 Outback then as a more mature version of the much beloved turbocharged Forester. Dads and moms craving for performance, rejoice.
Of course, there's also a more docile engine option available. Should the XT be too much for you, there's the 2.5-liter engine with 182 PS and 237 Nm of torque. Both engines are paired to Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is, of course, standard.
But despite the turbocharged option, the all-new Outback isn't forgetting about practicality. After all, it is a station wagon, albeit lifted. The cargo area is said to be larger than the outgoing model, meaning you can pack a whole lot more luggage than before. It's even lined in rubber, which should make cleanup even easier. The seats are also given attention. Instead of the usual leather trim, the 2020 Outback has water repellant seats. No more tedious cleanups when accidental spillages happen.
As for design, it is essentially a jacked-up Legacy in a wagon body style, meaning the front end should look familiar. Giving it a more butch look is a healthy dose of body cladding on the bottom half of the entire car, much like the popular XV. They even kept the retractable roof crossbars in the 2020 edition of the Outback, further boosting practicality.
It's brimming with technology too. For starters, there's a sizable infotainment screen that measures in at over 11 inches. It has neat features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Of course, there's also the EyeSight safety suite which includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering, automatic braking for both forward and reverse, and even driver monitoring.
So while the Forester XT is no longer with us, the Outback XT carries the baton. It has a potent engine, practical, and, with all the tech included, it should be a safe car too. But will it also be as beloved as the turbocharged Forester? Only time will tell.