Competes with: Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Nissan Murano
Looks like: Subaru gave the Outback similar updates to its Legacy sibling
Drivetrain: 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder or 256-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder, both with continuously variable automatic transmissions; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Summer 2017
Just two months ago, Subaru announced a slew of minor updates for its Legacy sedan, and now the related Outback wagon will get similar treatment. As predictions go, this was as sure a bet as Tyler Perry making another movie. Like the updated 2018 Legacy, the 2018 Outback goes on sale this summer.
For 2018, the Outback’s headlights get subtle indentations on their inside edges, while the grille wears a more-prominent crossbar behind Subaru’s badge, a cue that harkens to the brand’s erstwhile attempt at a winged grille. In contrast to the 2018 Legacy’s reworked foglights, the Outback’s lights are essentially the same save for some reshaped bumper cladding around them. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 18s optional; ground clearance is a hefty 8.7 inches.
Like the Legacy, the Outback’s cabin has redesigned climate controls that now sit in the same framework as the multimedia system, plus new dashboard stitching on higher trim levels. The three-spoke steering wheel has a new design, while the standard audio system now includes a 6.5-inch display, which replaces last year’s 6.2-inch unit. A backup camera as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. An 8-inch display is optional.
Under the Hood
A 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard, with a 256-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder optional. Both engines work through a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Similar to the Legacy, the Outback has a bevy of small mechanical updates. Subaru claims it retuned the steering, brakes and shock absorbers to improve drivability. Subaru also says the CVT has been retuned for smooth response, while the four-cylinder should be quieter. Reshaped mirrors, thicker wheel-well panels and new sound-insulating glass aim to cut cabin noise, too.
Subaru’s optional EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A blind spot warning system, automatic reverse braking, and adaptive headlights with automatic high beams are also optional.