Up Close With the 2023 Subaru Outback: Touchscreen Gains Important Updates

The updated 2023 Subaru Outback’s front styling changes bring the Outback in line with the rest of the Subaru lineup, and to my eye at the 2022 New York International Auto Show where it debuted, it’s a better and more modern look. But the important change for people who spend more time inside their vehicles than admiring them from outside is the updated touchscreen system, called Starlink Multimedia Plus, which is a vertically oriented 11.6-inch screen.

Related: More 2022 New York Auto Show Coverage

For one thing, it puts important features like heated seat buttons and the defeat button for automatic engine stop-start on what’s typically called the top level — meaning always available rather than in a submenu. Where they appear is actually at the bottom of the screen.

subaru-outback-xt-2023-16-interior-gps-infotainment-system-suv 2023 Subaru Outback | photo by Christian Lantry

The system also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and I can confirm that both make use of about 60% of the screen; previously, only Apple CarPlay used a larger portion of the screen. There’s still a pair of ribbon displays up top and the ventilation and other control icons below, but it’s a generous portion rather than the landscape orientation to which these two smartphone-mirroring features often default when paired with vertically oriented displays, resulting in a smaller image than you’d find with the average widescreen display. The bonus is that a tall map makes more sense for direction-of-travel navigation anyway.

The rest of the Outback’s changes can’t be evaluated without driving it, which we look forward to doing in the fall.

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