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

subaru outback xt 2023 01 exterior front angle suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 04 exterior fog lights headlights suv wheel white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 02 badge exterior fog lights grille headlights suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 03 badge exterior fog lights grille headlights suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 07 badge exterior rear angle suv taillights white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 08 badge exterior suv taillights white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 05 exterior overhead angle suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 09 badge exterior suv wheel white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 13 interior drivers seat front passenger seat front row steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 20 interior controls door suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 12 interior drivers seat front passenger seat front row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 11 interior dashboard front row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 10 interior front row gear shift infotainment system steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 17 interior infotainment system menu suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 16 interior gps infotainment system suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 15 interior badge controls steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 19 interior gear shift suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 21 interior back row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 14 interior back row suv usb charging port jpg subaru outback xt 2023 22 interior cargo suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 01 exterior front angle suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 04 exterior fog lights headlights suv wheel white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 02 badge exterior fog lights grille headlights suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 03 badge exterior fog lights grille headlights suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 07 badge exterior rear angle suv taillights white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 08 badge exterior suv taillights white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 05 exterior overhead angle suv white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 09 badge exterior suv wheel white jpg subaru outback xt 2023 13 interior drivers seat front passenger seat front row steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 20 interior controls door suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 12 interior drivers seat front passenger seat front row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 11 interior dashboard front row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 10 interior front row gear shift infotainment system steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 17 interior infotainment system menu suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 16 interior gps infotainment system suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 15 interior badge controls steering wheel suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 19 interior gear shift suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 21 interior back row suv jpg subaru outback xt 2023 14 interior back row suv usb charging port jpg subaru outback xt 2023 22 interior cargo suv jpg

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 jpg 2023 Subaru Outback | Cars.com 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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Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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