The 2013 Subaru Outback wagon sports a new four-cylinder drivetrain, a revised suspension and tweaked styling. Related to the Legacy sedan, the five-seat Outback competes with midsize wagons like the Toyota Venza and Honda Crosstour. A new, optional EyeSight system includes a number of advanced safety features.
The four-cylinder Outback will come in 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and 2.5i Limited models. A six-cylinder model comes in 3.6R and 3.6R Premium trims.
Exterior styling updates like new headlights, grille, front bumper and fog lights combine to give the new Outback a more rugged look. The Outback’s rear crossbars now have two mounting points 9.8 inches apart, allowing them to accommodate bikes or longer canoes better than last year’s narrower mounting points. The Outback has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a figure more common among SUVs.
Upgraded seat fabric and new faux-wood trim distinguish the cabin for 2013. Limited models add backseat air vents, keyless access with push-button start and new electroluminescent gauges flanking a 3.5-inch color display. All trims gain standard Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming. Options include a navigation system, power front seats, Harman Kardon audio and heated leather upholstery.
Fold the rear seats down, and the Outback’s 71.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo room beats the 2012 Crosstour, Venza and Nissan Murano.
A revised four-cylinder powertrain increases torque and horsepower slightly from the 2012 model. The new 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder puts out 173 horsepower and 174 pounds-feet of torque, compared to 170 hp and 170 pounds-feet with the old engine.
Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a new version of Subaru’s continuously variable automatic transmission. The latter features a six-speed manual mode with steering-wheel paddle shifters. CVT-equipped Outbacks are estimated to see a bump in EPA gas mileage, and all-wheel drive remains standard. Outback 3.6R models will be offered in base and Limited trims and carryover with the same 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission.
Subaru says the Outback’s revamped suspension improves ride smoothness while reducing body roll up to 40 percent.
Six airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Subaru’s optional EyeSight system packages adaptive cruise control, collision braking, lane departure and more. It uses two cameras in the headliner on either side of the rearview mirror.