Going strong for 25 years and counting, Subaru’s raised-and-cladded wagon enters its sixth-generation with a long list of improvements and redesigned look – from better towing abilities and a new 2.4L turbo engine to increased safety features and lighter suspension. You can read our full 2020 Outback review here.
But it’s the Outback’s completely new interior with that massive 11.6-inch screen that sets this SUV apart from the previous model. We take a closer look.
New Outback Interior: what’s new for 2020?
Tablet-style high-definition SUBARU STARLINK 11.6-inch touchscreen
DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System upgrade
New Hands-Free Power Gate
Standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology with Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and new Lane Centering function
There’s a welcome simplicity to specifying your Outback: simply pick the grade that has the equipment you want. There are no hidden charges lurking in must-have but notionally optional equipment packages. The only items you might want to pay more for are accessories such as bike racks, roof boxes or interior or exterior protection packages.
Premier and Touring
The Premier trim level has a high level of standard equipment. Key additions over the lower grades are the brown Nappa leather and ventilated front seats. For the US Touring trim, you can add power moonroof and heated steering wheel to that list of exclusives, but they’re available on other trims in Canada.
We liked the comfort of the front seats and the kids gave the thumbs-up to those in the rear – and appreciated the rear-seat heaters in a test week when the temperature hovered around -25°C (-13°F).
Another nice improvement is a quieter Outback cabin via new door weather strips that feature a baffle in the mid-section and dual lips on the roof side for improved quietness, along with sound-insulated glass.
Below, a quick look at the 2020 Outback’s new front cabin layout compared to the outgoing model, specifically, the centre stack design with the new touchscreen.
The front-seat heaters are one of many functions activated by the new 11.6-inch, Subaru Starlink portrait touchscreen. Basic HVAC functions still get push buttons, but not the seat warmers. Admittedly that’s not an issue for drivers in warmer climates, but in the winter it’s a pain to have to go through a two-step process to activate the heater via the screen. Those who like to keep an eye on the tech might want to know that Starlink runs on open-source, automotive-grade Linux.
12-speaker audio system from Harman Kardon
The Harman Kardon 12-speaker audio system is one of the best we’ve tried recently. We’re told that it features a new GreenEdge technology that provides a more powerful sound while consuming less energy. On the Premier there’s even a CD player for anyone who still prefer albums to playlists.
Interior Cargo Space & Capacity
The Outback swallows 920L (32.5 cu.ft) of cargo with the seats up, rising to 2,144L (75.7 cu.ft) with them flat. If you have an older Outback, note that it may not be straightforward to compare figures with previous models as the measuring standard recently changed.
From what we can determine, the space behind the second row – which is how most families will use the luggage area – is now wider than before, but slightly smaller overall. As before, you’ll still likely need a roof box for vacations, ski trips and the like.
Subaru Outback Interior Dimensions
Subaru also widened the windshield to create a longer, larger cabin space. Here’s a look at the new 2020 interior dimensions:
- Head room: (f/r) 40.1 / 39.1 in. With moonroof: 37.7 in. / 39.1 in.
- Leg room: (f/r) 42.8 in. / 39.5 in.
- Hip room: (f/r) 55.5 in. / 54.8 in.
- Shoulder room: (f/r) 58.1 in. / 57.4 in.
- EPA passenger volume: 109.0 cu. ft. With moonroof: 105.6 cu. ft.
- EPA cargo volume: 32.5 cu. ft. (seatbacks raised) 75.7 cu. ft (seatbacks folded)
- Max. cargo length: 42.0 in. (seatbacks raised) 75.0 in. (seatbacks folded)
- Cargo width between wheel housings: 43.3 in.
- Cargo area height: 32.1 in.
- Rear gate opening width Lower: 44.1 in. Max. 45.2 in.
- Rear gate opening height: 29.5 in.
- Cargo area liftover height: 28.4 in.
- EPA total interior volume: 141.5 cu. ft. With moonroof: 138.1 cu. ft.