By Peter Perrota
My mission was quite simple. As the rain pelted down this one fine Saturday my wife proclaimed, “I’m not driving in this weather today.”
Translation: I was being nominated to take her and my mother-in-law grocery shopping in the 2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT. There would be the traditional three stops: Sprouts (an organic grocery store), Trader Joe’s and Produce Junction.
Now, mind you this $38,755 Subaru Outback Limited XT is not your father’s Subaru. Meaning, the once spartan, but rugged all-wheel-drive Outback that Subaru became noted for, has now morphed into quite a classy and luxurious package that still can withstand any and all foul weather Mother Nature may be willing to throw in its path. Its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is a winner.
The car sloshes through puddles and pooled water without blinking an eye, giving the driver confidence that this machine has the ability to grip the road even under the worst of circumstances.
To be honest, the harder and more sideways it rained that day, the more confident I felt piloting this handsome SUV powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine that gets 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpms.
As the rain puddled up on the roads between our grocery store stops, the Outback just seemed to glide through any potential trouble spots with ease, lending quite a bit of confidence to this test driver that this vehicle was more than capable of handling rain, mud or snow.
The one-touch with the remote power liftgate made it very simple to load the groceries in the back after we completed our shopping at each store. This Outback features 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and 75.7 cubic feet with the seats down. This was more than enough to handle one weeks’ supply of groceries for two families with ease.
The 2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT has a lot of new features for 2020. First and foremost, is its tablet-style Subaru Starlink multimedia system with an 11.6-inch high-resolution touchscreen. Here the driver can control audio, climate, phone, navigation and more.
Mounted right smack in the middle of the dashboard, I found this Starlink system fairly easy to learn and use. Its controls were not confusing and are designed to be fairly intuitive with the phones and other devices we are already accustomed to using in our everyday lives.
I would say that Subaru certainly found a winner in its new Starlink multimedia system.
New standard safety features on this 2020 Outback included: EyeSight Assist Monitor (standard on all trim levels) and DriverFocus Distraction Migration System (which is model specific).
The EyeSight monitor system monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control and warns the driver if they sway outside the lanes. An added feature of this system is the pre-collision braking system that can apply braking force in emergency situations. According to Subaru, this system has been found to reduce the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85%.
The DriverFocus system alerts the driver if it senses that he or she has become distracted or drowsy behind the wheel. To do this the innovative system actually has an onboard camera that monitors the positioning of the driver’s eyes behind the wheel. It also employs facial recognition software to monitor the driver’s movements as well.
This awesome system will alert the driver with a chime when their eyes are off the road for too long.
Moreover, standard on all Outback models for 2020 is the auto stop-start system designed to help improve gas mileage efficiency. To be honest, this test driver is not a big fan of this technology. However, it seems that all the auto manufacturers feature this system these days.
My pet peeve here, is that at times when you take your foot off the brake and the car restarts itself, the transition is not all that smooth and the vehicle shakes or shudders just a wee bit while restarting.
As far as the basic specifications of this road-tested model. It has a 108.1-inch wheelbase; is 191.3 inches in length; has a base curb weight of 3,926 pounds; torque of 277 pound-feet at 2,000 to 4,800 rpm; a high torque CVT (continuously variable) transmission; fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons and a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
My overall impressions of this vehicle after road testing it for one week are that it features a very nice blend of luxury and comfort combined with the superior handling and ruggedness one would expect to receive from an Outback. The seats are comfortable, the sightlines are clean and the interior cargo space is more than ample to handle what a family with kids can throw at it.
Moreover, this Outback features a ton of standard features including: tire pressure monitoring system; power doors, windows, and exterior mirrors; rear vision with camera and washer; roof rails with tie-down points and integrated retractable crossbars and more.
This is the kind of vehicle that the average family can load up with camping gear on the weekend. Put a kayak on the roof and motor off to some scenic site to enjoy the day or weekend. It seems like it was perfectly designed and manufactured to perform this type of task well.
As far as the behind the wheel overall driving experience goes, this Subaru offers a very smooth independent suspension system that affords it an outstandingly comfortable ride. It handles bumps quite well with very little wheel drift after going over rough spots in the road.
The 4-cylinder, 2.4- liter turbocharged Boxer engine provides ample power this Outback. It drives very similar to most Japanese imports in that it features a ton of low-end torque that gives it the ability to accelerate powerfully from 0-60 mph without feeling like you are losing control of the vehicle.
Other key features of this Subaru Outback as tested included: power moonroof; 18-inch alloy wheels; a 12-volt power outlet in the rear center console; a 10-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory and an 8-way power passenger seat.
In conclusion, I would recommend that anyone considering a mid-sized SUV put this Subaru Outback high on your list of consideration for overall performance, comfort, and driveability.
For more information on leasing the 2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT, contact the automotive experts at Capital Motor Cars today!
By Peter Perrota