2020 Subaru Outback: What's It Like to Live With?
Versatility rules and the Outback is one of the best at it. Find out our day-to-day experiences with this popular utility vehicle.
|Miles Driven||Average MPG|
Latest Highlights (updated 09/30/21)
- The Outback is really comfortable on the road.
- The large touchscreen is good — especially now that we got an update for Apple CarPlay.
- Climate controls should be in their own area. Hard buttons aren't a bad thing.
- The turbo engine is awesome. Can we get an eight-speed auto instead of the CVT?
- The sound system's quality is a toss-up between our staff
2020 Subaru Outback: Real-World Fuel Economy
The Outback is rated as one of the better fuel-sippers for the midsize SUV class at 26 mpg combined. However, since COVID hit and numbers keep flunctuating here in SoCal, road trips are scarce.
Average lifetime mpg: 21.8
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined ( 23 city / 30 highway )
Best fill mpg: 28.1
Best range (miles): 417.3
Current odometer: 14,028
With an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined, and 23 city, our lifetime average of 21.8 is a little disappointing right now. Then again, since COVID hit, there hasn't been a lot of time dedicated to road tripping or long commutes. That needs to be remedied. Sadly, with me recently using our Outback as a generator all day to charge our track computer, that will negatively impact numbers once again.
"My son and I skipped town for a guys' fishing getaway over the weekend. There was plenty of space for his car seat on the upright side of the 60/40-split folding seat and our poles on the lowered side. It's always a plus when you don't have to break them down for transport. The rest of our gear easily fit in the cargo area behind his seat." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"We camped for the weekend at Carpinteria State Beach. The best part about this campground was scoring one of the prime beach spots. But sand gets everywhere. When we got home the Outback was a mess. Enter my hero, the rubber cargo mat. With just a shake-out, our filth-o-meter went from 80% repulsion to about 20%. And underneath it was spotless." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"In the main photo above, you will see our long-term Outback Onyx Edition on top and the all-new Wilderness trim below. We figured it would be interesting to talk about since the new trim does what a lot of enthusiasts are doing: modifying it to be more off-road capable for overlanding, some off-the-beaten-path fun or simply to make it look different.
"Personally speaking (this is Rex, who modifies every car I own), I like the way it looks. With 9.5 inches of ground clearance, which is close to an inch over the stock Outback, it should enable it to go over more terrain — that and the updated front bumpers and advanced X-Mode. Anyhow, in speaking with the Subaru team we gleaned an interesting piece of information: EyeSight, which is your active safety and driver aid, could become less effective if you raise your vehicle with aftermarket modifications because, while it will still monitor everything in front of you and react to whatever it sees, it is potentially out of calibration spec because you have changed the ride height of the vehicle. Meanwhile, OEM-modified vehicles, such as the Wilderness editions, are all within factory calibration spec because they came that way from the manufacturer.
"We have often wondered about these things since all new vehicles come with a bunch of advanced safety tech and driver aids, and this is the first time that a manufacturer has said something regarding the tech installed on your vehicle potentially becoming less effective because of something you have done to modify your vehicle. It totally makes sense so this is something to keep in mind for those who like to do aftermarket modifications." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician