The 2019 Subaru Outback is the last model year before a major refresh based on Subaru's Global Platform. Buyers of the 2019 model will receive the refresh updates from the previous year. Included are ride and handling improvements, a renewed and upscale interior, some external restyling and new multimedia equipment. Added in 2019 are standard Eyesight driver safety features which include many of the popular braking, backing and lane maintenance technologies available in many SUVs and cars. Some new interior lighting and USB power ports add convenience to this year's model.
What does the now-standard Eyesight suite include?
Eyesight includes adaptive cruise control which factors in the traffic ahead, pre-collision braking and a warning system which activates when a lane departure is detected, plus lane keep assist which has been adjusted to activate at a lower speed than in earlier models. Eyesight also includes blind spot detection/rear cross traffic alert and, on higher trim levels, automatic high beams and responsive headlight aiming.
How has the interior been updated? What kinds of materials are now being used?
The 2019 Subaru Outback has received a few interior touches which add comfort and elegance such as soft cabin materials with dash and door trim stitched for a refined effect. The Outback has a few adjustments such as noise-reducing front glass and aerodynamic side mirrors which help provide a quieter ride.
What kinds of external styling changes did the 2019 inherit from the previous year?
Overall the updates which carry forward to 2019 are adding a more rugged look to the Outback, perhaps a sign of style trends to come in the 2020 model. The rear view mirrors are restyled to reduce wind noise, the front fascia is updated, and there are new 18-inch wheels on the Limited and Touring trims featuring an enhanced contrast color scheme. The front cladding is updated to protect against mud and stone impingement when off-roading.
How is the multimedia technology different now? Is there voice recognition?
The redesigned center console features an 8-inch display screen for multimedia, powered by the Subaru STARLINK system. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and two USB power outlets situated for the rear passengers. TomTom navigation is available, and the multimedia display provides smartphone integration which keeps drivers from being distracted by their gadgets. Siri and "Ok Google" voice recognition commands are better supported and available in multiple languages. Apps available in this update range from YELP reviews to eBird sighting reports.
What engines and transmissions are available?
A continuously variable transmission is standard on all trim levels along with a 2.5-liter flat-4 engine with 175 hp. The four gets great gas mileage around town, but the optional 3.6-liter flat-6's 256 hp is a better choice for those who take their Outback to the mountains or tow a trailer to the lake. All-wheel drive is standard, by the way.
How about all the details from 2018 like the automatic locking doors and child seat anchors? What else is there?
There's a new in 2018 Tire PressureMonitoring System, updated to report individual tire values. Automatic locking doors have been added, along with LATCH-compatible anchors which are easier to use when installing a child seat. The suspension has been retuned so that the ride is smoother, a preview of the broad changes of the 2020 model. Steering and braking have a more positive feel, and in addition to the mirror and glass changes for reduced noise, the rear wheel well aprons are now thicker to give the rear passengers more quiet.
What will the Global Platform add to the 2020 model? Is it something to wait for?
The Global Platform, which has already been implemented for some Subarus and will arrive for the Outback in 2020, has four main benefits. These are enhanced collision safety, integration of high-spec components into the basic structure, a new suspension geometry with better maneuverability and highly efficient packaging so that the available interior space is maximized.