2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek
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11 Things You Want In The New Subaru Forester, Outback And Ascent To Make Them The Best

The 2020 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent are good SUVs. Eleven things could make them even better.

Subaru does listen to customers and will make changes to their all-wheel-drive lineup if you tell them what you want. A good example is when Tribeca owners complained about the SUV being too small, Subaru dropped the model and brought the new Ascent 3-Row family hauler and it’s been a hit.

An automaker doesn’t have to build an all-new model to make customers happy. It’s the little things and paying attention to detail to its current models that can win a customer over and make a big impression. Here are our top 11 things Subaru needs to do to make the best vehicles for customers.

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

1. Head up display in Forester, Outback, and Ascent

Many automakers like Hyundai are now offering a head up display on many of their models. It’s a great convenience feature and also offers another level of safety for drivers so they can keep their eyes on the road. So far, Subaru hasn’t offered it on any new model.

2. Push button start in lower trim models

It’s not a big thing but it’s annoying when you have to reach in your pocket or purse, get out the key and put it in the ignition to start the car. Subaru offers push button start on upper trims, but you shouldn’t have to buy the top trims or an option package to get it.

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

3. Heated steering wheel on more models

This is another feature that should be offered on more trim levels. You can’t even get a heated steering wheel on the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek unless you buy the Hybrid. It’s an important cold weather feature to have that would make customers smile.

4. Fun accessories like an orange grille option

There are custom aftermarket grilles for Subaru Crosstrek in colors like orange that are available, that would also give Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent a unique appearance. Customers like to customize their cars so they don’t look like everyone else’s on the road. Subaru could also offer customers an aerodynamic package with a front lip spoiler, side under spoiler, aero garnish, rear under spoiler, and special wheels for a sporty appearance.

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

5. Special Edition Forester, Outback, Crosstrek and new Night Edition models

Subaru offered a Black Edition Forester for the 2018 model year but dropped the option when the 2019 Forester received a complete remodel. It’s time for Subaru to offer a Night Edition trim on Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs with black wheels, fog lights with black accent trim, black exterior badges and mirrors, and a front grille with blacked-out wing motif and chrome frame.

6. Put a new turbocharged engine in Forester

Subaru doesn’t need to bring back the higher-horsepower Forester XT trim, but they should offer the compact SUV with a smaller more fuel efficient turbocharged engine. Outback and Legacy now have the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer, Crosstrek and Impreza are likely getting a new 1.5-liter engine, and WRX, STI, and BRZ are getting new direct-injection turbocharged engines. Why not Forster?

2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Ascent

7. Make an Ascent-size pickup truck

The hottest segment in America is mid-size trucks and Subaru is missing out. They could use the Ascent platform and build an all-wheel-drive truck that would be a big hit with Subaru loyalists. There are renderings of what it would look like and it is the missing piece in the lineup. This Ascent pickup is from Neil de Vos Design.

8. BRZ convertible

The Subaru BRZ is getting a complete remodel and it would be a good time to bring in a new fun convertible BRZ sport coupe. The Mazda Miata MX-5 is a hot model and the BRZ would be a new offering that would excite sports car customers.

9. WRX and WRX STI Hatchback

Fans have asked Subaru to bring back the WRX and STI hatchback ever since the automaker dropped the model in 2015. The Subaru WRX and STI are getting a complete remodel for the 2022 model change and Subaru needs a hatchback body style to keep up with the Hyundai Veloster and Honda Civic Type R hot hatches.

2020 Subaru Outback

10. New colors on Forester and Outback

Subaru offers hot new colors on the Crosstrek like Cool Gray Khaki, Sunshine Orange and new Plasma Yellow Pearl, but Forester, and Outback get left out. Subaru knows who their demographic is for its Crosstrek SUV and the Japanese automaker doesn’t want to do anything that will mess up its formula for success with Outback and Forester. We love black on the Outback, but there are some customers who want new colors on the exterior besides black, white, silver, and gray.

11. Toyota reliability

Last, and maybe the most important thing Subaru could do, is tap into Toyota’s reliability. It’s not easy when the automaker is growing so fast they can’t keep up with demand. Subaru has the ability now to ramp up quality with Toyota’s increased stake in Subaru Corporation to 20 percent, which includes a strengthening of their ties.

Subaru could increase its emotional appeal with the 2020 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs with customers by doing a few things. In the comment section below, let us know what you would like to see Subaru do to improve its all-wheel-drive SUVs and sports cars.

You Might Also Like: The New Subaru Forester, Outback, and Ascent models Aren’t Wowing You According To The Latest J.D. Power APEAL Study

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru, Neil de Vos, Adventure Subaru, Competition Subaru

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I would suggest two things. A volume adjustment for the sub and an improved equalizer for the audio system. I had a Bose system on my old car. I was floored to not see any adjustment for volume to the subwoofer. Also, the mid-range is very good but the bottom sound is too light. This can be handled with an improved EQ.
My 2020 Forester has two annoying features. First, the drivers seat belt is ALWAYS caught between the side of the seat back and the "B" pillar. Very annoying and may just be a design flaw. Second, the finger notch for lowering the back hatch is on the inside of the hatch where it will contact the back of you hand when closing. It needs to be on the bottom edge so your hand will be moving AWAY as you close the hatch. Little, easily corrected things but so annoying. VW had their had done right way back in 2002. ARE YOU LISTENING SUBARU. Also, I DON"t MISS THE TURBO as much as I thought. Just come up with another 30 or 40 HP.
I agree with your statement about getting better reliability comes using now it's from Toyota I have 2017 forester XT touring with 30000 little over 30000 miles it's now a new shop does saying it needs a new distributor I don't understand why a car so new needs to have that replaced attack told me that it's been putting out too much power would give a false reading which put on the check engine light to read so in the 3 miss fire I feel Subaru need to have better quality control on the products that they're putting out do you agree
I'd love to see the Baja (small truck) make a comeback again. A small pickup that's great on gas and fun to drive too! Perfect for hauling stuff for smaller projects around the house. Love to see some other exterior colors, lighter or more neutral tones, for all of the Subaru vehicles. Lighter interior colors also. Owning a dark colored vehicle with dark interior in the southeast in the summer is miserable! It won't happen to me again
I currently have a 2016 dark gray Forester & I love it. I would be interested with a new WHITE Forester, but the all white color is just too BLAH. Subaru needs to add more BLACK trimming. Just a suggestion.
Leased a Crosstrek and then an Outback which I currently have. Love both but really desire to go back to a Crosstrek. One problem: I HATE the orange interior stitching. Maybe offer only on the orange model? I won’t buy a Crosstrek until the interior changes. Otherwise, love my Subaru’s And will remain brand loyal!
Outback definitely needs a better speaker system for the radio in the lower price trims.
You make a great "mountain" car. Please add "elevation" to the info display. Copy Audi if necessary.
Subaru needs to up the extended warranty to 10 years/100,000 from 7 years/100,000. If 97-98% of all Subarus are still on the road 10 years later as advertised, why not up it? Stand behind your product!!!!
Change the "Auto Start-Stop System" to allow the owner to manually turn it off permanently. Right now you "must" push a switch every time you start the engine. It is a pain to worry about that when city driving. It reminds me of driving a golf cart that shuts off everytime you stop. I just purchased a new 2020 Forester and live the car, but something has to be done with this none option. Thanks.
I purchased a 2019 Outback just before the 2020 models were revealed and scored a good deal. We love our Subie but worth about the reliability of both the CVT transmission and the 2.5 engine long term reliability. Truth be told my Jeep Wrangler JL had had few issues that required times in three service department than our Subie. Spending this much money on a car one would hope that the radio would work when you want it to. You would like to know that the windshield isn't going to develop another no impact related crack. That three service department wouldn't put an extra half quart of oil in the crankcase every time you bring it in for an oil change. That the safety features would work as advertised and not require trips to service department to fix. I.e. blind spot monitoring not working, back up camera not working and auto braking when backing up to prevent hitting someone. Love our Subie but won't be back to buy again unless quality improves drastically and reliability of rubber band transmission and more reliable engine offerings
Start adding plug in hybrids, and more storage. Splitting the rear floor cover so there is a small access hinged close to the tail gate would help. If you carry a lot like I do, the under floor storage is useless, but a smaller access closet to the tailgate with a storage box under it would be better than one big section of the floor having to be raised when all of your gear is covering it
Manual transmission that doesn't suck!!!!
I would really love more tow capacity. This is the main reason I'll be trading in my Subi for a Tacoma later this year. I like the idea of the high-brid Ascent..I would trade in the Tacoma for one!
I basically agree with the turbo, but not the engine. The stock engine can easily handle 10PSI boost, but if you would only add 7PSI boost, it would increase from ~180HP //Tq, to about 225HP, and would be noticeable. You only need a new engine (or at least adjusted pistons and camshaft) beyond ~10PSI. At 14PSI, you'd get a respectable 270HP, which is preferably powered by a small turbo with good wastage, resulting in low lag (especially important for the cvt versions, as they already have cvt lag), and high torque at preferably 2k RPM or below. There already is a turbo included in the high end 2021 version .
I would love to see a factory racing stripe option for Crosstrek and Forester.
Bring back a 6 cylinder engine on Outback and/or ascent.
Totally agree. Updated Six cylinder option for the Outback would be ideal. Ive driven the 2020 and agree with reviews that describe it as an underpowered standard four and/or unsophisticated turbo four. Need a nice modern upgraded six cylinder with smooth power and light towing capability. The current four cylinders struggle.
definitely oil issue needs to be improved. I have literally 8 subarus on my driveway right now.
To me the most important item you had mentioned is the number 6. "Put a new turbocharged engine in Forester" I have a Foster 2015 XT (the precious) and I will no change that car till Subaru gives me another option like that Foster. Well, unless I have to go to another manufacturer..... I will wait a little more for Subaru. Hope they are reading your magazine.
Offer the Ascent touring model with 8 seats. Offer front camera and ventilated seats in 8 seat models.
I love my Outback!! This is my second Outback, but you guys must heat the WHOLE steering wheel as the portion that is not heated is freezing in the winter, silly to not do whole wheel. As well, when the sun shines onto the screen it reflects into the face of the driver, I suggest making a small change to the finish of the screen so that it DOES NOT distract the driver. I have the 2019 Premier and love the car!!!
Mostly love my 2020 Forester but there are a few annoyances. As mentioned in the article there is no heated steering wheel available on most trim levels, and remote start is only available as an expensive dealer installed option even on top trim levels. Honda has remote start and push button ignition included in every trim level of CR-V. Given the popularity of Subarus in cold climates these oversights are not logical. Another annoyance is the lack of standard interior protection such as all-weather mats and a cargo liner. These should be included in every Subaru given the brands rugged, outdoorsy image instead of being expensive dealer installed options. I mostly like the EyeSight safety system but if you are going to include this on every model then don't leave out the blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert features on the lower trim levels. I would sooner have those features than lane keep assist which I usually turn off anyway. Mostly a great sales experience with the dealership except for a pushy finance manager that tried to sell expensive extra undercoating and extended warranties. I thought those scams ended back in the 90s. Speaking of warranties, why can Kia and Hyundai offer much longer coverage at no extra charge? I was seriously considering getting a Kia Seltos for that reason and because of Kia's excellent reliability ratings, but the wait time to get a Seltos was several weeks due to the popularity of this new model and the lack of inventory.
The heads up display, yes, but you missed some fundamental safety and convenience things that are available on vehicles competitive with my 2020 Forester Touring . Like a 360 degree camera and front camera, kick opening of the tailgate, and electronic opening and closing of the moonroof cover so it can be opened all the way without tearing your shoulder. Other wise, a close to perfect vehicle for its intended use.
The Outback could feel more spacious for the driver and passenger. A wider backseat as well. It could also use a more powerful engine. Make a second option Asent with out the 3rd row. Small families with only 1 or 2 children don't necessarily need a 3rd row, but could use extra cargo space. Also a more powerful engine. I enjoy a vehicle that is peppy
My MY 2014 Forester XT has been running flawlessly. I don't know if it's worthwhile waiting for a new Forester XT, that might show up in 2 years, or, just skip the turbo and go for the real deal, a 280 HP , all-electric Forester that is expected within in 3 to 4 years.
2020 Forester owner in Canada. I had previously owned the first two generations of Legacy back in the 1990s and despite admiring the great AWD system in these cars I simply got tired of the poor quality, especially in the second gen car that seemed to always have something going wrong. When the fuel gauge stopped working in my 3 year old 95 Legacy, just after the bumper-to-bumper warranty expired, that was the last straw. I switched to Toyota and never went back, until now. Not a fan of the current styling of the Toyota products and especially hate the interiors with the ugly infotainment screen that sticks up like an afterthought tacked onto the dash. I decided to test drive a new Forester and loved the interior and smooth, solid feeling on the road. After living with the Forester for a few months there are a few things I would like to see added. (1)Give the driver the ability to permanently shut off the engine auto start-stop feature. This system is random and crude in its operation. When I remember to do so, I turn it off every time I drive. (2)Offer an around-view camera system as an option, or even better, include in in all trim levels. Nissan has had this in their SUVs for several years. It's even available in the lowly Kicks. Having driven vehicles with this type of system I think it is a very useful safety feature. It's something that you appreciate every time you are pulling away from a parking place. This is especially useful for people who have young children who leave bikes, toys, etc anywhere they feel like, and people who live in or visit rural areas where pets are not always on a leash. I would gladly trade lane assist for a 360 camera display. (3)Reduce/simplify the trim levels. Here in Canada there are six different trim levels of Forester. Is this really necessary? Despite all of these trim levels you can't get either of the top two trims without leather seats. Not everyone is a fan of leather. Why should I be forced to accept leather seats in order to get all of the other features that are only available in the top trims such as a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and an upgraded stereo. Three trim levels would be plenty - Base, Mid-level, and Luxury. Offer leather as an option - not mandatory. Do away with the Sport and just offer a blacked-out wheels and exterior details appearance package on any trim level and on any body colour. The orange interior and exterior accents of the Sport look silly. Offer colour accent pieces as dealer installed options for people who are into that sort of thing. (4)The exterior styling could be spiced up a bit. Pretty bland on the sides. Add a character line just below the door handles perhaps. The rear side windows on the cargo area look odd - their curved shape doesn't come together well with the angle of the rear hatch. The more squared-off design of these windows on the previous generation looked better. I'm thinking that they went to the curved design just to differentiate the new model, even though it looks worse than before. The high ground clearance is wonderful but it makes the Forester look like it was the victim of a lift kit, with its tiny-looking wheels unable to fill the vertical open space left in the wheel wells. Not sure how to fix that other than offer larger rims as an option. I put after-market black alloys on mine for summer tires and that helped somewhat, but I'll have to put the stock rims back on for the winter tire season from October to April, so it's only a partial remedy. These things are mostly minor quibbles. Overall I love my new Forester. Hopefully Subaru addresses some of these minor issues in the next redesign, and hopefully the quality and reliability has improved since my previous experience with Subaru's back in the 90s. So far so good.
I had a 1996 Outback and currently have a 2011 Outback. I would like to replace it soon but find the Forester is better size for us and has better approach and departure angles. However the Forester needs more towing capacity, at least 2000 lbs. A slight bump in torque and mileage would be nice as well, likely with a small turbo, 1.8 L ? A small bump in ground clearance to 9 inches would improve off road capability and give it more bragging rights over the new bronco sport and Rav4.
I have written to Subaru a couple times about adding Orange to color lineup for Outback’s as their color’s are so boring! I have even offered my dealership extra to paint my Outbacks in crostrek Orange. Which I hear they are taking off market which is such a stupid move when they have so many Orange Crosstrek groups and followers! We need Hot colors like orange for our Outbacks and options like Orange grills, wheel covers, etc. I would take my Outback in and trade it immediately if I could get Orange options.
There are bunch of extra features I’d love to see on Outback, at least in upper trims: 1) Panoramic sunroof 2) Dual chrome exhaust tips 3) Infra-red night vision for detection of pedestrians and animals 4) Rain-sensing wipers 5) Seat massage