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Advantages Of Keeping Your Older Subaru Outback Vs Buying A New 2020 Model

The new 2020 Subaru Outback gets major improvements, but it may not be your best choice. What are the advantages of keeping your older model?

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Owners of an older Outback may be wondering what are the advantages of keeping your vehicle versus buying a new 2020 Subaru Outback wagon? This is a great question asked by one of our readers. We will start by checking out the new 2020 Outback upgrades and see if it’s worth it for you to trade in your previous-generation model for a new one.

The sixth-generation 2020 Subaru Outback is all-new and gets significant upgrades over the outgoing fifth-generation model (2015-2019). The 2020 model now comes in a new XT trim with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with more power and better fuel efficiency than the previous 3.6R trim. If you own an older Outback with a 2.5-liter engine, the wagon continues with the engine but it gets new improvements and better fuel mileage.

2020 Subaru OutbackThe 2020 Subaru Outback comes in a new XT trim

The 2.5-liter engine features 90 percent new parts as well as direct injection and auto stop/start. It gets a manufacturer-estimated 26/33 mpg city/highway, which is one mpg better than the 25/32 mpg of the previous engine. The new 2.4-liter turbo Boxer sees an even bigger improvement. The turbo engine is rated 23/30 mpg, up from 20/27 mpg with the old 3.6R flat-six. Read our comparison of the new 2.4-Liter turbo vs. the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine.

The new-generation Outback rides on the Subaru Global Platform which is 70 percent stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity, and it's twice as stiff in front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the old architecture. The new platform promises better ride quality, sharper handling, a quieter cabin, and improved safety. All new 2020 Outback trims come standard with the automaker’s EyeSight driver assist technology.

2020 Subaru OutbackThe 2020 Subaru Outback gets other improvements

It wouldn’t be a better version if it didn’t get bigger in most areas. For 2020, Outback measures 191.3 inches long, 66.1 inches tall, and 73 inches wide. That represents a growth of 1.4 inches in length over its predecessor. Width has increased by 0.6 inches, but the height stays the same. At 108.1 inches, the wheelbase is also unchanged. Front track width remains the same at 61.8 inches, but rear track increases 0.6 inches to 62.8 inches. Front overhang increases by just 0.1 inches, though rear overhang grows by 1.4 inches.

Cargo volume comes in at 75.7 cubic feet with the seats up, an increase from 73.3 cubes. The lift-over height, or the height you have to lift an item to get it into the back of the vehicle, has increased half an inch.

Watch this video report discussing the benefits of keeping your old Subaru Outback vs buying the 2020 model and click to subscribe to Torque News for daily automotive news analysis.

Passengers will find more space in the rear. Legroom has increased by 1.4 inches, and the headroom has gone up 0.2 inches. Overall passenger volume has increased 0.9 cubic feet on models without the moonroof, and 1.1 cubic feet on models with the moonroof. Front headroom has decreased 0.7 inches on models without the moonroof, and 0.6 inches on models with the moonroof.

Buying a new Outback may not be your best choice

There are lots of advantages of trading up for a new 2020 Outback, but it may not be your best choice now. You need to ask yourself some questions before you go to a dealer because the salesperson wants to sell you a new model. Is your older Outback paid off or do you have a lease? If you own your car, you might want to drive it another year or two and save up money for your new model. Is your vehicle in good mechanical condition, or is it starting to need some major repairs? It may not be worth spending thousands of dollars on an older model. Are you spending as much on repairs as you would for a car payment?

You also need to ask how much more will you pay for insurance, taxes and license plates? Check with your insurance agent. You can also get an estimated purchase order from a Subaru dealer showing how much taxes will be on the new model before you buy. The county where you live can tell you how much new plates will cost. How many miles do you drive per year? Will you save money on gas with the newer Outback?

If you determine it's best to buy a new Outback, do your homework and shop for the best deal. Subaru is offering 0.9 percent financing on all 2020 models through March 2, 2020. Also, study the trim level that’s best for you. Subaru offers attractive lease deals ($249/month), but it’s only on the base model. The 2020 Subaru Outback Premium trim is generally the best model that offers the most features for the money.

You May Also Like: 7 Things To Know Before You Buy New Subaru Outback

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA

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Duke Woolworth (not verified)    February 12, 2020 - 4:19PM

I was hoping for something more exciting, like the Viziv concept. This is a snore, including paint colors. I see no real reason to change up from my '17 Touring.

Lee Russell (not verified)    February 13, 2020 - 7:17AM

That told me nothing about why I should keep my outback. Seems like a reverse psychology 2020 Subaru add. Lots of stuff about the new one. Nothing about why I should keep my perfectly operational 2003. 17 years and going strong. If one crashes on you( repair costs are excessive I mean) you can buy another good older outback for the price of steering knuckle,,CV, brakes etc) I know this because I just did it. Drive your baby until it dies beyond reasonable repair cost. Then hunt for another 3-5000 dollar gently used outback. There is Plenty Of them out there

Raymond Soon (not verified)    February 13, 2020 - 10:03PM

With Toyota owning 20% of Subaru, I do expect the cross pollenation of technology. Toyota gets AWD and Subaru gets Hybrid tech and better fuel mileage. That's why I'm keeping my old Outback for.

Efraim (not verified)    August 8, 2020 - 9:07PM

Really? Can the title be more misleading? I got a 2020 Outback XT, can't be any more happy with it. Best of it it tows 3000 lbs. Xmode is useful and a more reliable engine. But what sold me was the comfortable seats. They are amazing, better than some vehicles twice the price. Great in long trips.

Ironpen 482 (not verified)    April 5, 2021 - 11:50AM

Nothing about the advantages of keeping your older Outback. My 2015 with 83k on it is rock solid, aside from regular maintenance the car has been reliable, fuel economy is good and is outstanding in the winter. I don't see any reason to upgrade at the moment, but if I did it would be for the extra power of the XT.

Chef Lemon (not verified)    May 30, 2021 - 7:17PM

Was hoping to hear about the advantages to keeping your old Subaru vs buying new. I have good trade-in value on my 2015 and even with money down, in addition, to trade in, the payments are pretty steep. My car is doing well at 120,000 but I do drive a great deal. Don't want to trade but I had to entertain the idea with such high mileage.

Stan (not verified)    May 7, 2023 - 8:51PM

I own a 2013 Outback 3.6R Limited as well as an 2020 XT Limited. The ride on the 2020 is so much smoother. The new platform, suspension, the 18" vs 17" wheels & tires all contribute...even the steering is much improved. The 2013 steers more like a truck. To replace a headlight bulb on the 2013 is a bear with its location and access. The need to change is highly unlikely with the LED assembly on the 2020. However, one thing I am surprised by...the 2013's seat feel and thicker cushion is still a bit more comfortable than the 2020's...more noticeable on longer trips greater than 2 hours.