SUV shoppers want a number of things in a vehicle but two are high on the list; fuel efficiency, and all-wheel-drive all-weather capability. But it’s hard to find both in the same vehicle because it takes more fuel for the drivetrain to send power to all four wheels. The 2020 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2020 Outback wagon, and new 2021 Crosstrek compact SUV offer both.
The three Subaru SUV models are the most fuel-efficient SUVs according to a recent EPA Automotive Trends Report and are the only brand that has an entire lineup with standard all-wheel-drive for customers. You don’t pay extra to get it.
How fuel-efficient are Subaru SUVs?
Subaru introduced the new generation Forester, Outback, and new 2021 Crosstrek with the newly upgraded 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine. The 2.5-liter engine now comes with new direct-injection technology that improves fuel efficiency.
The previous generation 2.5-liter powerplant achieved 25/34/29 city/highway/combined mpg, while the upgraded 2020 models get an EPA estimated 27/35/30 mpg. And the new engine has more horsepower and torque.
The outgoing 2019 model 2.5-liter four-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer engine produced 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. The new 2020 2.5-liter DOHC direct-injection aluminum-alloy 16-valve 4-cylinder horizontally opposed Subaru Boxer now has 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.
What is torque? For those who are wondering what torque is in simple terms, it’s the engine's ability to get the vehicle moving from a stop and helps in pulling a car up a hill, or when towing a trailer or camper.
Subaru also uses a newly upgraded CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to improve fuel mileage in its all-wheel-drive SUVs. The outgoing models had a Lineartronic CVT with Adaptive Control, Hill Holder, and 6-speed manual mode with paddle shifters. The newly upgraded 2020 Lineartronic CVT comes with a new 8-speed manual mode with paddle shifters.
We have never been fans of the CVT automatic, but Subaru has one of the best automatic transmissions that simulate real gears. You can also manually upshift and downshift the transmission with the steering wheel paddles and improve engine performance.
SUV shoppers looking for all-wheel-drive all-weather performance and the best fuel efficiency can get them both in the newly upgraded 2020 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek SUVs. Check out the story below on why the steering wheel paddles are the best Subaru feature but aren't used by most drivers.
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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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