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New Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT Turbo Vs Premium Trim, Which Model Is Best For You

We drive the new 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT and Premium trims. Check out the differences and see what model is best for you.

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The all-new seventh-generation 2020 Subaru Outback models are arriving now, but which trim is best for you? Outback is available in Base, Premium, Limited, Touring, and three new turbo models, Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT models. We will focus on the Onyx XT Edition trim and the Premium model. We drove both vehicles to give you an idea of which model could be best for you.

Our Onyx Edition XT tester ($38,638 including destination) is powered with the new FA24 Ascent-sourced 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The XT 2.4L turbo comes mated with a high-torque Lineartronic CVT with 8-speed manual control and steering wheel paddle shifters. For increased off-road capability, exclusive dual-function X-Mode. You can build your own here.

2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition xt Turbo2020 Subaru Onyx Edition XT

The new 2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT trim also features black-finish exterior elements, 18-inch alloy wheels and badging, and a gray two-tone interior. For active customers, seats are wrapped in a new water-repellant durable StarTex material for weekend off-road adventures. It also comes with a hands-free power gate, front view monitor, and a full-size spare tire.

2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition xt turbo

The Outback XT 2.4-liter turbo engine has all the power you will need and more and is extremely responsive. We test drove the Onyx XT up I-70 west of Denver at altitude and the vehicle passed slower traffic with ease and the 260 horsepower Boxer turbo engine had us up to 80 mph before we knew it. It has extra power for carrying cargo, five passengers and a small trailer or camper. It gets an EPA estimated 23/30 city/highway and 26 combined mpg if you can keep your foot out of the pedal.

2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT turbo engine2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT turbo engine

The Lineartronic CVT was a surprise that comes mated to the new turbo powerplant. We felt no lag and the gearbox shifts more like a conventional automatic transmission. It pulled the steep grade and never had to hunt for the right gear. We also like the steering wheel paddle shifters if you need to manually up-or-down shift. This was an engaging model to drive, but it’s not going to be for everyone.

2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT turbo2020 Outback Premium

We also drove the 2020 Outback Premium ($32,479 including destination) featuring standard all-wheel-drive, X-Mode, EyeSight driver assist safety tech and cloth upholstery. It gets upgrades for families like the all-weather package with heated exterior mirrors and 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats and windshield wiper de-icer. Many customers will likely opt for this model that fits a sweet spot for price and features.

This Premium trim is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine producing 185 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. It gets an EPA estimated 26/33 city/highway and 29 combined mpg. This tester came with the optional package ($1,400) that included blind-spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, push-button start, and hands-free power rear gate.

2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT turbo engine turboOutback Premium trim

We test drove the new Outback Premium along the exact same route as the Onyx XT model. The normally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine is more than capable for your family-hauling needs. It pulled the same steep grade at altitude with ease and will be a good choice for most families. Unless you need the extra power and torque for pulling a heavy load or a trailer, this Premium model will fit most families' needs well.


We did notice an improved ride quality and quieter cabin in both models because of the new platform all 2020 Outback models now ride on. The Premium trim comes well equipped and has all the features you will want. Unless you need to pull a trailer, carry extra cargo and haul people up a mountain pass regularly, the 2.5-liter engine will do just fine. If you live at sea level, you definitely do not need the 2.4XT turbo engine. For the extra power you get with the XT turbo models, you sacrifice 3 mpg fuel mileage and it will cost you an additional $6,000 total MSRP.

All-new 2020 Subaru Outback models are available now for you to take a test drive and see which model best fits your needs.

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Photo credit: Torque News Denis Flierl

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