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Subaru Brings Back One Option Outback Customers Seriously Wanted

Look for Outback to stay the most popular model in the Subaru stable because of one new option.


When Subaru discontinued the Forester 2.0XT turbo model, it guaranteed the new 2020 Outback will stay their hottest model. It’s because the new 2020 Outback will come with a new FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged direct-injection Boxer engine. The last Outback to get a turbo powerplant was the 2009 Outback 2.5XT model. But it’s back after an 11-year hiatus.

Subaru Corp is bringing turbo power back and it arrives in the 2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT, and Touring XT trims. The new Outback XT 2.4-liter four-cylinder Boxer produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. Forester only gets the 2.5-liter normally-aspirated engine with 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque.

When customers walk into the showroom, all they have to do is see what the sixth-generation 2020 Outback has under the hood. It also comes with the 2.5-liter gas engine like Forester, but the top 2.4XT models will stand out on the test drive. It’s going to be especially popular in the mountain states where the turbo will make a big difference at the higher altitudes. The additional horsepower and torque will get the SUV up and over the mountain pass even when it’s loaded with people and cargo. And Outback will be able to tow more too; up to 3,500 lbs.

What about fuel mileage?

Customers looking for fuel efficiency won't lose that much gas mileage by opting for the new 2.4-liter turbo over the 2.5i non-turbo engine. The new 2020 Outback FA24 2.4-liter turbo engine manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy is 23/30 mpg city/highway. Manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy is 26/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.5-liter Boxer engine. Both engines take 87 octane fuel, so customers won’t need to put more expensive premium fuel in when they fill up the Outback XT.

With Subaru bringing the turbo model back after a decade-long hiatus, look for the new 2020 Subaru Outback XT trim to be the most popular model with customers when it arrives this fall. Forester will remain popular but without the XT it won’t overtake Outback as the number one SUV in the lineup.

You May Also Like: New Subaru Outback XT 2.4L Turbo Vs. Discontinued 3.6L Engine

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Photo credit: Subaru


Bruce (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 4:31PM

We love Subarus here in Vermont. We own two. But the seats are so uncomfortable and we really need a Subaru with better gas mileage. We miss the dedicated NOAA weather radio too.

Bob Martin (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 7:51AM

In reply to by Bruce (not verified)

Totally agree re: seats. Have owned 11 Subarus over the years. Never liked the seats. After a short time they sag. Feels like you're sitting in a hole. And the wing on the sides is a thigh killer. Really need to do something about them.

Nancy Scheu (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 6:20PM

Please bring back the Right hand drive cars.I drive for the U.S. postal service. And I have driven the right hand drives out on my mail route. And as my personal car. I am getting close to the end of my years as a postal worker and I prefer to finish in a Subaru. Thanks for your time and understanding.

Daniel Coleman (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 7:08AM

In reply to by Rjk (not verified)

I own a 2014 Outback, and if I’d know then about the CVT transmission, I’d have bought a Toyota or a Honda! I haven’t had any problems “yet” with the transmission, but I got an extended warranty from Subaru, and I didn’t ask for one, which kind of indicated that they see problems ahead, and a hugh class action suits!

Lee Taplinger (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 8:30PM

In reply to by Daniel Coleman (not verified)

When I got that letter all I could think was oh great Subaru recognized a defect so if the trans fails between 60K miles and 100K miles they'll pay for it and one mile over 100K miles I pay for their screwup. Thanks Subaru.

D Dugan (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 7:28PM

Until Subaru can figure out how to solve their perpetual head-gasket issue, this multi-generational loyal Subaru owner won't be buying any more. I do love my '09 XT Outback - but it has cost me a small fortune in repairs and it only has 90k miles on it. Never again.

BobBarker75 (not verified)    May 6, 2019 - 11:11AM

In reply to by Matthew Meyer (not verified)

Interesting... I would like to see the press release, recall or any other document from Subaru officially acknowledging the problem and its resolution to the satisfaction of affected owners. A friend of mine was hit last March with this infamous head gasket problem on is Forester 2015...

D Dugan (not verified)    May 10, 2019 - 5:03PM

In reply to by BobBarker75 (not verified)

I'm with you on that BobBarker -- dealer told me I needed a HG job for my '09 OB XT, even though the only symptom was that all of the dashboard lights were on; the car ran fine. At least when I was told that my '98 OB needed a HG, the car had been overheating - so clearly something was amiss. The '98 had over 300,000 miles on it, so it was understandable; the '09, on the other hand had less than 90,000 miles on it -- well maintained and checked by the dealer regularly. During that same repair they 'found' I needed front bearings - but less than 2,000 miles later another shop showed me that the CV boots were torn. Never understood how a qualified technician would miss the torn boots if they were replacing the front bearings. Everything about this car has been a financial drain -- and I was one of those folks that touted Subaru to everyone for years (heck, I even named my dog after them: Ru - lol!) - thought I would be a life-long Subaru owner -- but now, probably not.

NormT (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 8:03PM

The Subaru Ascent is seeing an average of 19.7 mpg on fuelly dot com. So I wouldn't get to excited about getting close to 30 mpg on the highway.

While the Regal TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD is topping +30 mpg on the highway under a normal driving style.

NormT (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 7:37PM

In reply to by Wesley Hetrick (not verified)

Search Twin Clutch AWD on YouTube or Google for videos/article of GM vehicles like XT5, Envision doing roller tests. I'd post here but not sure it is allowed by admin.

Then I'll show you videos of Subaru system failing.

Mike (not verified)    August 2, 2019 - 11:56AM

In reply to by Wesley Hetrick (not verified)

You obviously missed the mark. My subaru is 80% front / 20% rear most of the time, and adjusts as needed. In first gear and reverese, it is 50%/50%. There is no good reason to keep it in 50/50. Even 100% front 99% of the time wouldn't be bad. The whole point of AWD is to compensate for slipping tires, not to distribute power to all wheels for no good reason.

Darrin Peter De May (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 10:46PM

My wife & I love our 2015 Forester XT Touring and we were both disappointed when we heard that Subaru had killed the XT option, citing that they had done so because only 5% of Forester buyers went for it. If that's truly the case, what makes them think that Outback buyers are that much different? How many reviews of the updated Forester do they have to read that basically all say that it's a very nice little SUV, but that the 182 HP naturally aspirated engine makes it a bit of a slug? Get a clue, Subaru!

Barb Lee (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 11:32PM

In reply to by Darrin Peter De May (not verified)

I agree the Forester XT is my first SUBARU & TURBO too! It’s so awesome to drive! I am very very very upset they are discontinuing it! Are they nuts? The Ascent is way too big for me and the Outback has more of a car feel versus an SUV. I don’t know what I will do when my lease is up next year. Get a clue SUBARU-know what some buyers want or at least give them a special order option for TURBO!!!

Ed M (not verified)    May 3, 2019 - 11:29PM

Was hoping it would read they were bringing back manual transmissions. No CVT for me, especially with fake shift points. I mean... seriously???

stabbim (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 2:10AM

Did you seriously just call the Outback an SUV?

Do words mean anything anymore? First, all the marketing yahoos decide that any SUV built on a unibody can be called a "crossover" even if they're 8 feet tall and weigh 900 million pounds. And now you've decided that one of the few true crossovers on the market is an "SUV." Good grief.

Darrin Peter De May (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 4:05AM

My wife & I love our 2015 Forester XT Touring and we were both disappointed when we heard that Subaru had killed the XT option, citing that they had done so because only 5% of Forester buyers went for it. If that's truly the case, what makes them think that Outback buyers are that much different? How many reviews of the updated Forester do they have to read that basically all say that it's a very nice little SUV, but that the 182 HP naturally aspirated engine makes it a bit of a slug? Get a clue, Subaru!

Lee Taplinger (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 8:51AM

Odd. Turbos usually add power and mileage and this adds power and takes away mileage. I'm guessing their old turbos had reliability problems so while other manufacturers were adding turbos they removed theirs. Now a company with chronic reliability problems (piston rings, head gaskets, CVT transmissions) is adding another possible problem.

Mike (not verified)    August 2, 2019 - 12:09PM

In reply to by Lee Taplinger (not verified)

The reduction in (mileage?) fuel economy is not in the adding of the turbo, it is in adding power to the base engine (tune). If the base engine was 150bhp, adding the turbo might give you 200bhp with better fuel economy. But tune that engine with the turbo you might get 260bhp with worse fuel economy. My numbers are hypothetical, but is still representative of the issue.
My 2002 WRX requires premium fuel, which was the downside of turbos. You might get V6 power with better fuel economy, but pay more for gas. That might be why they stopped offering turbos on some models (the WRX has been constant though, so doubtful major problems) because of the premium fuel (speculation). Newer technology has allowed manufacturers to use turbo without premium, which might be why we see it returning.

J Myers (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 8:42PM

Beware the CVT. Subaru extended the warranty to 100,000 miles. Why? Because they know they will break soon after. I have two Subaru’s. A 2014 Outback and a 2018 Crosstrek. The CVT in the Outback when out at 150000. Expensive to fix. Even though it’s been meticulously maintained. Want a car that lasts a long time and won’t break? Buy a Toyota. I’ve bought my last Subaru.