Skip to main content

You Will See New Subaru Outback Hybrid Model Before All Electric

The 2020 Subaru Outback XT turbo arrives soon, but when will customers be driving an all-electric Outback? Look for the AWD model to get hybrid power first.

The all-new 2020 Subaru Outback SUV/Crossover is coming soon with a new 2.4-liter turbo engine, but the Japanese automaker needs to move its all-wheel-drive vehicles toward more fuel-efficient powertrains. How will Subaru achieve this and keep their active customers happy who travel deep into the mountains on weekend adventures?

Subaru Corp will likely follow the strategy of Toyota which is to expand its U.S. hybrid offerings as they work on their electric vehicle program. Subaru is the smallest Japanese automaker and will rely on Toyota, who owns a 16.77 share of Subaru Corp, to help develop hybrid technology as they did with the new 2019 Crosstrek plug-in hybrid.

2020 Subaru Outback2020 Subaru Outback XT turbo

Customers will be driving Subaru Outback hybrid and Forester hybrid models before they see all-electric vehicles in the showrooms, but the small Japanese automaker will need both internal and external expertise to get there.

Subaru and Toyota recently announced a joint partnership to develop all-new midsize and large electric SUVs, and Subaru will follow Toyota’s lead who still see hybrids as an interim solution for customers in the U.S. not yet ready to fully plug in. This strategy will work perfectly for Subaru with its "go-anywhere" all-wheel-drive offerings.

2020 Subaru Outback

Many customers are not ready to buy a full-electric Outback as they use the SUV to get away from the city and range will be an issue. It's the reason why Subaru designed the new Global Platform that all new-generation Subaru vehicles will have to underpin them. The new single concept design allows for the development of many different powertrain options for plug-in-hybrids and electrification. Subaru can use the platform for their new FA24 2.4-liter turbo boxer engine, new hybrid powertrains, plug-in hybrids, all-electric power, and other types of alternative power units as demand increases further.

2020 Subaru Outback

Subaru is working on all-electric all-wheel-drive vehicles like the big automakers and they will tap Toyota technology to bring out new eco-performance models for its customers in the future. Subaru will first use turbo Boxer engines that power the 2020 Outback XT trims, and then adapt hybrid power to the Outback and Forester models before they begin offering new all-wheel-drive, all-electric models.

An all-electric Subaru Outback is coming, but hybrid power will rule first allowing customers to travel deep into the high country using gas and electric to get them there. Customers can expect Subaru to introduce new Outback and Forester hybrid models in the U.S. market sometime in 2021- 2022. Stay tuned.

Watch 2020 Subaru Outback MPG improvement noted by EPA and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily Subaru and automotive news analysis.

You Might Also Like: New Subaru Forester e-Boxer Hybrid Hits Global Market But It's Forbidden Fruit In The U.S.

Bookmark my Subaru page and be sure to follow 2020 Subaru Outback model change reports on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Send us your Subaru news tips @SubaruLegitNews and we'll give you a shout out! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Bill DeFalco (not verified)    October 11, 2019 - 2:15AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

With the current battery technology, which in my opinion is still not ready for Prime Time with its range limitations and long recharge time, a plug-in hybrid makes so much more sense for now. I am the proud owner of a 2014 Cadillac ELR - Cadillac's first electric car that has a 16.5 kWh battery pack that gets me upwards of 45 miles of all-electric driving range, and a 4 cylinder gasoline engine that engages with one the ELR's 2 Electric Motors to generate electricity to power the main Electric Drive motor when the battery is depleted. The ELR also allows you to select between power from the battery pack and power from the generator, and by strategically switching between these two power options, and by fully utilizing the 4 levels of Regenerative Braking, I've been getting incredible gas mileage for a 4,000-pound vehicle. I do all of my local driving on the battery pack alone, which yields 250 MPGe. On medium-range trips beyond the 45-mile battery range, I've been getting upwards of 90 MPG by supplementing the batteries with power from the generator. And on long highway trips, I've been averaging over 52 MPG. The best thing with my ELR is having the Instant Torque response and the exhilarating acceleration, power, and performance of Electric Drive without the range anxiety of the 100% battery-powered electric cars. With a quick pit stop at any convenient gas station along the way, I can top off my ELR's small 9.3-gallon gas tank and be right back on my way in under 2 minutes with another 300 miles of driving range. That beats having to hunt down a charging station and being stuck there for an hour or more - only to drive away with just 125 miles of range, where on a long trip you've got to do that multiple times!

DeanMcManis (not verified)    October 12, 2019 - 2:33AM

In reply to by Bill DeFalco (not verified)

Hey there Bill. I also own an ELR, and like the Chevy Volts that I had before, I have been very pleased with the PHEV/EREV drivetrain, and the balance that it achieves working mostly as an EV, but Then seamlessly shifting to the generator when extra driving is required. I am a big supporter of BEVs, but I see hybrids and PHEVs being logical alternatives to BEVs for many people.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    August 13, 2019 - 1:13PM

Yes, This all makes sense Denis. Toyota does have an electrification plan, and it will probably see the Prius line offer BEVs first, with other Toyotas to follow. But of course there are no Prius CUVs or SUVs so far. I suspect that smaller EV manufacturers like Rivian and Tesla will have to drive the market for EV pickups and SUVs, but as you say once Toyota comes on line with their EV CUVs it is quite likely that Subaru will show their BEV models shortly afterwards.

Ken Jacobs (not verified)    August 19, 2019 - 10:00PM

Suburu drivers who like to get away from the city are environmentalists. Suburu is making a big mistake in being slow to all electric, or even plug-in hybrids with more range than the laughable 17 miles of the crosstrek plug-in.

Min Aung (not verified)    October 13, 2019 - 2:31PM

In reply to by Ken Jacobs (not verified)

Why is Subaru Forester late in Hybrid /electric/plug-in-hybrid. I have a 2014 Premium forester and looking forward for a Hybrid till now ( 2019 ) and nothing has been heard about Forester Hybrid where as Toyota RAV4 hybrid is on the road already. Forget Nissan Rogue ( low quality hybrid and will stop production soon ). Even Honda CR-V has a hybrid. I think Subaru should be aware that Subaru authorized dealers are CHEATING. I had been to two different Subaru Dealers for OIL CHANGE since my 2 year /24 month free oil changes were over and they both indicate I need the next oil change after 3,000 miles even though I paid for the price of Synthetic oil change with filter for my Subaru Premium. Synthetic oil change gives a minimum of 5,000 miles for each oil change. Both Subaru dealers in Ventura county are
indicating owners to come back in after 3,000 miles ( Make a surprise visit to do the oil change ) I don't know whether other owners are AWARE of it or NOT but I got hit. The car from where I bought it ( Galpin Subaru Dealer ) was never like that but sad to say they gave up the Subaru Dealership. Other matters I am not sure if these 2 dealers are HONEST or not.

Oldneu (not verified)    October 16, 2019 - 2:24PM

In reply to by Min Aung (not verified)

I have a 2015 Outback. Burning oil at the rate of 1 qt to about 2500 miles, with 90,000 miles on it. It will be traded in on a 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybred in early 2020.

Min Aung (not verified)    September 18, 2019 - 6:17PM

Looks like SUBARU is BEHIND Toyota ( though Toyota Owns a percentage of Subaru ) , Nissan , Honda with Hybrids & E Vs. Why ? Not even on the drawing board ? Toyota doesn't want Subaru to compete?

Marc Green (not verified)    October 2, 2019 - 1:06PM

Let's cut to the chase:
When *specifically* can we expect to see a 4-cylinder hybrid Outback?
When *specifically* can we expect to see a fully electric Outback?

Subaru needs be leading the charge on the development of ultra-efficient vehicles, not waiting around for others to blaze the trail.

mervyn cohen (not verified)    October 18, 2019 - 2:34PM

New 2019 BMW 330 I Xdrive
Mervyn Cohen
520 West Cedar Street. Zionsville. Indiana 46077

I purchased my new car from a dealer in Indianapolis in April 2019, for almost $53,000 .
For a very expensive car I must share my disappointment with the many problems I identified. Many were just annoying, but some are dangerous
It was a new 2019 BMW 330 I Xdrive and my first ever BMW.
BMW repurchased the car back from me, about three months later. This was NOT because the car was a lemon, but because BMW agreed with me that the car had many design problems.

Before the purchase, I read many reviews. They were all very informative and helpful.
In retrospect my only criticism of these reviews is that they focused on engineering, engine performance, road handling and other high level issues. They mostly did not identify or discuss most of the long list of problem items that I discuss below.

Here is the list of all problems

Reverse warning “Cross traffic Alert” Dangerous issue
This never worked on my BMW 3
For over a week I was given a loaner car - new 2019 BMW 5. I will describe how the system worked on this loaner. I have videos I took of the camera image in the car. I was told by BMW that what I had in the loaner was exactly the same as the system would be in my own BMW 3, when it was repaired.
This function worked as follows on my loaner BMW 5. The design is almost dangerous, unless you fully understand what is going on:
a. If one is in reverse the system only picks up cars, in the closest lane, coming from ones right. Cars coming from the left, in the far away lane, are ignored
This is dangerous. When one reverses out of a garage or parking space, one usually crosses both lanes on the road, even if turning in the lane closest to you. Often one desires to set off in the other direction, in the lane furthest from you – THE LANE IN WHICH CARS ARE NOT DETECTED
b. The warning , if a car is detected, is always only a red area in the camera view. An audible warning is ONLY given if one is so close to the passing car that a crash is possible. In other words it never provides an audible warning from the car in motion, but only detects an impending collision, such as one would get if reversing into a wall.
This first couple of times the system nearly caused me an accident. I am used to the warning on my wife’s Subaru – an audible and visual warning for cars, or even pedestrians, passing behind, in either lane. In my new BMW, I was reversing, saw nothing, got no warning and believed it safe to proceed – not true - a car was crossing behind me in the far lane.

Turning off the engine. Dangerous issue
When one stops at the end of a trip, one is almost always in forward or reverse gear. In this situation, when one pushes the stop/start button at the end of a trip, the engine turns off and the car goes electronically into Park. No need to touch the gear lever at all.
However, if the engine is turned off and one is in neutral the car does not automatically shift into Park. This almost caused an accident. I was in neutral, pushed the engine off button and started to leave the car, which began to roll down a small hill, as it was not in park. This happened to me twice before I realized the reason – for some reason I was in neutral when I turned the engine off
I have since learned that the system was designed this way. If one is in forward or reverse gear and turns the engine off, the PARK is automatically engaged. If on is in neutral and turns the engine off, the car stays in neutral – HORRIBLE design. I was told that this was done for towing the car. There should have been consistency across all three gear positions!

Run flat tires
These are compulsory when buying the car. They are only good for another 70 miles of travel after a puncture. Also there is no spare. These tires sound great until one has a puncture at 10:00pm on an interstate in the Midwest. The run flat gets you 70 miles. If you are lucky it gets you to a small town. If you are lucky you find a hotel. If you are lucky the small local garage gets you a replacement tire within 24 hours!!

Lane Departure
This system can be turned off. If on, when a lane departure is detected it can be set to turning the steering and get the car back in lane, only vibrate the steering wheel, or both.
However I set the system, it just did its own thing when I crossed a lane line at over 45 mph. It just did any of the above options, irrespective of the selected setting.

Air Conditioning
Works OK, but is too weak to cool in very hot weather.

Loaner new 2019 BMW 5
While BMW were working on problems with my BMW 3, they provided me a loaner
My loaner BMW 5 had problems that a new car should never have!!
a. I have described the “Cross traffic Alert” design above.
b. The lane departure system was completely inoperable. When in All and not INDIVIDUAL mode, the steering did not correct lane violations and there was no vibration of the steering wheel.
c. The button on the driver’s door that should open the trunk, did not work.
Menus and Settings
Very complex, with many mechanical buttons and touch screen menus.

• Both of the screens are very glitzy. Some folk will like this. However all the color and glamor makes it difficult to actually see the information one is looking for.
• The screen behind the steering wheel is digital, but one cannot alter the layout at all. It does change automatically if one switches driving modes e.g. from normal to eco. The use of space is appalling. Trip details can be seen as a tiny area, while battery function (irrelevant in a non-hybrid car) takes up ¼ of the entire screen!

Back seat fold down.
The only release for the back seats is in trunk. When the release is used, the seats do not go down, only release. One must then open back door to push the seats down.
Also they don't go down flat.

Driver seat height.
For a very small person, when at maximum height, the driver’s seat is too low for optimal visibility.

Opening trunk lid by leg movement below the bumper
This almost never worked. Occasionally leg movement would open the trunk.
I was since shown shown that it requires an extremely precise leg position, and leg motion speed to work the system – bad design

Minor issue and intermittent
This occasionally gave inaccurate readings of outside temperature. When temps reached the high 80’s the thermometer gave a reading about 7 to 9 degrees too high.

Fuel reserve
On one occasion the waning light came on once and failed to come on the next time I started the car, before refueling.

Sorry to be so negative, but there is a systemic problem with software design and function coming from the factory in Germany.

Donna Kolo (not verified)    October 27, 2019 - 9:38PM

19 years ago I was supposed to be dead. 5 doctors told me so. I was rear ended by an ass going over 50 MPH. Subaru saved my life. About a year ago I bought my last car: Subaru Outback. Wish it could kick my arthritis to the sewer.