The Outback is Subaru’s best-selling model, so it’s important that the automaker keeps it up to date. A slate of revisions for the 2018 model year, debuting at the New York Auto Show, keeps the Outback nice and fresh.
The 2018 Subaru Outback doesn’t change much from the outside. The front fascia has wider openings, and the headlights pick up a redesign with new LED running lights. The body cladding is also a bit beefier, to help keep the panels free from rock chips and dents.
Subaru’s made some improvements under the sheet metal, too. The suspension dampers have been softened, the electric power steering has been tweaked to be smoother, and the brakes have been altered for a more linear feel. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a new chain for quieter operation, and the noise abatement continues with revised engine timing that helps cut down on noise during acceleration.
The NVH benefits continue with insulating glass for the front side windows and thicker rear wheel well materials.
The Outback’s interior wasn’t bad, but it got hit for mediocre materials. That changes for 2018, thanks to new materials throughout the interior and a redesigned center console. Higher-end models get new stitching details and gloss-black trim. The AC cools the cabin faster and more evenly, and the clock has been made larger for easier readability.
Subaru’s maligned Starlink gets some upgrades, too. The base touchscreen is now 6.5 inches (formerly 6.2), and the premium system measures 8.0 inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now included. The voice-recognition system picks up a second microphone for improved performance, and rear-seat occupants now get two USB ports. The system can be upgraded over the air using a tethered Wi-Fi connection, too.
You’ll find several new apps available: eBird lets you browse local bird sightings, while Yelp brings its reviews right to the infotainment system. Glympse lets you share your location in real time and Best Parking finds and compares parking rates around town.
A backup camera is standard, and the guidelines now move with the steering wheel. A new steering-responsive headlight system moves the low beams in turns to better show the road ahead. EyeSight is once again available, offering safety systems like autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.
Powertrain options remain the same. You can have a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter H4 in base, Premium, Limited and Touring models. If you want some more power, a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter H6 is available in Limited and Touring trims.
The 2018 Outback arrives at dealers this summer.