While much of the attention of Subaru’s crossover lineup if focused on the new XV Crosstrek, a refreshed Outback for 2013 is also in the offing. The newest generation of the Outback debuted for the 2010 model year, when it won the 2010 Motor Trend SUV of the Year.
More Powerful and Fuel-Efficient
The 2013 Outback will have a fresh fascia and offer an improved 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine. The engine offers three more horsepower (up to 173) and improved fuel economy. The 2013 Outback 2.5i with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gets EPA estimated fuel economy of 24-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. This modest engine revision with improved fuel economy is similar to what was seen in the 2012 Honda CR-V.
The Outback features the new second-generation of the Lineartronic® CVT. The CVT features a 6-speed manual mode with paddle shifters. The CVT is an optional feature in the Outback while a 6-speed manual is standard.
The Outback 2.5i’s fuel economy compares very favorable to the 2013 Toyota Venza; it is 20% better. The 2013 Venza with all-wheel drive gets EPA rated fuel economy of 20-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. The Venza does have 8 more horsepower than the Outback.
This new Outback engine for 2013 improves fuel economy of 2-mpg in city driving and 1-mpg in highway driving. In combined driving, fuel economy improves 2-mpg from the 2012 model. The 2013 Outback will also offer the 3.6-liter flat six, which carries over unchanged with a five-speed automatic. This engine gets EPA rated fuel economy of 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. All Outbacks comes standard with Subaru’s Symmetrical® All-Wheel Drive system.
6 Trim Lines
The Outback is available in six trim lines. Both the 2.5i and 3.6R are available in base, Premium, and Limited forms. The base model comes standard with BlueTooth, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat and recline feature, and Hill Holder System. Outback Premium models add a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 17-inch wheels.
Outback Premium models have many optional features such as heated front seats and mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, power moonroof, rear vision camera, premium audio system, a 4.3-inch color display, and standard XM® radio.
Outback Limited trims have standard perforated leather upholstery, rear A/C ducts, dual zone automatic climate control, and an available GPS navigation system with a 7-inch display. One change for 2013 is that the Limited trim offers a new Special Appearance Package.
Outback Interior Improvements
In addition to the exterior and engine enhancements, the 2013 Outback also features new interior amenities and safety features. The Outback will offer lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, and a new EyeSight™ Driver-Assist System. EyeSight uses a stereo camera with a detection angle wider than radar-based systems. This collision mitigation system can also detect pedestrians or other obstacles in a vehicle’s path at speeds under 19mph and bring automatically bring the vehicle to a compete stop.
These safety additions should help keep the Outback among the safest SUVs. The model also offers new adaptive cruise control and audio system improvements. On road, Subaru boasts chassis enhancements in the Outback for better ride quality, less body roll, and improved agility.
These 2013 Subaru Outback changes should keep the model among the top picks in the midsize SUV category. Four-cylinder midsize SUV competitors include the Venza, Dodge Journey and the more sleek but less practical Honda Crosstour.