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April 6, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback is More Rugged, Premium, Comfier

Subaru has already shown the refreshed 2018 Legacy, now its raised wagon sibling, the Outback sees the light. Making its debut at the New York International Auto Show next week, the 2018 Subaru Outback features revised styling, more premium interior, advanced multimedia capabilities, and a ride made smoother and quieter.

The 2018 Subaru Outback shows off a bolder, more rugged fascia. Suggesting the company’s trademark horizontally-opposed Boxer engine, the 2018 Outback has a wider, lower grille openings, and a new bumper that complements the tweaked hexagonal grille. The C-shaped LED headlights feature the “Konoji” daytime running lights and have a steering responsive system. Meanwhile, the redesigned front cladding enhances protection from mud and stones when the vehicle is driven off pavement. Wheels, though new in design, remain the same size: 17- or 18 inches depending on the variant.

Inside, the Outback introduces new premium materials and a redesigned center console including genuine stitching details on the dashboard. The same stitching detail is also found on the seats and door panels. Around the cabin, high-gloss black trim and silver-colored bezels add a dose of sportiness while the new steering wheel ups the feel of luxury.

Though unseen, the 2018 Outback also has a revised air conditioning system that cools the cabin more quickly and provides a more uniform temperature throughout the cabin. The temperature setting indicator is now located inside the control dial for more intuitive operation. And as an added convenience, interior power is retained for a shorter time after the ignition has been switched off. The redesigned clock is larger and easier to read.

In terms of performance, the Outback retains the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine and the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine with the same power outputs as before. Nonetheless, Subaru has managed to sneak in improvements through the CVT transmission. It now offers a smoother, better response thanks to a retuned electronic control unit. It also has a 7-speed manual mode and paddle shifter control.

Enhancements made throughout the Outback chassis include retuned suspension dampers for a smoother ride, along with retuned steering and brake systems for a more direct feel and a more enjoyable driving experience. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a smoother, more linear response to driver input.

The Outback is also quieter for 2018. The CVT in 2.5-liter models now use a quieter short-pitch chain, and adjustments to engine timing under acceleration further reduce powertrain noise. Reshaped exterior mirrors are among a number of enhancements that further reduce wind noise. New sound-insulating glass for the front side windows makes the front seat area quieter, while thicker rear wheel well aprons reduce rear seat ambient noise.

As always, all models offer the brand’s grippy Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Paired with Active Torque Vectoring, it gives confident performance in all weather conditions. And thanks to its generous ground clearance and the X-Mode system, it’s also surprisingly surefooted off road.

EyeSight Driver Assist Technology when fitted includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. The system also comes with Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist. Now for 2018 are dynamic guidelines for the rear parking camera as well as individual tire pressure sensors.

The 2018 Subaru Outback goes on sale in the US starting in the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Motor Image Pilipinas, the official distributor of Subaru vehicles in the Philippines will most likely launch the 2018 Outback sometime in the fourth quarter of 2017 or early 2018. If it’s launching in 2018, they’ll time during the Manila International Auto Show given Motor Image’s past record.

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