Making its first appearance at the New York Auto Show, the revamped 2018 Subaru Outback gains a bolder look and introduces a host of functional upgrades that make it even more comfortable and capable. Available in 2.5i base/Premium/Limited/Touring trims and 3.6R Limited and Touring variants, the 2018 Outback also benefits from a variety of enhancements to its standard and available safety features.

The most obvious changes to Subaru’s best-selling model are up front where a re-contoured bumper and larger lower grille opening team with a new signature hexagonal main grille. The opening is flanked by revised C-shaped headlamps and new “Konoji” design daytime running lamps. A similar stance-enhancing look for this compact SUV from recontoured rear quarters while new cladding offers even better protection from rocks and stones when the pavement ends. 

More accommodating, more capable 

Inside, the cabin offers upgraded materials and trims with all but the base 2.5i getting additional model-specific detail touches throughout. A new steering wheel complements the Outback’s redesigned center console while its revised climate control system cools more quickly and uniformly. Also joining the standard equipment roster are a retained-power feature, sound-insulating glass for the windshield and front doors plus more aerodynamic outside mirrors along with additional sound deadener throughout.

Also: Class of 2018: The New and Redesigned Cars, Trucks and SUVs

The 2018 Outback features the latest Subaru Starlink Multimedia systems with a larger, faster-responding 6.5-inch standard center screen and an available 8.0-inch touchscreen upgrade on higher-level models that offers smartphone-like functionality, better voice recognition and a host of new apps. The system incorporates over-the-air Wi-Fi updates on all but the base 2.5i variant. The standard rear backup camera adds dynamic guide lines for 2018 and the available EyeSight suite of driver assists with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure warning also gets a boost as the lane keep assist system now swings into action even earlier, at just over 37 mph. Also new for 2018 is optional reverse automatic braking and steering responsive LED headlamps as well high beam assist on Limited and Touring models.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2017

Whether packing the 174-horsepower/2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder or 256-horse/3.6-liter flat-6, the 2018 Outback features a smoother, quieter version of the Lineartronic CVT automatic that has paddle shifters and a 7-step manual mode which is backed by the firm’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Active Torque Vectoring. The setup also includes X-Mode with Hill Descent Control that lets a driver best optimize the engine/trans/stability control functions regardless of surface or incline. To complement its generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance, the 2018 Outback benefits from a retuned chassis that offers more compliant damping and more direct steering and brake feel.

The 2018 Subaru Outback family will arrive in showrooms this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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