The powertrain lineup remains exactly the same, but nearly everything else receives an update.
Subaru, which is now officially the overall corporation’s name, continues its very busy year by unveiling a major refresh for the 2018 Outback. The latest version of the brand’s popular high-riding wagon will debut publicly at the New York Auto Show on April 12, and it’ll go on sale this summer.
The design of the refreshed Outback follows the updated Legacy and Crosstrek in Subaru’s move to a more chiseled appearance for its models. Sharper corners for the headlights create a more angular look at the corners of the front end, and the result is a generally more rugged appearance. A revised fascia has larger grille openings and sculpting that accentuates the big fog lights. The firm also claims the new “front cladding enhances protection from mud and stones.” The tweaks retain the vehicle’s 8.7 inches (221 millimeters) of ground clearance.
Driving the 2018 Outback might be a little more engaging. For example, revisions for the electric power steering make its response more linear, and the brakes reportedly have “a more direct feel,” according to Subaru. Retuned dampers also allegedly offer a smoother ride.
The Outback continues to be available with the same engine lineup. The 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder still makes 175 horsepower (131 kilowatts) and 174 pound-feet (236 Newton-meters) of torque. The 3.6-liter flat-six has 256 hp (191 kW) and 247 lb-ft (335 Nm). A CVT is the only available gearbox, but the company claims that it has a smoother response from a retuned control unit. All trims of the 2018 Outback have Subie’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.
Subaru also adds a little more tech for drivers to enjoy. The available LED headlights are now steering responsive for extra light while cornering. Limited and Touring trims with the firm’s EyeSight safety assistance suite get High Beam Assist, too.
Inside, the Outback should be more comfy, too, thanks to higher quality materials. A 6.5-inch infotainment screen is now standard, rather than the previous 6.2-inch unit. A larger 8-inch display comes on higher trim levels, replacing the existing 7-inch monitor. Sound insulating glass in the front row and the new shape of the outside mirrors also reduces wind noise in the cabin.
The Outback was Subaru’s bestselling vehicle in the United States in 2016 with deliveries totaling 182,898 examples – a 20.1-percent jump over the model’s total volume in 2015. Through March 2017, the high-riding wagon continues to lead the automaker’s sales in the U.S. with a volume of 42,572 units – a 14.2-percent increase over the same period last year.
Subaru will also give the refreshed Crosstrek its North American debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Like the Outback, the compact crossover has a more angular face. Its 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder receives a slight power bump to 152 hp (113 kW), too.
Gallery: 2018 Subaru Outback
SUBARU DEBUTS 2018 OUTBACK WITH MORE RUGGED STYLING, NEW SAFETY FEATURES, PREMIUM INTERIOR AND NEW MULTIMEDIA
Revised styling reinforces unique Subaru identity and rugged character.
Refreshed interior with more premium materials.
Ride made even smoother and quieter.
New multimedia capabilities, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Nuance voice recognition.
New available Steering Responsive LED Headlight system.
NEW YORK - Subaru of America, Inc., which has posted month-over-month growth for 64 consecutive months, today announced that it will debut the 2018 Outback at the New York International Auto Show on April 12. The Outback is the Subaru’s best-selling model. The 2018 Outback arrives this summer.
Featuring revised front and rear styling for a more robust stance, the 2018 Outback also debuts significant upgrades to comfort, safety and multimedia capability. Many new engineering and design details throughout the 2018 Outback enhance the driving experience and the vehicle’s versatility.
As the World’s First Sport Utility Wagon the Subaru Outback was instrumental in launching the crossover trend more than 20 years ago, with rugged styling that highlighted increased capability. Today, the Outback offers the most interior room in an expanding segment of sport-utility wagons: total passenger volume 108.1 cu. ft., plus 35.5 cu. ft. of space behind the rear seats and 73.3 cu. ft. with the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback folded. The load floor is nearly flat, and the cargo area features convenient rear seatback release levers.
Numerous details help make the Outback convenient to load and carry cargo, as well as items such as kayaks and bikes. Roof rails with integrated retractable crossbars are standard on all models, except Touring, which features exclusive low-profile roof rails in a silver finish with available detachable crossbars. Step-style doorsills allow a person to stand firmly when securing objects to the crossbars on all Outback models.
Rugged Good Looks, With an Added Touch of Elegance
The Outback shows a bolder, more rugged looking face for 2018, highlighted by wider, lower grille openings and a new bumper that complement the iconic Subaru hexagonal grille. The C-shaped headlights, parking lights and new horizontal character lines extending outward from the grille subtly suggest the piston motion of the BOXER engine, a Subaru core technology. The redesigned headlights feature distinctive “Konoji” daytime LED running lights.
The redesigned front cladding enhances protection from mud and stones when the vehicle is driven off pavement. A new high-contrast wheel design on Limited trim highlight the luxury-class appearance for the 2018 Outback. The 2.5i base and Premium trims are equipped with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, and all Limited and Touring models offer 18-inch alloy wheels.
More Safety Tech for 2018
A proven safety standout, the Outback adds to its array of driver-assist features for 2018, including available new Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH). Available in conjunction with LED headlights, SRH aim the lights into turns as the driver steers. Also for 2018, Outback Limited and Touring models with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology feature High Beam Assist, which automatically turns the high beams on and off depending on traffic conditions.
More Responsive and Quieter
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.
Subaru made the Outback even quieter for 2018. The Lineartronic CVT for 2.5i models now uses 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.
Enhanced Comfort Throughout
All trim lines in the 2018 Outback line introduce new premium materials and a redesigned center console, highlighted by an available 8-inch display screen for enhanced multimedia capabilities. The Premium and higher trims feature genuine stitching detail on the dashboard, while Limited and Touring models also add stitching detail to the seats and door panels along with high-gloss black trim and silver-color bezels for various controls. A new Titanium Gray interior is now available, in addition to Slate Black and Warm Ivory, and the new steering wheel has a more luxurious look and feel.
In the Subaru tradition, numerous – and sometimes unseen – details enhance everyday comfort. The revised air conditioning system cools the cabin more quickly and provides more uniform temperature throughout the cabin. The temperature setting indicator is now located inside the control dial for more intuitive operation. As an added convenience, interior power is retained for a short time after the ignition has been switched off. The redesigned clock is larger and easier to read.
The Outback 2.5i is powered by a 175-hp double overhead cam (DOHC) 2.5-liter BOXER engine that produces 174 lb-ft peak torque. The Active Grille Shutter system helps to improve fuel economy by reducing wind resistance. The DOHC 3.6-liter 6-cylinder BOXER engine in the Outback 3.6R produces 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of peak torque, sustaining 90 percent of peak torque from 2,000-6,000 rpm for exceptional response at all vehicle speeds. Both engines are teamed with standard Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) now with a seven-speed manual mode and paddle shift control switches. The CVT offers smoother response for 2018, thanks to a retuned electronic control unit (ECU).
The combination of standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Active Torque Vectoring gives Outback confident grip in all weather conditions. In all 2018 Outback models, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is an active AWD system that uses an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively manage torque distribution based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction. The 8.7-inch ground clearance on all Outback models excels many crossovers.
For driving in challenging conditions, standard driver-selectable X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases active all-wheel drive engagement and uses enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability system to reduce individual wheel spin. Engaging X-Mode also activates Hill Descent Control, which uses engine braking to help maintain a constant vehicle speed when traveling downhill. The Outback also features standard Hill Start Assist.
Four Trim Lines
The 2018 Outback 2.5i will be available in standard, Premium, Limited and top-of-line Touring trims; the 3.6R will offer Limited and Touring trims. The top-of-line Touring was new for 2017, featuring the highest luxury content in the model line, plus standard Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and exclusive design elements. The Touring interior features Java Brown perforated leather-trimmed upholstery, door panels and armrests with contrasting ivory stitching. In addition to all the equipment from the Outback Limited, the Touring includes a heated steering wheel, unique woodgrain patterned interior trim, and piano-black switch panel accents
Subaru Multimedia Upgraded for 2018
The 2018 Outback offers the brand’s latest SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia system with Bluetooth wireless capability, iPod control, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and more. The top-level system includes TomTom navigation with three years of free map updates. Two USB power ports are added to the back of the center console for rear seat passengers’ convenience.
The standard STARLINK 6.5” Multimedia system is an upgrade from the previous STARLINK 6.2” system and offers quicker performance. The available STARLINK 8.0” system debuts a new 8-inch central touch-screen display that provides smartphone-like operation. More smartphone-linked operations improve the multimedia experience while reducing the need to divert attention from the road or hands from the steering wheel.
Now using two microphones and technology by Nuance (maker of Dragon Dictation apps for computers and other devices) voice recognition is significantly improved in the 2018 Outback. The driver can more easily use Apple Siri or OK Google voice commands, and the system is compatible with multiple languages.
Among standard features on all SUBARU STARLINK systems are Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod control, a USB port and auxiliary input jack. High-line trims add dual USB ports and other features. Smartphone integration features Aha and Pandora, along with STARLINK cloud applications iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Calendar, Music Player, News and Weather. Apps added for 2018 include:
Magellan NAVI offers advanced cloud-based mapping.
eBird advises of local bird sightings and locations.
Best Parking locates and compares parking rates.
YELP delivers crowd sourced reviews of businesses.
Glympse provides real-time location sharing.
RightTrack monitors driving habits and recommends improvements.
Quick Guide is a digital reference guide for the vehicle.
eventseeker provides information on local events.
Premium, Limited and Touring Outback STARLINK Multimedia systems are also compatible with Over the Air (OTA) updates using WiFi.
Safety Leader with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
The brand’s available award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, available on most trims, includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. The Lane Keep Assist system now activates earlier, at just above 37 mph. Models with EyeSight also come with Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which includes Lane Change Assist.
All Outback trim lines come standard with a rear-view camera. New for 2018, when reversing, the guidelines displayed on the screen move in sync with the steering to provide more accurate vehicle positioning.
The Outback builds on its long record as a safety standout, offering Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) and the new available Steering Responsive Headlight (SRH) system for 2018. RAB can detect objects in the vehicle’s path and convey audible warnings to the driver, showing distance and position of the object in the center display screen when reversing.
Also new for 2018, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) now detects pressure changes at individual tires. The Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert indicator lamp is larger and has been moved from the mirror’s surface to its side. In highline trims, redesigned LED turn signals in the mirrors are easier to see. Automatic locking doors are also new, and improved LATCH anchors make child seat installation easier.
SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services
Two SUBARU STARLINK packages are available and are among the most affordable in the industry. The STARLINK Safety Plus package, which is complimentary for the first year and $99 per year after that, includes SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Maintenance Notifications, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Diagnostic Alerts. For even greater peace of mind, the STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus Package adds Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locator.
Subaru of America, Inc. offers a full line of all-wheel drive sedans, crossovers and SUVs, along with the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car. The Impreza, Legacy and Outback are built at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA).
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit media.subaru.com.