Is the 2018 Subaru Outback as good as the previous model?
The 2018 Subaru Outback is being advertised as a do it all wagon, and while it’’s not the first to make such a claim, safe to say that the Outback has the specs, power and versatility to handle everyday driving. Whether you’re taking the kids to school, going to work or doing some weekend off-road driving, the Outback will be there.
The 2017 Outback was impressive, so for the 2018 model Subaru enhanced the power steering and brakes, revamped the suspension, the chassis, body cladding, headlights and the front bumper. Other features weren’t changed and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Subaru also made some changes with the interior. It is still roomy but the steering wheel and the center console have been tweaked. The contrast stitching has been upgraded too.
The seats are comfortable and the interior is roomy. There is 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space if the seats are up and 73.3. cubic feet if the seats are down. In terms of comparison the Outback is similar to the Buick Regal wagon.
The infotainment area has been spruced up as well with some nifty new additions.
The Starlink apps were pretty good in the 2017 Outback and several have been added for the 2018 edition. Among the most useful are Yelp, eventseeker, eBird and Best Parking. The eBird app helps you find the best places for bird sightings, a treat for nature lovers.
The voice recognition program has been improved and the base 2.5i system has been increased from 6.2 to 6.5 inches. Over at the rear passenger seats are a couple of USB ports. As good as the entertainment system was, the upgrades just made it even better.
At 20/27 mpg, the Outback flat six does as well as the Jeep Cherokee V-6 4WD standard. The Cherokee goes down to 18/26 mpg with the Active Drive II but does better at 21/29 with the Regal TourX.
Even so the Outback 3.6R trim beats the TourX and the Cherokee when it comes to the driving range. The Cherokee goes for 332 to 363 miles, the TourX 343 miles while the Outback takes you up to 407 miles. This is possible because the Outback has an 18.5 gallon tank.
The Outback fuel economy is good but it’s going to get better. It’s currently using a flat six but this will be superseded by a 2.0 or 2.4L turbo 4.
The Outback is hard to beat when it comes to safety. The IIHS gave it the 2018 Top Safety Pick+, the highest possible rating. The Outback is also certified safe by the NHTSA and awarded a 5 star rating.
The Outback got these high safety marks by getting the highest possible rating for headlights assessment and crash tests. The Outback also got a Superior grade for front crash preventive measures, another indication of how safe the wagon is.
Its EyeSight driver assist package is available for the standard and 3.6R trim. With this package you get high beam assist, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and automatic braking assistance. The package also includes stop and go and adaptive cruise control.
The Outback also comes with other safety features like steering-responsive LED headlights, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, blind spot assistance, reverse auto braking, and Starlink Safety and Security. This service includes SOS emergency assistance, collision course notification and more.
Bottom line, the Outback has safety features that is very hard to match. No matter where you take this wagon you’ll be fully protected.
Performance and Driving
The 3.6R trim handles smoothly and with lots of power. The seats are comfortable with plenty of leg room. The car also does a good job of insulating the cabin from the wind and the tires. The powertrain is very good and is one of the most responsive in its class. From riding, handling and steering, the 3.6R makes full use of the flat six.
There’s no need to apply lots of force on the throttle. Just step on the gas and the Outback responds quickly. Handling is decent too. This aspect doesn’t shine as well as its other features but it works. And compared to other raised wagons the Outback handles better overall.
It helps that the seats are high and visibility is excellent. From the driver’s seat the view is clear. The belt lines are low and the windows are big, reducing blind spots.
The Outback is an exceptional, providing an enjoyable riding experience. It is responsive, spacious and comfortable. The flat six may be a little long in the tooth but it still works. The Outback’s biggest selling point however, is its versatility. For work and play it’ll get you there, and when the vehicle gets onto the new platform from Subaru it will be even better.
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