2020 Subaru Outback first drive: Ridge running

The Outback has been a huge hit for Subaru. The company sold its 2-millionth one last year. And in 2018, the company moved 184,733 of them. Even with an old Outback on dealership lots, sales were up 8.9 percent this past June. And that helped make for an impressive 91 months of consecutive sales growth for the brand.
Outback folks are ridiculously satisfied with their cars. They’re loyal too. Those are big reasons why this one doesn’t look a whole lot different than the old one despite riding on an all-new platform. The 2020 Subaru Outback is 1.4 inches longer than the outgoing model but retains the same wheelbase and overall height. Beneath the new skin, the Outback rides on the same new Subaru Global Platform that underpins the Ascent as well as the upcoming Legacy. That architecture Subaru says, is far more robust in every possible measurement thanks to the increased use of varying types of high-strength steels and structural adhesives. The company says it’s 70 percent stiffer in torsional and front suspension rigidity. It’s also 100 percent stiffer than the old car in rear subframe rigidity.
Subaru opts for a front MacPherson strut suspension with new rebound springs to help limit roll and nose dive during hard braking on this stiff new platform. The team also uses new aluminum lower control arms to save weight. The rear double wishbone suspension is revised and, like the front, wears upsized antiroll bars. All that chassis engineering adds up to quicker responses and, Subaru says, more speed in double lane-change testing. Like the last Outback, the slightly taller ride height comes not from longer springs but from spring spacers. And that combined with either the standard 17-inch tires or the optional 18s creates 8.7-inches of ground clearance. That’s the same as last year’s car but more than quite a few crossovers.