2020 Subaru Gymkhana STI
Travis Pastrana will be taking the reins from Ken Block in Gymkhana 11, Subaru sniffed out the opportunity and that’s how the one-off, bare-carbon Gymkhana STI was born.
Subaru and Gymkhana are no strangers to each other, as the first two instalments saw Ken Block smoke the living rubber out of a WRX STI. After a long collabo with Ford, the Gymkhana franchise is back to its roots and we absolutely love what we’re seeing.
2020 Subaru Outback - Driven
The Subaru Outback started like as a full-fledged station wagon that was based on the Legacy back in 1994. In those 16 years, the Outback slowly evolved from your everyday wagon to what is, essentially, a crossover by today’s standards. As such, the competition is fierce, and with the sixth-gen Outback hitting the market for the 2020 model year, we thought it would be a great idea to see just what it has th
at sets it apart from the many models on the market. Fortunately for us (and you, of course), Subaru was kind enough to let us get behind the wheel of an Outback Onyx Edition XT for an entire week. This is what we’ve learned.
2020 Subaru Legacy - Driven
One automaker after another is facing a new reality: Most people prefer SUVs to cars. That’s nothing new to Subaru, whose cars have played second fiddle to its crossovers ever since it turned the midsize Legacy station wagon into the Outback in 1995.
A crossover before the term “crossover” existed — before even “car-based SUVs” had really emerged on the scene — the Outback was a Legacy with some butcher detailing and, soon after its launch, a higher ground clearance. Since then, the Legacy has dwindled from Subaru’s flagship to a minor part of the company’s lineup, while the Outback has become its No. 1 product. Last year, the company sold five times as many Outbacks as Legacys.
Other companies’ buyers stuck with sedans longer. That’s probably because Subarus’ famously standard all-wheel-drive system already attracted the type of buyer who wanted more utility than a sedan. But now, nearly across the board, sedan sales are falling as crossover sales rise.
Some automakers have responded by discontinuing their sedans. Many of the survivors are focusing on what makes sedans stand out from SUVs: low, sleek proportions and a sporty driving experience. The latest iterations of the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry have all dialed up their style and their performance chops. The idea is that if someone still wants a car today, they really want a car — something beautiful, something fun, something interesting.
The redesigned 2020 Subaru Legacy, meanwhile, isn’t really any of those things. It sticks firmly to the old-school midsize sedan rules: a smooth ride, a big back seat, a fuel-efficient powertrain, and easy outward visibility. And, just like it has for decades, it comes standard with the same all-wheel-drive system that you’d find in a Subaru crossover. There’s little pizzazz to the design, which is nearly indistinguishable visually from the previous-generation 2015-2019 Legacy. The driving experience isn’t zesty like an Accord or like some past Legacy generations. This is a sedan that blends into the background, and Subaru doesn’t use discounted pricing to lure the remaining sedan shoppers. Even the Legacy’s storied all-wheel-drive advantage is dwindling; the Nissan Altima recently introduced an optional AWD system, and the Toyota Camry is following suit this year.
The Legacy is a safe, comfortable, no-nonsense midsize sedan. The new generation is roomier than before, it gets better gas mileage (especially if you opt for the optional new turbocharged four-cylinder, which replaces last year’s thirsty six-cylinder), and it has a bigger infotainment screen on most models. If you think excitement is overrated, you don’t have to count out this Subaru — though we’re going to go over its shortcomings as well. Prices start at $23,645, including the mandatory $900 destination charge.
The seventh-generation Subaru Legacy debuted at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, and less than a year later, we finally got to get behind the wheel of one. Right away, we were impressed. It’s built on top of Subaru’s newly optimized global platform, which means it’s stiffer in all the right places. And, thanks to Subaru’s newly adopted Dynamic X Solid philosophy that makes the Legacy more expressive than even – something that’s clearly visible in the front end design and in the rear where the rear decklid is morphed into a makeshift spoiler of sorts.
The interior probably got the biggest update, though, with the major highlight being that new 11.6-inch, vertically oriented infotainment display. It’s dubbed “HD Subaru Starlink,” and it’s about as modern as you can get without stepping into a Mercedes. Other interior features worth boasting is the new Nappa leather – a first for the Legacy and Subaru as a company – improved headroom and legroom, and improved cargo capacity.
Subaru has finally decided to Turbocharge the Legacy for the first time since 2012, and our Legacy XT tester featured a 2.4-liter Boxer engine that delivers a cool 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. All of that is sent through a CVT with a somewhat decent manual mode. It doesn’t make up for the lack of a manual or something with real gears, but it’s definitely not the worst CVT on the market. Four-wheel drive is, as you’d expect, a standard affair, and it took our tester just 6.1 seconds to hit 60 mph – not bad for a family sedan that’s also safe. The Subaru Legacy starts out at $22,745, but to get an XT model like ours, you’ll have to pony up at least $34,195 or $35,895 for the XT Touring.
2020 Subaru BRZ Special Edition
Back in June of 2019, we received confirmation that a next-gen Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ were in the works Then, in September, we learned that the new BRZ and 86 twins may take a re-tuned version of the Subaru Ascent’s 2.4-liter Flat-Four as their main source of motivation. Fast forward to the end of October 2019, and here we are looking at a random Subaru BRZ prototype undergoing the rigors of testing on none other than the Nurburgring. This begs the question of what Subaru has under its sleeve. Right away, I’m here to tell you that it’s not the next-gen BRZ, as that’s still at least a couple of years away. Based on the camo, this appears to be a hotter version of the BRZ, one that could be offered as a special edition or maybe even as a new range-topping model to hold us off until the next-gen BRZ arrives. Even better yet, we think this prototype is being pushed around the track by the Ascent’s 2.4-liter flat-four. After all, what better way to test the reception of a sport-tuned engine than to unleash it in a go-faster version of the current model.
Update 11/28/2019:The special edition Subaru BRZ that’s planned to debut sometime in 2020 was spotted testing on the Nurburgring being benchmarked against the Alpine A110 of all things. Check out the new images and learn more in our Spy Shots section below!
2019 Subaru Levorg Prototype
Subaru has pulled the covers off the all-new Levorg wagon, ushering in the second-generation version of what has become one of the most popular wagons in Japan. The Subaru Levorg Prototype isn’t the final production model. It is, as Subaru deftly calls it, a near-production “prototype” of the second-generation wagon that will arrive in the Japanese market in the second half of 2020. The Levorg isn’t going to the U.S. market, but some of the new and updated technologies that are being showcased by the prototype in Tokyo will find their way to America in some form or fashion. In the absence of the actual wagon heading Stateside, we’ll take our victories where we can get them.
Subaru’s 2.0-liter engine, aka the EJ20, in Subaru terms, has been around since 1989 when it was introduced in the JDM-spec Subaru Legacy. Now, after 30 years, it’s time to lay a legendary engine to rest, so Subaru has decided to produce a special edition WRX STI known as the EJ20 Final Edition. It will be limited to just 555 models, but that doesn’t matter, because this beauty is available in Japan only at the price of 4,110 million Yen – about $38,000 at current exchange rates. Subaru will stop taking orders on December 23rd, but there’s a lot more to it than that, so let me fill you in on the finer details.
2020 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is one of Subaru’s best-selling models in its biggest market in the world, the American one. The sixth-generation model was unveiled at the 2019 New York Auto Show and, as expected, it’s an evolution of the car it replaces rather than a revolution to the extent that you need to be quite the automotive detective to find the differences between the older model and the new one. But the Outback is riding on a winning formula so Subaru had no reason to rush and change it.
As you know, the new Forester will come next year along with the new seventh-generation Legacy to which it will still be linked. Both cars, as well as the Outback, will sit on the new Subaru Global Platform which should ensure better handling thanks to a lower center of gravity, increased structural rigidity and versatility. The Outback will still be classified as a crossover rather than a station wagon, a move that was made when the fifth-generation model was unveiled back in 2015 when the Outback gained some much-needed inches for more room inside.
Subaru previewed the design direction of the new Outback with the Viziv Concept Tourer, but none of us thought we’ll see anything that sporty hit the production line. Of course, some design cues have been broadly carried over, albeit toned down a few notches, but, overall, what you see is the result of 25 years of refinement that made the Outback into what it is today: a combo between the dying breed of station wagons and the booming breed of compact crossovers that brings together the best of both worlds.
The 2020 Outback will be available with a choice of two engines, a 2.4-liter, turbocharged boxer unit, and a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated one with less power that will be fitted to the entry-level version. Both will be mated to a CVT transmission and symmetrical AWD is standard, Subaru boasting with up to 33 mpg fuel economy with the more economical mill under the hood.
2019 Subaru WRX
The Subaru WRX is one of those sporty sedan rally cars that every enthusiast should drive at least once in their life. It went through a generational shift for the 2015 model year that made it even better, bringing new exterior looks, a longer A-Pillar, LED exterior lighting, a roomier interior, better outward visibility, and a new 2.0-liter four-banger that was 0.5-liters smaller than the outgoing unit but offered three extra ponies and 14 extra pound-feet which really helped to offset the 50+ pound weight gain than came with the new-gen model. It’s only been a couple of years since the new-gen model hit showrooms, and Subie put together some minor revisions for the 2018 model year. There was no power gain to speak of, unfortunately, but it did make some minor exterior styling updates, improved the suspension setup, updated the manual transmission, and now offers a new optional Performance pack – the latter of which you really want to know about if you’re hoping to ride off into the sunset with a new WRX. For 2019, there were no changes to speak of but we were excited to get our hands on one anyway. This was our experience.
2019 Subaru Forester
Subaru went all in with the 2019 Forester, and it really paid off. When you add up the fresh, modern look, all that interior space, a little bit of extra power, and loads of updated safety tech, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by this amazing piece of machinery. Of course, looks and features are only half the story, though. What about the experience of being behind the wheel? How does the Forester handle quick maneuvers? How is it for long trips? Well, we spent some one-on-one time the 2019 Forester, and this is our experience.
2019 Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept
Expectedly, Subaru is among the first ones to jump onto the wagon of endless teasers released before an auto show to introduce us to a new vehicle. In this case, the Japanese company we all adore released a really dark teaser of what is called the Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept. It is the seventh Viziv concept since 2013, and it definitely projects what will become an all-new car. Well, in the case of the Viziv Adrenaline Concept - what will become an all-new crossover. Because, of course, it is a crossover. Maybe even one that will evolve like a Pokemon into the next Crosstrek.
Subaru is really, like really, really secretive about it for now, but I did find out a thing or two about it and can make some logical conclusions.
2020 Subaru Legacy
First arriving on the scene in 1989, the Legacy nameplate has served as Subaru’s flagship sedan for six full generations. Now there’s a new seventh-generation arriving for the 2020 model year, and it’s framed as “the most advanced Legacy in the model’s 30-year history.” Sporting a revised exterior, oodles of new technology and luxury features in the cabin, as well as a new platform and a new turbocharged engine option, the Legacy is feeling fresher than ever. But with segment competition tightening, does the Legacy have what it takes?
2019 Subaru WRX STI S209
When Subaru first released the WRX to the U.S. market back in the early 2000’s, performance enthusiasts went nuts. Finally, after a decade left out in the cold, America was getting a taste of the turbocharged, rally-bred good life. Now we’re getting the full-fat experience thanks to the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209, a series of numbers and letters that add up to the most extreme Six Star experience available without a roll cage. Usually reserved as a JDM-only delicacy, the limited edition S209 is the first “S” line model offered exclusively for the U.S. market, and it’s nothing less than the best-performing STI ever made thanks to an upgraded engine package, functional aero, a wider stance, and trick suspension upgrades.
The 2019 Crosstrek is Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, and it’s set to go on sale in 2019. Like all PHEVs, it has some all-electric range, and it can even cruise close to highway speeds on electricity alone. And, when its gasoline engine and electrification work in tandem, it can result in excellent fuel economy figures. Unlike many plug-in versions of regular models, the Crosstrek Hybrid doesn’t really shout about what it is. There are some details that give it away, though and if one passes by in full EV mode, the lack of engine sound will also give it away. Inside it’s quite simple and minimalist, and far less extravagant to look a than any modern plug-in Toyota and Honda model. But, it does have a decent infotainment screen and the build quality does make up for its lack of design flair to a degree.
Update 12/3/2018: We’ve updated this review with new images taken at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check them out in the gallery below!