Recent updates on the compact crossover immediately caused more interest. The company is looking forward to improving drivetrain since the styling is fresh and modern. The next thing we will see, probably for the 2021 Subaru Outback, is a hybrid drivetrain. What’s next? An all-electric model will follow in a couple of years after this one. So, the crossover will be eligible to enter the major league in the compact segment, with improved gas mileage and fresh design.
Outback was somehow in the shadow with the release of the Ascent mid-size SUV. Nevertheless, additional options will make the smaller crossover as interesting as the three-row vehicle. For the upcoming season, only two changes are official. As always, Subaru is paying a lot of attention to safety and for 2021, all models will be equipped with responsive LED lights and rear seat reminder.
The highlight of every vehicle coming from the Japanese carmaker is its drivetrain. The Boxer engine is delivering a unique impression thanks to the low position. Plus, Subaru and 4WD can’t be separated. The carmaker is a synonym for this type of drive. Also, the ride of the 2021 Outback is lifted, providing more space under the body. A 4×4 and extra gap promise a lot of off-road adventures.
2021 Subaru Outback Specs
Under the hood of the 2021 Subaru Outback is a 2.5-liter flat-four unit with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This is an average value for compact crossovers. A four-wheel drive is standard. The parallel position of cylinders reminds us of two boxers exchanging punches. That is where the name “Boxer” comes from. The location of the engine is lower than for most other vehicles. This is dislocating center of gravity, resulting in a way better handling impression and more precise cornering. A CVT is a power router. The fuel economy is excellent since the 2021 Outback is returning 29 mpg combined. The start/stop system earns some credits as well. The Symmetrical AWD system shifts more power to front wheels, saving some gas. When off-roading, you will need the 4WD and the X-Mode will improve performance when the conditions of road and weather are not the best.
Another option is the 2021 Subaru Outback XT. The vehicle comes with a new engine. The company replaced a flat-six with a turbo-four Boxer engine. A 2.4-liter displacement can deliver 260 hp and 277 lb-ft. Again, Subaru is responding to the performance-oriented models by some other companies. The crossover doesn’t need premium fuel to return 26 mpg combined, and up to 30 miles per gallon on highways. The X-Mode gets more options, including mud and snow drives.
Hybrid Model Might Be Introduced Next Year
After the redesign and cosmetic changes, we expected to see further updates under the hood. Well, the Outback XT already has a new turbo engine. But, to stay competitive, the crossover will need a hybrid configuration, as soon as possible. The fuel economy of the small SUV is good, but Toyota, Honda, and Ford are already over 40 mpg with their hybrid crossovers. So, the 2021 Subaru Outback needs this kind of setup to push the mileage closer to this number.
Subaru is already in this segment with the Crosstrek crossover. A 2.0-liter engine with an internal combustion is paired with a li-ion battery for a total output of 148 horsepower. A larger Outback will need more energy. Engineers will probably achieve that by using a 2.5-liter four-cylinder mill as the base source of power for a hybrid combination. A good thing about the Crosstrek is an electric range of 17 miles. The 2021 Subaru Outback PHEV will be ready to cover some distance by using only the battery.
2021 Subaru Outback Colors
Designers are not going to update the color palette for the new 2021 Subaru Outback. So, we will see again a total of nine painjobs all across the lineup. The entry-level version of the crossover is there with Crystal White, Crystal Black, Magnetite Gray, Ice Silver, and Abyss Blue combinations. Three more options are added for the Premium package, while Limited adds one more (Tungsten, Cinnamon Brown, Autumn Green Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl). Inside, the only option for cloth upholstery is black. When replaced with leather, buyers can select between different colors on the Limited version, and top of the lineup 2021 Outback Touring will come with Java Brown Nappa leather.
Release Date and Price
The release date of the 2021 Subaru Outback will depend on the hybrid drivetrain. If engineers finish tests and the model arrives as the next-year edition, we will see the premiere late this year. Nevertheless, sales will start in a few months, when the market recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The price goes up a bit for the current trims. The $150 bump is coming thanks to two updates we mentioned early in this review. The base MSRP now starts at $26,800. A hybrid setup will probably add about $3,000 over the price paid for the standard configuration.