2023 Subaru Outback gets updated styling, improved smartphone integration, more safety features

Subaru unveiled a refreshed 2023 Outback at the 2022 New York International Auto Show and though its new face will garner much of the attention, the upgrades inside and to the safety features are the most significant.

The updated look will be worn across six of the Outback’s seven trim levels (Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring), apart from the Wilderness edition that debuted last year and will continue with its own unique badges and copper accents. Most noticeably, the wheel arch cladding has grown significantly and spills up across both the front and rear fenders. Up front, it feeds into black trim pieces that frame the front fascia like a handlebar mustache. The front grille is now larger, and the headlight clusters have a new design as well. The fog lights are now circular units (instead of small LED elements) and have been moved closer to the center of the large lower air intake.

2023 Subaru Outback

Under the hood, the two powertrains carryover. A naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 182 hp serves as the base engine, with a 260-hp 2.4-liter turbo-4 optional. The turbocharged engine comes standard on the Wilderness and for 2023, the Onyx is now offered with both engines. All-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission are standard as well.

The most significant update comes inside where the Outback will debut the latest version of Subaru’s multimedia system that now includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with near a full screen display for both on the Outback’s 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen. These smartphone mirroring systems haven’t gotten along well with vertical screens in the past because they’ve usually been limited to small portion of the display. In this case, however, their displays get blown up, making them far more usable.

2023 Subaru Outback

2023 Subaru Outback

The 2023 Outback also debuts a new navigation technology that assigns three-word keys to 10×10 foot boxes, so hard-to-find locations like trailheads or scenic overlooks can be more easily saved and shared.

Touring models add a forward-facing, wide-angle mono camera that helps expand the forward view of the Outback’s safety systems. This camera is better at detecting pedestrians and bicyclists as the vehicle approaches intersections. The Touring also adds a new rear camera mirror.

While the update may not change how the Outback drives, that wasn’t where the wagon/SUV needed upgrades. The technology updates make it more liveable and better use the screen’s ample real estate when connected to your smartphone. There is no word yet on updated pricing, or when the 2023 Outback will begin to arrive at dealerships.

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