Subaru’s 2018 Outback continues its one-wagon fight against SUVs

The Subaru Outback has achieved the near-impossible, surviving the onslaught of SUVs that killed nearly every other wagon. Thanks to standard all-wheel drive and some plastic body cladding, Subaru is able to market the Outback as an SUV alternative. It has made for a profitable niche, but how does Subaru improve on that success?

Debuting at the 2017 New York Auto Show, the 2018 Subaru Outback gets some of the same styling tweaks as the 2018 Legacy that debuted in Chicago in February, plus more tech features. Overall, these make for relatively small changes to the current-generation Outback, which has been on sale since the 2015 model year. Will it be enough to keep Subaru’s sales champ sharp?

The 2018 Outback gets revised front and rear styling, but the new look isn’t a dramatic departure from the previous version. The most noticeable change is a new set of headlights with Subaru’s “Konoji” LED daytime running light signature. The Outback is basically a jacked-up Legacy wagon, sporting an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance. That’s a good amount even for a real SUV.

Subaru also added more safety tech for 2018, including a standard rearview camera on all trim levels and steering-responsive headlights that turn as the driver steers. This feature was previously available on fog lights. The Outback gets Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system with new 6.5 or 8.0-inch touchscreens, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Two USB ports have sprouted from the rear of the center console so rear-seat passengers can plug in.

The Outback is essentially unchanged mechanically. The base engine remains a 2.5-liter flat-four, which produces 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A 3.6-liter flat-six is optional, with 256 hp and 247 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are teamed with CVT automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive. Subaru did say that it retuned the Outback’s suspension for 2018 to improve ride quality.

The 2018 Outback is one of two Subaru models debuting at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The other is the redesigned 2018 Crosstrek which, as another car disguised as an SUV, is more or less the Outback’s little sibling. The Outback goes on sale this summer, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.

Product Review

Hyundai’s luxurious Tucson suffocates you with more – in a good way

The refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson may be one of the more affordable compact SUVs on the market, but there are more safety features than before as standard, as well as a hint of luxury.
Cars

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
Cars

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.
Product Review

The segment-bending 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an SUV in a track suit

For the 2020 model year, Porsche is expanding the third-generation Cayenne lineup with a more stylish Coupe-badged model. It's lower than a regular Cayenne, a little bit wider, and it wears a more muscular design.
Cars

Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car

Apple offered to buy Tesla in 2013, according to an analyst who spoke to people familiar with the talks. Apple made Tesla a great offer, but the deal fell through when Elon Musk refused to step away from the company he helped found.
Cars

Don’t trust Tesla’s new autonomous lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.
Cars

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.
Cars

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.
Cars

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.
Cars

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.
Cars

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.
Cars

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.
Mobile

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.
Cars

How Verizon and Team Penske are using 5G to make Indy 500 race cars faster

Team Penske, the most successful race team in Indy 500 history, is using Verizon 5G in its bid to win the 2019 Indy 500. Modern race cars generate tons of data, and a 5G connection lets teams harvest that data faster.