The 2018 Subaru Outback introduces notable enhancements to comfort, safety, and multimedia capabilities by showcasing updated front and rear designs for a more commanding presence. Extensive improvements in engineering and design across the 2018 Outback elevate the driving experience and the vehicle’s adaptability.

Pioneering the crossover trend over two decades ago as the World’s First Sport Utility Wagon, the Subaru Outback played a pivotal role with its robust styling, emphasizing heightened capability. In the present day, the Outback stands out in the expanding sport-utility wagon segment by offering the most spacious interior, boasting a total passenger volume of 108.1 cu. ft. Additionally, it provides 35.5 cu. ft. of space behind the rear seats and a generous 73.3 cu. ft. with the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback.

Facilitating easy loading and transportation of cargo, as well as recreational gear like kayaks and bikes, the Outback incorporates thoughtful features. All models have standard roof rails featuring integrated retractable crossbars, except for the Touring variant, which boasts exclusive low-profile roof rails finished in silver and detachable crossbars. Step-style doorsills ensure a stable platform for individuals securing items to the crossbars across all Outback models.

For the 2018 model year, the Outback unveils a more assertive and robust visage, characterized by an audacious front design. Wider and lower grille openings, coupled with a fresh bumper, seamlessly complement the iconic Subaru hexagonal grille, presenting a striking facade. The C-shaped headlights, parking lights, and newly introduced horizontal character lines extending from the grille subtly evoke the rhythmic motion of the BOXER engine, a core technology for Subaru. The redesigned headlights also showcase distinctive “Konoji” daytime LED running lights, adding a touch of modern sophistication.

In addressing practical concerns for off-road enthusiasts, the redesigned front cladding serves to enhance protection against mud and stones when the vehicle ventures off the beaten path. Elevating luxury-class aesthetics, the Limited trim boasts a new high-contrast wheel design, contributing to the refined appearance of the 2018 Outback. The 2.5i base and Premium trims come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, while all Limited and Touring models offer an upscale touch with 18-inch alloy wheels.

Maintaining its reputation as a safety pioneer, the Outback further enhances its suite of driver-assist features in 2018, introducing the new Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH). When paired with LED headlights, SRH dynamically adjusts the light direction into turns based on the driver’s steering input, enhancing visibility and safety. Additionally, for the 2018 model year, Outback Limited and Touring models equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology now incorporate High Beam Assist. This innovative feature intelligently manages high beams, automatically toggling them on and off in response to varying traffic conditions, providing optimal illumination without causing discomfort to other drivers.

Significant enhancements have been implemented throughout the Outback chassis for an upgraded driving experience in the 2018 model. These improvements include the recalibration of suspension dampers, resulting in a smoother ride. The steering and brake systems have also undergone refinements to offer a more direct and enjoyable driving feel. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system contributes to a smoother and more linear response to driver input, enhancing overall handling.

In a concerted effort to elevate the driving experience, Subaru has prioritized reducing noise in the 2018 Outback. The Lineartronic CVT for 2.5i models incorporates a quieter short-pitch chain, and adjustments to engine timing during acceleration contribute to a reduction in powertrain noise. Additionally, exterior mirrors have been redesigned to minimize wind noise, and the introduction of sound-insulating glass for the front side windows contributes to a quieter front seat area. Thicker rear wheel well aprons have been implemented to further diminish ambient noise in the rear seat area, ensuring a more serene driving environment.

The 2018 Outback lineup across all trim levels introduces a wealth of upscale elements, featuring new premium materials and a reimagined center console. Notably, an available 8-inch display screen enhances multimedia capabilities, offering an advanced user experience. The Premium and higher trims showcase genuine stitching detail on the dashboard, while Limited and Touring models elevate the interior with stitching on seats and door panels. These models also incorporate high-gloss black trim and silver-color bezels for various controls. The interior palette is expanded with the introduction of a new Titanium Gray option, joining the existing Slate Black and Warm Ivory choices. The redesigned steering wheel adds a touch of luxury with an enhanced look and feel.

Adhering to Subaru’s commitment to thoughtful design, the 2018 Outback includes numerous subtle yet impactful details to enhance everyday comfort. The revised air conditioning system ensures a quicker cooling process and maintains a more uniform temperature throughout the cabin. For user convenience, the temperature setting indicator is now integrated inside the control dial for intuitive operation. Interior power is retained for a brief period after the ignition is turned off, adding an extra layer of convenience. The redesigned clock is now larger and more legible, contributing to an improved overall user experience.

Powering the Outback 2.5i is a robust 175-hp double overhead cam (DOHC) 2.5-liter BOXER engine, delivering a peak torque of 174 lb-ft. To enhance fuel economy, the Active Grille Shutter system is employed, effectively reducing wind resistance. The Outback 3.6R boasts a DOHC 3.6-liter 6-cylinder BOXER engine, generating 256 hp and a peak torque of 247 lb-ft, with an impressive 90 percent of peak torque sustained from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, ensuring exceptional responsiveness across all vehicle speeds. Both engines are paired with the standard Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), now equipped with a seven-speed manual mode and paddle shift control switches. The 2018 model benefits from a smoother CVT response, thanks to a refined electronic control unit (ECU).

The combination of the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Active Torque Vectoring system provides the Outback with confident traction in diverse weather conditions. Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is an active AWD system in all 2018 Outback models, utilizing an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to dynamically distribute torque based on factors such as acceleration, deceleration, and available traction. The Outback’s impressive 8.7-inch ground clearance surpasses that of many crossovers, contributing to its versatile capabilities.

In challenging driving conditions, the standard driver-selectable X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases active all-wheel drive engagement, and employs enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability system, effectively reducing wheel spin. X-Mode also activates Hill Descent Control, utilizing engine braking to maintain a constant vehicle speed during downhill travel. Hill Start Assist is a standard feature on the Outback, providing additional convenience in various driving situations.

The 2018 Outback 2.5i will be available in four distinctive trims: standard, Premium, Limited, and the top-tier Touring. On the other hand, the 3.6R model will offer Limited and Touring trims. Notably, the Touring trim, introduced in 2017 as a pinnacle offering, stands out with the highest level of luxury features within the Outback lineup. It comes equipped with standard Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and exclusive design elements.

The Touring interior exudes sophistication with Java Brown perforated leather-trimmed upholstery, extending to door panels and armrests, accentuated by contrasting ivory stitching. Going beyond the features of the Outback Limited, the Touring trim incorporates additional luxuries such as a heated steering wheel, unique woodgrain-patterned interior trim, and piano-black switch panel accents, further enhancing the overall premium experience for drivers and passengers alike.

The 2018 Outback comes equipped with Subaru’s latest SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia system, offering Bluetooth wireless capability, iPod control, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and more. The top-level system includes TomTom navigation with three years of complimentary map updates. Rear seat passengers benefit from the addition of two USB power ports conveniently located at the back of the center console.

The standard STARLINK 6.5” Multimedia system represents an upgrade from the previous STARLINK 6.2” system, providing improved performance. For those seeking an even more advanced experience, the available STARLINK 8.0” system introduces a new 8-inch central touch-screen display, delivering smartphone-like operation. With enhanced smartphone-linked operations, the multimedia system aims to minimize distractions, allowing drivers to maintain focus on the road and keep their hands on the steering wheel.

Voice recognition in the 2018 Outback sees significant improvement with the use of two microphones and technology by Nuance, the maker of Dragon Dictation apps. This enhancement facilitates easier use of Apple Siri or OK Google voice commands, and the system is compatible with multiple languages.

Across all SUBARU STARLINK systems, standard features include Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod control, a USB port, and an auxiliary input jack. High-line trims come with dual USB ports and additional features. Smartphone integration features include Aha and Pandora, along with STARLINK cloud applications such as iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Calendar, Music Player, News, and Weather. New apps have been added for the 2018 model year.

Premium, Limited and Touring Outback STARLINK Multimedia systems are also compatible with Over the Air (OTA) updates using WiFi.

The available award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, accessible on most trims of the Outback, continues to enhance safety with features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. Notably, the Lane Keep Assist system now activates at just above 37 mph, contributing to improved safety at higher speeds. Models equipped with EyeSight also include Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, featuring Lane Change Assist for added awareness during lane changes.

Every Outback trim line comes standard with a rear-view camera. In a new enhancement for 2018, the guidelines displayed on the screen when reversing move in sync with the steering, providing more precise vehicle positioning.

Building on its established reputation for safety, the 2018 Outback introduces Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) and the newly available Steering Responsive Headlight (SRH) system. RAB detects objects in the vehicle’s path during reverse maneuvers, issuing audible warnings to the driver and displaying the distance and position of the object on the center display screen. The SRH system adjusts the headlights in response to steering input, improving visibility in turns.

Additional safety features for 2018 include an enhanced tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that detects pressure changes at individual tires. The Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert indicator lamp is now larger and has been relocated from the mirror’s surface to its side. Redesigned LED turn signals in the mirrors, particularly in Highline trims, offer improved visibility. Automatic locking doors are a new feature, and upgraded LATCH anchors make child seat installation more straightforward, contributing to overall safety and ease of use.

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