One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Subaru Outback checks all the boxes it needs to

Subaru has completely redesigned the Outback for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Subaru

Subaru owners love their vehicle nearly as much as they love the pets they take in them. That's part of the reason Subaru didn't stay too far from the design path with the next-gen Outback. For the company, this new model is an evolution of the vehicle that simply packs more of what its customers are looking for into a great package.

The Outback is a wagon that is bigger than the Subaru Crosstrek but differently proportioned and stanced than the Subaru Forester and Ascent. The Outback is for nearly every buying demographic but does especially well among well-educated crowds who can afford to spend more for a different vehicle but choose not to.

2020 Subaru Outback Front Off-Roading Off Road Grille Lights The Outback has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year, complete with additional lower body cladding inspired by hiking boots.Photo courtesy of Subaru

The redesign of the Outback was inspired by a hiking boot. You'll see the parallels if you look at the plastic cladding on the lower third of the vehicle and the painted, more stylish top parts. Its front is a bit beefier in this generation and the Outback looks more capable on the road. Underpinning the sixth-generation Outback, which took five years to develop, is the Subaru Global Platform, which delivers a smoother and quieter ride as well as added strength and capability.

Buyers have two engines to choose from. The base engine (in Premium, Limited, Touring models) is a capable but uninspiring 2.5-liter four-cylinder BOXER engine that generates 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Limited and Touring models are also able to be equipped with the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. It is by far the zippiest power plant and makes the Outback easily able to conquer steep climbs and get off the line quickly. Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission and the Outback can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

2020 Subaru Outback Engine The new Outback comes with two engine options, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a turbo 2.4-liter four-cylinder.Photo courtesy of Subaru

The in-cabin experience has gotten a big upgrade in the new Outback. Its materials and design are worlds better than the previous generation's, including the buttery soft Nappa leather in high trim levels.

Front and center is the car's infotainment system, which in the base model is a set of two 7-inch touch screens, one to display audio controls and one for climate controls. The setup isn't the most attractive but still includes standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera. In Premium and above grades, there's an 11.6-inch head unit, which houses radio, climate, X-Mode (off-roading, torque vectoring) technology, and additional controls. The larger screen is very responsive and easy to navigate.

2020 Subaru Outback Interior Screen Shifter Wheel Most Outback trim levels come with a new 11.6-inch infotainment touch screen that is easy to navigate and quick to respond.Photo courtesy of Subaru

Every Outback comes standard with EyeSight, Subaru's suite of safety technology that includes the new Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering, a technology that modifies a vehicle's set cruise control speed to the same as the vehicle in front of them to help create proper distance between the vehicles and works to keep the Outback in its lane. The technology works best on straight roads and, because it's driver assistive, still requires a driver's hands on the wheel at all times.

Subaru has repositioned the seatbelt latch point in the Outback to reduce pressure on the hips and chest in the event of a collision. There are bigger, faster deploying airbags. Subaru has taken the extra step to crash test the vehicle's performance in the oblique overlap test, something the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration won't require until 2023.

The 2020 Subaru Outback is on sale now. It will starts at $26,645 and top out at $39,645.

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Ford is bringing the Mustang Mach 1 back.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

It was from a stage in Detroit a few years ago that Ford's then-CEO Mark Fields stood in front of several thousand journalists and proclaimed that the Mach 1 name was making a return. Fast forward half a decade and one new CEO and today the company is making it official.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will feature a 5.0-liter V8 engine giving global customers the option of buying a vehicle with a name that first shined during the golden age of muscle cars. Ford does not directly sell the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 in Europe so this new model could fill a hole in that market.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 teaser spy photo Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"Mach 1 has a special place in Mustang history, and it's time for this special edition to claim the top spot in our 5.0-liter V8 performance lineup and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision and collectability," said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Icons. "Like the original, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 will be true to its heritage, delivering great looks and as the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever."

The Mustang Mach 1 first debuted in 1969. It carved a niche for the buying public - better performance than the Mustang GT with a price tag that made it cheaper the the Shelby or Boss grades.

"Mach 1 has always been that bridge between base Mustangs and the Shelby models," said Ted Ryan, heritage brand manager, Ford Archives. "From a style and handling perspective, the original Mach 1 managed to stand out as unique, even in the Mustang lineup – and as the name implies, it could really move."

Ford changed up the Mustang Mach 1 in 1971 and 1974 even offering an available Rallye Suspension Package. Then, it disappeared.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 teaser spy photo Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The name was revived for the 2003 and 2004 model years and featured a blend of modern power and 1970s-era nostalgic design. Its Mach 1 handling suspension with larger Brembo front-disc brakes improved on-road performance, while its matte black spoiler and hood stripe helped the coupe standout.

While Ford hasn't released many details of the new coupe model, it did release some teaser images including a close-up of the car's wheel. In that photo, the Mustang Mach 1 is wearing Michelin Radial X Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires sized 305/30ZR19 (98Y)($442.70 each on TireRack.com right now) that fit on 19-inch wheels. The car is wearing red Brembo calipers and five-double Y-spoke black wheels.

The car looks to have unique front and rear fascia though most of the body of the vehicle is straight from the 2020 Ford Mustang playbook. The two circular objects in the front of the car on the unique grille are a new addition, likely for additional engine bay cooling however there's some historical precedent for those spots to inhabited by lights. There's also a sizable spoiler and quad exhaust that look like they're straight from the GT500.

Seventeen years later, the all-new 2021 Mustang Mach 1 is set to return. on official debut date or pricing has been announced.

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Travis Pastrana will return to Ken Block's popular "Gymkhana" stunt series.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Gymkhana GRiD is back. Ken Block's popular video series will be making a return in 2020 with Travis Pastrana behind the wheel of a specially configured Subaru.

The news comes just two days after Pastrana, a full-time member of the 2020 Subaru rally team, and Block (and Subaru) agreed that they would be willing try to make it happen. Here's how it went down.

Pastrana and Block have been staying at home with their families during the COVID-19 crisis but they haven't been idle. The longtime friends and former teammates have been competing to produce at-home stunt videos for their fans. Block's "Gymkhana GRiD: Stay at Home Edition" called out the Pastrana family, challenging Pastrana to film a better version at his home in Maryland. Pastrana's rebuttal featured big dirt jumps, driving on two wheels and donuts around his personal WRX STI. Both drivers encouraged their fans to vote on who made the better video.

Then, on Tuesday's "Hoonigan Tangents Live" show, the talk turned from friendly jabs between the two into Block offering Pastrana the chance to film his own Gymkhana installment in 2020 with Subaru and the Hoonigan Media team. Pastrana and Subaru immediately agreed to the challenge, marking the first time in 11 years that Subaru will be a part of the series.

"What Ken has done with 'Gymkhana' over the years has really been amazing," said Pastrana. "But I think he made a big mistake giving me a shot at doing one of my own! I've got some ideas that I think can blow Ken's videos out of the water, and Subaru is on board to provide a car to do it. One thing's for sure, it's going to be unlike any 'Gymkhana' you've ever seen before."

This won't be Pastrana's first trip around the "Ghymkana" block. The five-time U.S. rally champion, freestyle motocross pioneer, action sports icon and stunt expert has made cameo appearances in the fifth and tenth installments of the series.

More details of the location and release timing of the special video will be announced at a later date.

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