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2015 Outback LTD 2.5
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, it had to happen eventually. Our 2018 Crosstrek had to go in to the dealer for 3 recalls (a new record for Subaru BUT I'm not complaining) so I requested a loaner car from the dealer where I purchased my 2019 Forester Toruing last summer. Surprised to see that they gave me a 2020 Outback base level....I think. No BSW or larger HU screen so it must have been the base level?

I drove it an hour home and my thoughts are as follows: these are off the cuff and are NOT intended to insult anyone else's choice. I agonized about getting the 2020 OB but decided not to after I saw that huge HU panel in early reviews. The large digital HU thread on this forum went on and on, some comments of which I agreed with. However now, after the actual drive, I know that I chose wisely when I passed on the new OB.

That HU is just not "it" for me. My Forester shares the same basic panel as the Crosstrek and Ascent. Standardized controls, immediate recognition of same and NO hunting around with moments of indecisiveness when an immediate control input is desired. I still maintain that the panel was designed for looks not function. Had to stare at it for minutes at a time to find common functions. My own opinion (and that's all it is, regardless of my own career as a product designer), is that control panels should be instantaneously understood. Aircraft controls function in this same way. You can change the instrument hood shape, textures and other subjective details but the controls are where you expect. Not the 2020 OB. I would think that younger drivers who love multiple buttons and screens will take to the new car well but older folks will not.....and again, it's my assumption, NOT an observation. Since this base level HU does have some physical buttons instead of the all-digital video game panel in the higher trims, I again assume that the higher trims are even more complicated for a new user.......if I'm wrong, forgive me. I never liked the non-intuitive Tesla-ish iPad Pro data screens that are becoming so popular across the automotive spectrum but I get it, us old folk's time is drawing to an end and the digital input style is commonplace...or will be.

Having NOT seen a single new OB anywhere on the road in southern NH, I wonder how well the car is being received. Also not seeing Legacy's.....

The rest of the new OB is very nice, quiet and composed, tracks well and solid.........no problems there. The 2.5 engine is okay, not as punchy as the same engine in my 2019 Forester, probably due to the added weight (?) but strong enough.

To close, I am now very happy that I chose the Forester over a new OB. The visibility is superb, the seats are more comfortable than the base seats are in the OB and, while the "earth-shoe" look isn't as sleek as the new OB, at this stage in my life, I bought the car that I felt suited my needs and desires.

Always look forward to hear the Forums member opinions....

Steve
 

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If it weren't for the turbo, I would have bought a Forester instead.

While I agree with your criticisms, going to a massive touch-screen for marketing purposes was necessary. Subaru has long been criticized by media and consumers for having dowdy retro interiors and infotainment. This is a good faith attempt to correct that perceived deficiency. For those of us who have had many Subarus, it may feel like we prefer things just the way they were - we bought the previous generations Subarus because our priorities weren't about the fanciest amenities or infotainment, but about AWD, suspension.

I too would prefer a simpler infotainment and UI but that's not where the market is.
 

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I test drove the Forester and the Outback and eventually settled on the Outback Onyx XT. This is my first Subaru product. I did like the Forester but I wanted something different from a cross over/SUV - and the Outback was just different enough. Plus I really enjoyed the ride.

You are absolutely right about the infotainment. While not terrible, not a great user experience (and the NAV is horrible). But it doesn't really bother me. While technically sound, Subaru could use a good UX designer.
 

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2015 Outback LTD 2.5
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Discussion Starter #4
I agree with your points.........and I have to be honest that I'm 72 so my interest in the "wow" factor is just not there, if it ever was. I noticed that on initial startup in the 2020 OB, a scrolling wheel indicating that the processors were loading the various displays in the central panel, was sort of slow.......and imagine how much slower the loading might be if this was a full tilt boogie trim level OB.........agree that Subaru could use a better UX designer. maybe now that Toyota owns so much of Fuji, that will happen, as will the hybrid technology.

Still, I liked the OB, no doubt. Just not enough to make me feel anything but very happy with my 2019 Forester choice......hate to say this BUT I really like the higher seating position these days, even with my 6'3" height, it's still sort of nice to be able to sit higher up......

I should say that the Gen 4/5 OB integral roof rail system always was a fave of mine......despite so many complaints by other Gen 5 owners, I thought that it was just darn clever....and I miss it. I bought a pair of non-OEM Forrie cross bars from Amazon and while they fit well, in New England cold weather, having to allen wrench the separate crossbars to the roof rails of the Forrie, is a PITA......

Enjoy your new OBs, everyone........I'll continue to lurk here as an interested bystander!

Happy New Year!

Steve
 

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2020 Outback Touring XT Abyss Blue Pearl, 2017 Forrester Touring Jade Green Metalic
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I hate the screen but love everything else. I have 2017 Forrester, the 2020 OB is just a different class of vehicle. The screen is ridiculous and the menu diving to simply adjust the seat heat is completely stupid and unsafe. Hopefully a software update, and some better UX developer teams will re-examine the interface, as it’s pretty freaking horrible.
 

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I chose an outback because the driving position is more car like, forester is more upright SUV like. Both are easy to get in and out of so it was down to how the car drove and sounded New outback is a lot quieter than a Forester.
 
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