Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Subaru Outback 2021: Australian spec includes standard X-Mode, two-tonne towing


The 2021 Subaru Outback will land in Australia packed with a luxury interior along with a chassis capable of tackling off-road terrain and towing heavier loads, the brand has promised buyers.

The all-new 2021 Subaru Outback is expected to arrive in Australia in March 2021 packed with enhanced towing capability and a more premium and versatile interior.

Subaru this week confirmed some standard features for the Australian-spec Outback that arrives in just three months, along with some high-spec kit that will be included on the more expensive Outback Premium trim.

Update, 7/1/21: Prices have been announced for the 2021 Subaru Outback.

Subaru Outback 2021 green off road
The next Subaru Outback is on its way to Australia – but without a turbo engine.

Subaru has already been selling the sixth-generation Outback in the United States for about a year, with the raised wagon sitting on the freshly-developed Subaru Global Platform that also underpins the popular Impreza small car and Forester medium SUV.

The new Outback should ride and handle better than the outgoing car thanks to the new platform, which is much stiffer than the outgoing version. Subaru claims that the new Outback offers 70 per cent more torsional rigidity, while front and rear subframe rigidity increases by 100 per cent.

How much can the new Outback tow?

While there has been some disappointment in recent weeks on the engine front, with Subaru confirming that the 194kW Outback 2.4-litre turbo would not come to Australia at this stage, the Japanese brand promises that the sole engine offer has been upgraded.

The exclusive engine for the 2021 Outback in Australia is a 2.5-litre naturally aspiated four-cylinder petrol producing 136kW of power and 239Nm of torque, mated to a CVT automatic gearbox.

Subaru Outback 2021 grey wagon
Subaru have beefed up the Outback’s 2.5-litre petrol engine – it now tows two tonnes.

Several engine components have been beefed up, resulting in an uprated towing capacity of 2,000kg for the new Outback – up from 1,500kg in the outgoing Outback 2.5-litre.

That two-tonne towing figure for the 2021 Outback is an increase from the outgoing Outback diesel, which was rated at 1,700kg, and also the outgoing Outback 3.6R six-cylinder, which could legally tow 1,800kg.

The Outback’s new towing capacity puts this wagon in the same league as large SUVs such as the three-row Hyundai Palisade and Mazda CX-9.

The new Outback runs with an improved Subaru X-Mode AWD control system.

That said, the similarly-sized Skoda Superb Scout can tow 2,200kg, thanks to the Scout’s superior two-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 200kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Buyers in the United States are able to option the Outback with a 2.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 194kW of power and 375Nm of torque. The Outback Turbo would be a welcome addition to the landscape in Australia.

What kit do you get in the new Outback’s interior?

Subaru have confirmed that the 2021 Outback will arrive in Australia with a large, vertically-orientated 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system. 

It’s not yet known whether the big screen will be standard on every grade of Outback in Australia. In the United States, the base model sports a horizontally-orientated seven-inch screen.

Subaru Outback 2021 tan brown interior
The Subaru Outback will be offered with this large 11.6-inch touchscreen in Australia.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also integrated into the larger touchscreen, which can display various panels – allowing different functions to sit on top of one another.

Subaru have also confirmed that the Outback will also be offered with a supple nappa leather-appointed interior on more expensive grades, along with a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and an eight-way electric passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, and a power tailgate.

In the United States, heated seats are standard on all but the most basic version out the Outback, with more expensive grades offering heated rear seats as standard – a boon for families on cold mornings.

Subaru Outback 2021 grey off road
Just one engine will be offered, with turbo, diesel and six-cylinder left off the table.

Families will welcome the return addition of integrated roof rails to the Outback, while the boot will also grow. Subaru Australia have not yet confirmed the size of the new wagon’s boot, but the current car offers 512 litres of space behind the second row.

With the back seats folded, the new Outback will offer a load bay that measures a generous 228cm long, which should make it pretty practical for trips to flat-pack furniture stores.

Can the new Subaru Outback go off-road?

Adventure-seekers will welcome the addition of a more powerful ‘X-Mode’ AWD control system to the new Outback, which enhances off-road performance and should allow the wagon to tackle more advanced trails than most soft-roading SUVs.

X-Mode operates to maintain optional grip at speeds under 40km/h, with features such as hill descent control and active torque split on loose surfaces so it can send power to the right wheels at the right time.

Subaru Outback 2021 green rear end
The new Subaru Outback arrives in Australia in March 2021.

Subaru have fitted a slew of safety equipment including driver monitoring to prevent drivers falling asleep at the wheel, blind spot monitoring and reverse AEB which should prevent driveway accidents.

More exact pricing and specification details are expected to be confirmed soon as the March landing date of the new Subaru Outback approaches.