Subaru Outback Has A Lower Safety Rating For 2020

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - November 22, 2019

Usually, when an automaker introduces a fully-redesigned model, it’s safer than the outgoing model. But that’s not the case for the 2020 Subaru Outback. The midsize wagon may be better in a lot of ways over the 2019 model, but it’s not when it comes to one category: safety. The 2019 Outback earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, while the 2020 Outback was named a Top Safety Pick vehicle. Why the downgrade? It boils down to the wagon’s headlights.

The Outback had an incredible record of earning a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS for six consecutive years – 2013 to 2019. Unfortunately, that streak comes to an end with the 2020 model. The 2020 Outback is available with three different headlights. LED headlights found on the base and Premium trims earned a rating of Acceptable. Limited, Touring, and Onyx Edition trims built before November 2019 come with LED headlights that earned a rating of Marginal. Those same trims built after October 2019 come with headlights that were found to be Acceptable.

Subaru Outback

In the IIHS’ crash tests, the Outback earned a rating of Good, while its front crash prevention system earned a Superior rating. With its Acceptable rated headlights, the Outback met the requirements to be named a Top Safety Pick. While that’s a good thing, it’s strange and hard to ignore when last year’s Outback earned a higher safety rating.

Despite sharing a lot of components with the Legacy sedan, the Outback has a lower safety rating than that vehicle, too. The 2020 Legacy earned the IIHS’ highest safety rating of being named a Top Safety Pick+. Unlike the Outback, the Legacy’s Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT trims come with LED projector headlights that earned a rating of Good.

Still, if there’s one silver lining with the Outback’s IIHS rating, it’s that consumers can opt for the entry-level trim and not have to spend extra money on pricey packages, which has become the norm.

The IIHS classifies the Outback as a midsize vehicle. Under that classification, the Outback matches the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima as other Top Safety Pick vehicles. The Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Sonata all earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Learn more about the Subaru Outback »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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