For its 2013 refresh, Subaru toughened up the look of its Outback model by making the grille more upright, a move that may not sit well with Subaru's progressive fan base. Other changes for 2013 include chassis and engine tuning, plus new cabin electronics that include a driver assistance system.
The rear styling of the Outback remains unchanged, and the engines available are still a 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter flat six. The four-cylinder gained new tuning, pushing the horsepower up by 3, to 173. The four-cylinder can be had with a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission; the six-cylinder comes with a five-speed automatic.
As before, all-wheel drive is standard on the Outback. Subaru says it has improved the chassis tuning for a more comfortable ride and better handling. And despite the slightly more powerful four-cylinder engine, the car still earns its Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle rating from the California Air Resources Board.
Subaru improves on the Outback's cabin tech, which consisted of navigation, hands-free phone, and a stereo with some digital music sources, by adding Aha app integration. Aha will let drivers listen to tweets and Facebook updates, along with podcasts and a variety of other online information.
The major cabin tech addition is a set of cameras, placed on either side of the rearview mirror, looking forward. These cameras can recognize pedestrians, other cars, and lane lines, enabling a number of driver assistance features. Subaru calls this system Eyesight.
The Eyesight camera system includes lane-departure warning, collision warning and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. With a steering-wheel button, drivers can set their following distance from cars ahead.