NEW YORK - Most of the attention Subaru garnered at the New York auto show last week went to its Ascent concept and redesigned Crosstrek. But no less significant was a freshened 2018 Outback -- still Subaru's best-selling nameplate.
The crossover received touches similar to those recently announced for its sister sedan, the Legacy, including wider, lower grille openings, a new bumper and redesigned headlights.
Both Outback engine options -- a 2.5-liter boxer and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder -- are mated to a continuously variable transmission that now features a seven-speed manual mode and paddle shift control switches. A retuned electronic control unit will offer a smoother response, Subaru said.
Subaru also touched up the Outback's front cladding.
The center console was redesigned, the Starlink multimedia system and display were upgraded and expanded to 6.5 inches from 6.2 inches, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were added. An 8-inch display is also available.
The Outback is a key piece of the brand's U.S. sales growth. Subaru sold 15,909 Outbacks in the U.S. in March, a 13 percent increase from a year earlier. It was the 37th consecutive month in which the automaker sold more than 10,000 Outbacks, Subaru said.