FORT BRAGG, Calif. — The connection between Subaru Corp.'s newest nameplate and two of its oldest goes beyond sharing the same platform.
Just open the hood.
The redesigned 2020 Outback midsize crossover and Legacy midsize sedan are offered with an optional 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, the same one that debuted with the Ascent three-row crossover last year.
The engine produces 260 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque in the Outback and Legacy and is mated to a continuously variable transmission. It provides more towing heft than the standard engine and improves fuel economy from the previous powerplant.
"That engine is going to have some legs in the future for our portfolio," said Peter Tenn, car line manager for Outback.
The 2020 model year marks the first time since 2009 that Subaru has offered a turbocharged engine in the Outback. Subaru will offer the engine under its XT nomenclature in three trim lines: Onyx Edition XT, Limited XT and Touring XT.
Tenn said the turbocharged engine in the XT trims attracts a different buyer to the model.
"In our research we found that younger buyers, millennials vs. boomers, are willing to sacrifice a little mpg for a little bit more fun to drive and horsepower," Tenn said. "And they're more active, so they really like the towing."
Outbacks with the turbo have a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, which is 800 pounds more than the regular Outback. Yoichi Hori, Outback project general manager, said it's important to Subaru that the turbo is more efficient than the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine it replaced.
The EPA rated the crossover with the turbo at 26 mpg combined — 23 city and 30 highway. The 3.6-liter was rated at 22 mpg combined — 20 city and 27 highway.
A Subaru of America spokesman said the 3.6R trims with the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine accounted for 25 percent of total Outback U.S. sales, while the automaker expects the XTs to account for 30 percent.