Next Subaru Outback Previewed by Levorg Concept

While the rest of the world seems to appreciate the understated, practical utility of station wagons, image-obsessed Americans generally flee from them in droves, preferring the perceived ruggedness of crossovers and SUVs. So we can't totally blame Subaru's U.S. marketing department from dropping the non-Outback Legacy wagon from the U.S. lineup, instead burnishing the Outback's credentials as a crossover. Aside from its slightly burlier styling and higher ground clearance, it's still basically a Legacy wagon, but its strong sales suggest Americans are convinced of its legitimacy as a crossover. But the Outback is coming up for a redesign, and the Levorg concept gives us a glimpse of what it might look like.

For its Americanized treatment, give it a little more ground clearance, and some chunkier-looking lower body cladding, and you're basically looking at the next Outback. While the styling is clearly evolutionary, some of the mechanical changes coming are a major change from its predecessor. The trend of downsizing and turbocharging engines is in full force in the Levorg, with a 1.6-liter H-4 boxer turbo filling in as the base engine with 168 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to Subaru's Lineartronic CVT. If you're looking for more power, Subaru offers a 2.0-liter H-4 boxer turbo producing a robust 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in the concept. This engine is presumably a version of the engine offered in the 2014 Forester XT.

Why are the powertrain changes so significant? They could portend major displacement reductions for the U.S. Outback, which is currently offered with the choice of two naturally-aspirated engines, a 2.5-liter H-4 making 173 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, or an optional 3.6-liter flat-six producing 256 hp and 247 lb-ft. If the power figures of the concept are an indication of the production models' output, we will see essentially unchanged output for the base model from a much smaller (and presumably more efficient) engine, and a power gain for the top engine, from nearly half the displacement of its predecessor.

Todd A Overman
The overall Levorg concept looks very nice, and I'd definitely consider its Outback-cousin to replace my 2005 Outback wagon (in my opinion, one of the better-looking Subaru wagons). I don't need rugged off-road capability, but the pavement is so bad around here that some extra ground clearance is welcome.
liveride
It's a station wagon, whereas lately its been straddling between that and an SUV. Some people want a station wagon, and others want a SUV. As I'm more interested in SUVs the new Forester is looking better and better. Just one more rounding of the corners and offering a hybrid. The front end and hood of this are its nicest feature. This article should have that as the first photo.
Pa1neRacer
If the production outback looks like this it will be the first good looking Legacy or Outback since L2/OB1.  Ever since that first outback. Subaru seems to have been trying to make a wagon look like a truck.  Just my opinion.Unfortunately, it will still have the engine in front of the front axle.  It's sort of like trying to paddle a canoe solo from the bow.  While Subaru has done a good job over the years of mitigating the handicap this very efficient drivetrain has created for the vehicle's handling, it's still a negative in my mind.
tinlizzy50
WOW! The concept is actually a halfway decent-looking vehicle again! Now, if they can just manage to not screw up the design, and can also mate that 2.0 liter turbo engine with a six-speed manual, I might actually think of replacing my 2006 2.5XT! 
tt618
If Subaru can keep this basic shape, then it will be a drastic improvement over the current rolling brick.  
RichardJoash
@Pa1neRacer but for me, it is a positive in MY mind, heart, gut and body because you are a dumb poop eating bumpkin
Johnny.5sp
@tt618 The current car is not a rolling brick thank you...Bricks are streamlined!

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