2018 Subaru Outback gets a mild refresh for the New York Auto Show

Changes are more significant under the skin than above it

Subaru will debut a subtly updated 2018 Outback at the New York Auto Show this week.

Arriving this summer, the brand's best-selling model in the United States gets modest updates inside and out for the 2018 model year, as well as comfort, safety, and multimedia upgrades.

You may not notice it, but the 2018 Outback gains a more rugged looking face highlighted by wider, lower grille openings and a revised bumper. The C-shaped headlights have been redesigned and now feature the distinctive "Konoji" LED daytime running lights.

Other exterior changes include the redesigned front cladding and a new wheel design on the Limited trim.

Inside, all trim levels (standard, Premium, Limited and Touring) get new premium materials and a revised center console with an available 8-inch display screen. Premium and higher trims add stitching detail, while a new Titanium Gray interior is available.

Connectivity-wise, the Subaru Starlink Multimedia system offers Bluetooth wireless capability, iPod control, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and more. It comes as standard with a 6.5-inch screen replacing the previous Starlink 6.2-inch system.

Subaru says it has made updates to the chassis as well, including retuned suspension dampers for a smoother ride, as well as retuned steering and brake systems. Improvements were made in the sound-insulation department as well.

The 2018 Subaru Outback continues with the same engines as before: a standard 175 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine in the Outback 2.5i and an available 256 hp 3.6-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine in the Outback 3.6R. Both are linked to a Lineartronic CVT that now offers a seven-speed manual mode and paddle shift control switches. Subaru also says the CVT has a retuned ECU for 2018, resulting in a smoother response.

As before, the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is a standard feature.

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