2023 Outback Touring XT Overall Improvements Synopsis

May 28, 2021
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Hello all! Just wanted to give the forum members my opinions and observations on the 2023 Outback Touring XT for those who're considering to purchase one. This is my 3rd Outback (2019 Premium, 2021 Touring XT previously) over the past 3 years and I've observed definite improvements with each model. So I wish to offer my operational critique of the new vehicle to fellow forum members.

I factory ordered and received my 2023 Outback Touring XT about 2 weeks ago, having waited almost a month through the dreaded Subaru of America "Stop Sale" to fix the SOS and StarLink communications module problem. I purchased the 2023 Outback Touring XT for the improved EyeSight Driver Assist features, new EyeSight high-definition cameras, to include a new wide-angle 3rd HD camera, new software with home screen seat venting/heating buttons, relocated steering wheel buttons, fully (not partially) heated steering wheel, wireless Android & ApplePlay and I liked the new 2023 Outback front end, larger new grille, new stylish headlights and the new rugged black front and wheel well vinyl cladding look.

Perhaps it's just me but I feel acceleration from a dead stop is much smoother and more linear without needing to modulate my foot gently to prevent a jackrabbit takeoff. Perhaps Subaru tweaked the engine acceleration response or smoothed out when the turbo boost kicks in, I don't know. But the feeling is definitely different as the accelerator feels less sensitive moving from a full stop. Again, just me, but it also appears the engine noise is reduced. Subaru's horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder "Boxer" engines have a unique sound all their own and when combined with CVTs the engines sound more "whirling" with a different exhaust note than in-line 4-cylinder engines. But I noticed right away when pulling from the dealership onto a state highway that the 2023 XT Touring seems quieter then and since after driving the vehicle around town and cruising on the interstate. Perhaps Subaru added a bit more cabin soundproofing up front, different chassis harmonics with the front body and sheet metal changes, I am not sure. But the vehicle definitely appears to be quieter.

The software changes in the vehicle definitely stand out from my 2021 vehicle and is MUCH improved with different layouts within the menus and homepage. Best noted was the ability to change the front seat heating and ventilation from the bottom home screen without pressing buttons and digging into menus. Since I like playing streaming music, the now wireless Android Auto works excellent, remains connected and connects as soon as I start the vehicle. The wired Android was an annoying and frustrating experience in my 2021 vehicle plus no USB cable to interfere with the shifter or touch the screen to inadvertently change to another menu. I would occasionally need to unplug and re-plug my phone to reconnect to Android Auto after shutting the car off for a quick stop. Infrequently, the Android connection would simply drop while playing music for no reason, requiring an unplug and re-plug of the phone. Poor cell reception in restricted spots could stop the music but it shouldn't disconnect the Android Auto connection. Also, the 2021 vehicle would occasionally lose my phone's Bluetooth connection and a disconnect notice on the vehicle's screen would pop up. I haven't seen that in the 2023 vehicle so far. Subaru now has Over-the-Air software and map upgrades through StarLink rather than taking the vehicle back to the dealership. When using Google Maps for navigation through Android Auto, the vehicle's entire screen now displays the map rather than the top half of the screen. Finally, the buttons on the steering wheel have been moved; the previous left volume vertical rocker button now controls the mini-display screen menus while the volume control is a new button at the bottom of the left wheel spoke closer to the left thumb.

I've experienced definite improvements in the EyeSight Driver Assist features, especially on interstate highways while negotiating curves. I've commuted the same state highways and interstate sections for several years and I know every bump, rut, pothole and all curves going and coming. In my 2021 vehicle, with adaptive cruise and lane-keeping on, the EyeSight system would frequently disengage lane-keeping when entering shallow to moderate curves, when heading into bright sunlight, when raining, if the highway lines are faded or when crossing overpasses with no lines. Now, the new EyeSight system with the 3 new HD cameras seem to maintain lane-keeping more consistently with an occasional drop on longer overpasses. Highway curves are negotiated more aggressively now. Going into curves, I nudge the wheel into the beginning of the steeper curves at speed, then EyeSight and lane-keeping seems to slightly "grab" the wheel and continue negotiating the curve more aggressively without lane-keeping disengaging because it can't steer the vehicle through the curve. I rest my hand on the wheel and lane-keeping is maintained throughout the curve and the vehicle straightens itself coming out of the curve. A slight nudge may be required to return the vehicle to a straight line in steeper curves, depending on your speed coming out of the curves. Even so, lane-keeping does not disengage. Lane-keeping seems to reengage seconds faster than before when changing lanes after the turn signals are off as well. These are known curves I've traveled through for years so I can't say if EyeSight will do this for you in all curves that are more sweeping or if you're traveling well above the speed limit going into or coming out of curves. In my opinion, the improved EyeSight system software, the new smaller HD stereo cameras and the 3rd wide-angle HD camera just below the stereo cameras allow the EyeSight system to "see" the road and lines much better in more varying road conditions. Incidentally, the 2023 XT Touring has 3 cameras: one in the front grille, one on the rear tailgate and a new one in the dorsal fin antenna on the top rear of the vehicle. The dorsal camera allows the rear view mirror to function as a rear view video screen...very handy if your cargo area is packed full and the conventional mirror is blocked or if you wish to monitor the trailer load you're towing. Finally, the new EyeSight and lane-keeping system seems to have less "ping-ponging" back and forth within the traffic lane markers if you momentarily take your hand off the wheel.

Sorry folks, I didn't mean to write a book, ha! But wanted to give you all the new experiences and impressions I've noticed so far on the 2023 Outback Touring XT. If you have this vehicle in mind to purchase, please test drive it and let me know if my observations are valid or perhaps slightly biased. Thanks for reading.
I love my 2023 Outback Touring XT. This is my 5th Outback. My only complaint is the monitor for the rear view camera. It’s too small and I don’t think it’s high resolution. It catches my

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