What Is It?
2015 Subaru Outback
What's New About This Model?
A redesigned exterior including a more raked windshield complement the 2015 Subaru Outback's roomier interior. Though its wheelbase increases only 0.2 inch, overall length and width are also marginally increased for a net gain of 2.7 cubic feet of interior space. The additional cubes translate into more passenger and cargo space.
Small tweaks to the powertrain yield an estimated 2 mpg increase in combined fuel economy for the four-cylinder model. A CVT (continuously variable transmission) is the only available transmission.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Subaru expects to have the 2015 Outback in dealers in the summer of 2014.
How Much Does It Cost?
No official pricing has been released yet, but we expect the 2015 Subaru Outback to be priced similar to the current model, which starts at $25,320 with a CVT. The top trim 3.6R model starts at $32,920 this year.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
The Outback is available in one body style: a five-door wagon.
As with the current model, four trim levels will be available: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited. The 3.6R model is the only way to get six-cylinder power. All other Outbacks will utilize Subaru's 2.5-liter flat-4.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
? 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder: 175 horsepower, 174 pound-feet of torque
? 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder: 256 hp, 247 lb-ft of torque
? CVT only
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
All Outbacks are all-wheel drive, which increases their all-weather and off-road ability. A revised active torque split system improves handling on 2015 Outbacks. X-Mode, which debuted on the 2014 Forester, is standard on all Outbacks for 2015. The system increases grip by utilizing the car's stability control system to apply brakes to individual wheels in off-road scenarios. As a result, wheelspin is reduced, enhancing the Outback's ability to tackle difficult terrain. Ground clearance, at 8.7 inches, is better than many small SUVs. On-road handling is improved using brake-based torque vectoring, which biases drive to one front wheel when needed.
A 6.2-inch touchscreen for Bluetooth pairing and control of the audio system is standard. A 7-inch screen is standard on Premium trims and a 576-watt-equivalent, 12-speaker audio system is included on Limited models.
What Kind of Standard and Optional Safety Equipment Is Offered?
Antilock brakes and stability control are standard on all 2015 Subaru Outbacks. New for 2015 are front seat airbags, which help maintain occupant position in a frontal collision. A rearview camera is standard across the board and a rollover sensor can deploy the curtain airbags if it detects a rollover.
Premium and Limited trims come with the latest version of Subaru's highly rated EyeSight driver assist system. The system uses a stereo camera to improve functionality of active cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking features. Steering-responsive foglights are also standard with the EyeSight system. They illuminate in the direction the vehicle is being turned to enhance visibility.
Standard on Limited trims and optional on Premium trims is the Rear Vehicle Detection system, which offers blind-spot detection, lane change assist and cross-vehicle detection features.
A "Welcome Lighting" feature illuminates the cabin and exterior lights on models equipped with keyless entry and start.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
The Outback has few, in any, direct competitors. Several luxury models offer similar capability at a higher price. Others offer similar space and cost without the Outback's all-weather and off-road ability.
Audi Allroad: Like the Outback, the Allroad offers all-wheel-drive capability, which gives it good traction on low-grip surfaces. Maximum cargo space is less than the Outback, but the Allroad's interior is bathed in premium materials. Cost is higher than the Subaru.
Honda CR-V: As the standard bearer for compact crossovers, the CR-V is worth a look. It offers similar cargo space to the Subaru and is available with all-wheel drive.
Toyota Venza: Though its cost and passenger and cargo space are similar, the Venza lacks the Outback's all-wheel drive and ground clearance.
Should You Wait for It?
If you're looking for the unique combination of space, all-wheel-drive ability and relatively low cost that the Outback offers, there are few cars that meet all those needs. However, the 2014 Outback will meet most of them and is available right now.