There isn’t an automaker on the planet that understands its customer base better than Subaru. They are almost single-mindedly focused on exploring the outdoors with your Labrador and your all-wheel drive Subaru. We also know Subaru introduces change with a methodical, evolutionary approach. No vehicle in Subaru’s seven-model line-up speaks more to the manufacturer’s ethos than this one. This is the all-new 2015 Outback.
In the drivers seat
The steering wheel had a familiar feeling, since the same is used in the Legacy 3.6R that we tested a couple of weeks ago, and Subaru is right to do so. The steering wheel offers everything you need without it being cluttered and keeping your attention of the road. Also the shift paddles feel firm and radiate quality. The position of the indicator stalks could have been better, since sometimes when steering you hit them with your fingers. Subaru isn’t the brand to make radical changes from one generation to the next. The nav system, as always in Subaru, worked very well. The connectivity for mobile devices worked like a charm.
The sunroof was a very pleasant surprise, and adds a lot of light to the already spacious interior. While people in the front and the back have a lot of room, the drivers seat does feel compact. The seats also enable you to recline the driving position, giving you a more sporty angle. Despite the 8-way powered seats, it’s a shame the seats are not height-adjustable, a touch of Volvo would do wonders here.
Ride and Performance
This is where the Subaru truly shows its money’s worth. Even with major improvements to the interior, making it more luxurious, this is not what you buy a Subaru for. People don’t buy station wagons anymore unless the suspension is raised and dressed in adventure apparel. Subaru make those tweaks.
First of all, extensive revisions to the front struts and a double wishbone-setup in the rear make for very balanced performance, regardless of the terrain type. Because of the Active Torque Vectoring feature it offers a lot of bite on corners, making it corner very well for a crossover vehicle. The balanced Symmetrical 4-Wheel Traction system combined with generous ground clearance really separates the Outback from the pack, offering a premium driving experience.
The 3.6 liters 6-cylinder boxer engine creates sufficient 256 BHP and this, combined with the very well performing 6-speed LineartronicTM Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), results in an impressive fuel economy with 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway. Acceleration is moderate, going from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, yet it feels very alive and keen to accelerate.
Features and Safety
The all-wheel drive system also gets the added benefit of the X-drive mode, optimizing the entire powertrain for any real off-roading. Extra luxury features such as an automatically opening trunk, seat memory, heated seats in the front and back and automatic rear-view mirrors with HomeLink-integration give the car that extra edge over the competition.
Subaru is also known for their safety features, competing for years with Volvo for the top position. The Outback comes with airbags in the front seats, to keep passengers from swinging out of their seats might a side-ways collision occur. Also the Rear-Vehicle Detection system includes a bundle with blind-spot detection warnings in the mirrors, lane-change assist and rear-cross traffic alerts. It all works seamlessly and unobtrusively.
The Outback is certainly the most complete car in Subaru’s arsenal, offering comfort, performance, fair fuel efficiency and some nice standard options. For true off-roading we would kindly advise you towards a Jeep Grand Cherokee or a Wrangler, two vehicles in the same range but outperforming the Subaru at off-roading. Still the Outback stands its ground when it comes the more modest dirt-and-gravel driving.
All in all the Subaru Outback is a charm and a seriously good car that we suppose will stick around for a very long time and will grow in popularity, so get one while you still can!
At a glance
- Make: Subaru
- Model: Outback
- Engine: 3.6 liter boxer petrol
- Power: 256 BHP (350 Nm)
- 0-60 mph: 6.9
- MPG: 20 City, 27 Highway
- Transmission: 6-speed LineartronicTM Continues Variable Transmission
- Memory seats
- Automatic-opening booth
- Automatic dimming rear mirror
- X-drive – option
- Steering Wheel Audio Controls
- Paddle shifters
- Navigation System
- Bi-Xenon Active Headlights
- Front and Rear Parking Sensors
- Rear parking camera
- 18 inch rims