You can get good fuel economy in the 2014 Subaru Outback, but you have to pick the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with the continuously variable transmission (CVT).
That powertrain combines with the car's relatively light weight to make the base four-cylinder Outback the most fuel efficient model. It's rated at 26 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway), pretty good for an all-wheel-drive mid-size crossover. And we've found that Outbacks can outperform their ratings if they're driven in a relaxed fashion. The six-speed manual gearbox lowers those figures to 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway).
At the other end of the scale, the larger 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (mated to a five-speed automatic) is rated only at 20 mpg (18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway), which is low against competitors with optional six-cylinder engines.
Subaru is one of very few carmakers to offer a Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (PZEV) package--for only a few hundred dollars on cars sold in states where it's not already required equipment--that reduces evaporative emissions and other pollutants.