For about 20 years, the Subaru Outback has given wagon fans a third choice—it's not as frumpy as a conventional station wagon, or as tall or imposing as a crossover SUV. It’s a formula that works—and this year it’s sticking with that formula with the introduction of the new 2015 Outback at the New York Auto Show.
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Once again, the Outback will come in two different flavors. The 2.5i models have a 2.5-liter flat four with 175 horsepower, while 3.6R Outbacks get a 256-hp, 3.6-liter boxer six. All Outbacks have Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable transmission, with paddle shifters. The Outback gets a retuned suspension, and quick-ratio electric power steering.
Trail prowess and all-weather ability should get a step better in the new Outback. It inherits the Enhanced Active AWD system and new X-Mode from the Subaru Forester, our Best Car To Buy 2014. Active torque vectoring should allow better control of individual wheels in some low-traction surfaces, and some wheelspin to help power through low-traction situations like snow or mud. The Outback maintains 8.7 inches of ground clearance—more than some taller crossovers with more rugged profiles.
Fuel economy ratings have improved to 25 mpg city, 33 highway, which makes the Outback more efficient in combined driving than most other crossovers its size. It should also be quieter, Subaru says—they’ve added more noise damping and soft-touch trim to make the Outback’s cabin a little more serene.
A rearview camera is standard now on all Outbacks, and Subaru’s camera-based EyeSight system is available. It ties together cruise control and warning systems to alert drivers of obstacles and to slow down the vehicle in emergencies. New fog lights can independently activate side to side in the direction of a turn.
The 2015 Outback comes with the usual power and entertainment features. Uplevel versions add power seats, leather, a power tailgate, and 18-inch wheels. The top multimedia system includes Bluetooth audio streaming, USB ports, Harmon Kardon sound, and navigation.
The 2015 Subaru Outback goes on sale this summer, but pricing hasn’t been announced. For more information before our first drive, see our 2015 Subaru Outback preview.