The Subaru Outback has always been the Boy Scout of the car/wagon/crossover crew, with its standard AWD and rugged, foul-weather-defeating demeanor. While that demeanor won’t likely change, reports say the Outback is getting a Legacy -style work-over for the 2015 model year and will make its grand entrance at the 2014 New York Auto Show this spring.
Since the Outback is essentially the wagon version of the Legacy, it makes sense the recent changes to the 2015 Legacy would make their way over to the Outback. What this means for the Outback is a new exterior look with a similar reworked grille, headlights and raked windshield. The extra body cladding and plastic bits that make an Outback look like an Outback will surely make their return.
Inside, the same redesigned dashboard, instrument panel and center console with softer touch, more premium materials will be present. The coupe -like look of the new Legacy obviously won’t make the jump as cargo room and rear passenger headroom are bigger priorities in the Outback.
History tells us the powertrain offerings will be identical as well. The new Legacy offers two engine choices: a 2.5-liter flat-four making 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque and the 3.6-liter flat-six putting out 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately, both engines are stuck with CVT transmissions with no conventional manual on the horizon.
Updated 04/03/2014: Subaru has officially confirmed that the 2015 Outback will be officially unveiled at the 2014 New York Auto Show. With the occasion a first teaser image reveals that the new Outback will follow the steps of the more-recently unveiled Legacy sedan.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Subaru Outback.
March 21, 2014 - First testing session
2015 Subaru Outback - Exterior Dimensions
|Height||66.1 in. at roof / 66.5 in. crossbars in position|
|Track (f/r)||61.8 in. / 62.2 in.|
|Min. road clearance||8.7 in.|
|Overhang (f/r)||39.4 in. / 42.2 in.|
|Angle of approach||19.3 deg.|
|Angle of departure||22.7 deg.|
|Breakover angle||20.0 deg.|
|Towing capacity||2,700 lbs. with 200-lb. trailer tongue weight|
2015 Subaru Outback - Interior Dimensions
|Head room (f/r)||40.8 / 38.9 in. With moonroof: 38.3 in. / 38.9 in.|
|Leg room (f/r)||42.9 in. / 38.1 in.|
|Hip room (f/r)||55.5 in. / 55.0 in.|
|Shoulder room (f/r)||58.1 in. / 57.3 in.|
|EPA passenger volume||108.1 cu. ft. With moonroof: 104.5 cu. ft.|
|EPA cargo volume||35.5 cu. ft. (seatbacks raised)|
|Max. cargo volume||73.3 cu. ft (seatbacks folded)|
|Max. cargo length||41.8 in. (seatbacks raised) / 77.7 in. (seatbacks folded)|
|EPA total interior volume||143.6 cu. ft. With moonroof: 140.0 cu. ft.|
|Cargo area liftover height||27.9 in.|
2015 Subaru Outback - Drivetrain/Specifications
|Engine||DOHC 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (BOXER); aluminum cylinder block and heads||DOHC 6-cylinder, horizontally opposed (BOXER); aluminum cylinder block and heads|
|Bore x Stroke||94 x 90mm||92 x 91mm|
|Displacement||2,498 cc (152.0 cu. in.)||3,630 cc (221.5 cu. in.)|
|Valvetrain||Chain-driven camshafts, Active Valve Control System (intake valves)||Chain-driven camshafts, Dual Active Valve Control System (intake and exhaust valves)|
|Horsepower||175 hp @ 5,800 rpm||256 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||174 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||247 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Manufacturer estimated city / highway / combined mpg||25/33/28||20/27/22|
The Edge is more an upright, SUV-like crossover compared to the Outback’s wagon design. The Edge’s higher seating position and clean exterior design might be enough to attract buyers to away form the Suby – especially those who aren’t brand loyal and aren’t looking for that classic Subaru go-anywhere capabilities.
The Edge has three separate powertrain options: a 3.5-liter V-6, a 2.0-liter I-4 EcoBoost, and a 3.7-liter V-6. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for a 3.7-liter V-6 with AWD, and 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with front-wheel-drive. Pricing starts at $28,100 and climbs into the upper $30k range with options.
Gallery Ford Edge EcoBoost
The Venza is a much softer option compared to the rugged Outback. While the Venza does offer AWD, it lacks the needed ground clearance to tackle anything beyond snow and ice. While this might be a factor for some, others might enjoy the Venza’s more comfortable and luxurious cabin. Refinement is definitely superior in the Toyota.
Two engines are offered here: a 2.7-liter I-4 making 181 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque and a 3.5-liter V-6 putting out 268 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque. MPG ratings fall mid-pack at 20/26/23 for the four-cylinder in front wheel drive guise and 18/25/21 for a V-6 fitted with AWD.
Pricing for the Venza starts low and tops out high. $27,950 will get you a base Venza with FWD and the I-4. Check every option box on a Venza Limited with AWD and the V-6, and you’re looking at over $40,000.
Gallery Toyota Venza
The Outback got its start in 1994 with the introduction of the second generation of Legacy sedans. Originally called the Subaru Legacy Outback, the name was eventually shortened. The Outback got its first makeover in 1998 and lasted until 2003 when the third generation Legacy came out.
The Outback grew in size, capability, and refinement. The interiors received much attention from the automaker in making it much more welcoming and tolerable in extended highway jaunts.
The current outback came to market in 2009 with the fifth generation Legacy. Growing even more in size and refinement, the Outback stretched further towards the Crossover SUV category while still remaining a car-based wagon.
Subaru of America, Inc. today introduced the all-new 2015 Outback, the fifth generation of the World’s First Sport Utility Wagon®, at the New York International Auto Show in the Jacob K. Javits Center. The 2015 Outback offers the roomiest interior, most capable chassis and highest fuel-efficiency in the model’s 20-year history. Its bold new design delivers an even more compelling blend of on-road agility, off-pavement control, ride comfort, interior refinement and safety technology.
The 2015 Outback arrives in Subaru dealerships in summer 2014. The 175-horsepower 4-cylinder Outback 2.5i model is available in Standard, Premium and Limited trim lines, accompanied by the top-of-line 6-cylinder 3.6R Limited with 256 horsepower. All trim lines add more standard amenities, conveniences and new infotainment systems.
The original Outback established a template for many competitive crossover models that followed, and the new-generation 2015 Outback further strengthens the melding of passenger- car and SUV attributes that crossover shoppers seek. The 2015 Outback exemplifies Subaru’s mastery of outdoors-oriented vehicle engineering, not just for its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and raised ground clearance, but also for numerous details that help make it more convenient to load and carry cargo as well as items such as kayaks and bikes. Newly standard X-Mode, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist augment Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to assist the driver in navigating rough roads, slippery surfaces or steep inclines.
New for 2015, all Outback models come standard with the Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), which features paddle-shift control switches and is instrumental in the Outback’s significantly improved fuel economy. Manufacturer-estimated ratings of 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined are up from 24/30/26 in the 2014 model. These figures place the 2015 Outback 2.5i at the top of the midsize crossover class, bettering front-wheel drive versions of some competitive crossovers.
A new Active Grille Shutter system on the 2015 Outback 2.5i helps to improve fuel economy by reducing wind resistance when closed. Electric Power-Assisted Steering and improved aerodynamics also contribute to the increased efficiency in all models. Due largely to its new Lineartronic CVT, the 6-cylinder Outback 3.6R Limited also improves fuel economy, with manufacturer-estimated ratings of 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/22 combined vs. 17/25/20 for the previous version.
Bold New Design Brings New Functionality
The all-new 2015 Outback introduces a bolder look with crisper, sculpted lines that convey both its all-road capability and upgraded refinement. A new front fascia combines the hexagonal grille and bumper into one smooth piece. An aluminum hood reduces weight over the front wheels, which helps enhance steering response. In the Outback 3.6R Limited, new standard HID low-beam headlights give the car a more distinctive nighttime signature. Limited trim line models feature turn signal exterior mirrors.
The 2015 Outback’s windshield is more raked, pulled forward 2.0 in. at the base. The new windshield angle, higher seating hip points, new front partition windows and door-mounted side view mirrors help improve visibility. The 2015 Outback maintains a footprint similar to the model it replaces. Wheelbase is increased by just 0.2-in., overall length by 0.6-in. and width by 0.7 in. The changes, though small, yield a roomier passenger cabin, at 108.1 cu. ft. (up from 105.4 cu. ft.). The added space includes gains in shoulder, front and rear hip and elbow room and rear legroom. The Outback’s cargo area has been enlarged to 35.5 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, up from 34.3, while maximum capacity with the standard 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks folded is now 73.3 cu. ft., up from 71.3. In addition, the load floor provided by the lowered seats now lays flatter, and new rear seatback release levers in the cargo area enhance convenience.
The Outback continues with 8.7-in. ground clearance, which is higher than for some SUVs, yet with low step-in height for comfort. New step-style doorsills allow one to stand firmly when securing objects to the roof rails with integrated retractable crossbars and tie downs. A power rear gate with memory height is available on Outback for the first time.
New Safety and Security Technology from a Safety Leader
The 2015 Outback builds on the stellar safety performance of the previous model, adding new front seat-cushion airbags that help to keep occupants in place in a frontal collision. All trim lines come standard with a rear-view camera, and a new rollover sensor can deploy the side curtain airbags if an imminent rollover is detected.
For added nighttime security, the 2015 Outback features new standard Welcome Lighting that automatically turns on cabin illumination and exterior lights as the driver approaches or departs the vehicle. The Limited trim offers a Keyless Access & Start system with PIN Code Access.
The new Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection System, which is standard on Limited trims and available for the 2.5i Premium, offers three functions. Blind Spot Detection detects vehicles on either side of the vehicle, in the driver’s blind spots; Lane Change Assist detects fast-approaching vehicles in adjacent lanes, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert detects vehicles approaching from a perpendicular direction while reversing, such as from a driveway. LED indicators on the side mirrors alert the driver. Rear Cross Traffic Alert uses an indicator in the rear view camera display.
The 2015 Outback offers the latest version of the EyeSight® driver-assist system, the highest-rated front crash prevention system by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Available for Outback Premium and Limited trim lines, EyeSight® uses Subaru-developed stereo camera technology and integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. The 2015 Outback is projected to achieve the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, as the 2014 Outback did.
Models equipped with EyeSight® also come with new Steering-Responsive Fog Lights. The feature, which works only when the fog lights are turned off, activates the left or right fog light independently, depending on vehicle speed and steering angle, to provide enhanced illumination in the direction of the turn. The fog lights are pre-aimed for maximum coverage in corners.
Four- or Six-Cylinder BOXER Engine
The 2015 Outback 2.5i is powered by a double-overhead-cam (DOHC) FB series 2.5-liter BOXER engine that debuted for 2013 and now receives numerous enhancements for lighter weight, improved efficiency and quieter operation. Power is increased slightly, to 175 hp vs. 173 hp before. Peak torque remains at 174 lb.-ft. but is spread over a broader engine speed range for more responsive performance in all driving situations.
In the Outback 3.6R Limited, the 3.6-liter BOXER 6-cylinder engine produces 256 hp and 247 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Notably, the 3.6 engine sustains at least 225 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, making the Outback 3.6R Limited feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving.
Standard Lineartronic CVT
For 2015, all Outback models now come standard with a Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), with the 6-cylinder model using a high-torque version. Changes made to reduce friction in the CVT contribute to higher fuel efficiency. Because a CVT does not shift gears, the driver enjoys smoother performance in all driving situations. The CVT’s selectable manual mode offers six pre-selected ratios to allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle switches. This feature can provide added driver control when driving down inclines, for example.
Enhanced Agility and Quieter Ride
Subaru extensively revised and retuned the MacPherson front strut suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension for greater handling agility and a more compliant ride – a difficult balance to achieve. New quick-ratio electric power-assisted steering delivers outstanding feel and also helps reduce fuel consumption. The Outback 2.5i is equipped with standard 17-inch wheels, and the Limited trim line features 18-in. alloy wheels.
Active Torque Vectoring, an enhancement of the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system, fosters more neutral cornering by applying brake pressure to the inside front wheel. The Outback 2.5i now uses larger brakes previously available only on the 6-cylinder model, and all models now have ventilated rear discs in place of solid discs used previously. The Brake Assist safety system automatically applies maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.
The cabin blocks more sources of noise thanks to a new acoustic windshield, liquid-filled engine mounts, thicker panels in key locations (floor, toeboard, rear wheel apron, inner fenders) and expanded use of foam insulation and floor damping material.
Greater Comfort and Refinement
New soft-touch materials, thicker cushioning for armrests and the center console and new trim styles give the 2015 Outback a more premium feel. The driver faces a decidedly sporty instrument panel, highlighted by two binocular-style gauge pods with a center LCD information display — 3.5-in. on cars without the EyeSight® driver-assist system and 5-in. on EyeSight® cars. An ECO gauge indicates and promotes fuel-efficient driving habits using color bars. The Premium and Limited-trim levels feature gauges with elegant blue ring illumination.
The heater control panel integrates the digital clock and outside air temperature displays, with the time automatically corrected by GPS in navigation-equipped models. A new one-touch lane changer function for the turn signals adds convenience. Premium and Limited trim levels come equipped with standard auto up/down driver and front passenger windows with pinch protection.
The Outback 2.5i Premium delivers impressive comfort with a 10-way power driver’s seat (with power lumbar support adjustment); dual-zone automatic climate control; the All-Weather Package (three-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer); upgraded infotainment system; an air filtration system; leather-wrapped steering wheel; fog lights, dark-tint privacy glass and more.
The Limited trim line models offer the highest level of luxury ever in an Outback, adding to the Premium trim level content: perforated leather upholstery; two-position memory for the 10-way power driver’s seat; a 4-way power front passenger seat; dual-mode heated rear seats and a power rear gate with memory height.
New Infotainment Systems
Subaru significantly upgraded infotainment capability in the 2015 Outback. A new 6.2 Infotainment System in the Outback 2.5i provides AM/FM stereo and HD Radio®; Radio Data Broadcast System; single-disc in-dash CD player; 6.2-in. multi-function touch screen display with single-touch gesture control; Subaru STARLINK smartphone integration with Aha™ Infotainment, Pandora® Radio and iHeart® Radio; a rear vision camera; Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming; iPod® control capability, USB port and aux. input jack.
The Upgraded Infotainment System for Outback 2.5i Premium adds a 6-speaker audio system; 7-inch touch screen display with multi-touch control that offers swipe and scrolling gesture control; voice-activated controls; SiriusXM® satellite radio; a vehicle information display; SMS text messaging, iTunes® tagging capability and dual USB ports.
A new high-end audio system standard for Outback Limited combines an AM/FM/HD Radio system with a harman/kardon® upgraded 576-Watt-equivalent GreenEdge amplifier. The system’s 12 harman/kardon speakers include a front center speaker and a rear subwoofer. GreenEdge technology provides increased audio performance and amplifier efficiency while consuming less power and reducing heat dissipation.
The available navigation system’s interactive voice command system accepts natural language and phrases, and this functionality can also operate the dual-zone automatic climate control system.
The center console armrest provides a storage area that can hold an iPad®. A covered and illuminated storage bin at the front of the console incorporates a USB port, 3.5mm AUX jack and a 12v power port. Models with high-grade audio or navigation feature two USB ports, making it possible to listen to music and charge two connected devices.
Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Enhanced Capability
A newly refined version of the Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical AWD comes standard in all 2015 Outback models. The system’s electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls torque distribution in response to driving conditions and wheel slippage. Taking input from acceleration, steering angle and yaw rate sensors, Active Torque Split AWD optimizes traction and steering response when accelerating through turns and curves, particularly when the road surface is slippery.
All 2015 Outback models come equipped as standard with the X-Mode system, which debuted on the 2014 Forester. When engaged by a switch on the console, X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases Active All-Wheel Drive engagement and uses enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to reduce individual wheel spin.
Engaging X-Mode also activates the new Hill Descent Control, which uses engine braking to help maintain a constant vehicle speed when the Outback is traveling downhill, enhancing vehicle control. New Incline Start Assist helps to momentarily minimize forward or backward vehicle rolling on inclines, and the electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver presses the accelerator pedal to pull away from a stop.
Subaru produces a full line of all-wheel drive sedans, crossovers and SUVs, along with the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car.