The 2015 Subaru Outback is an all-new suv effort from the Japanese brand that follows in the footsteps of its equally-fresh 2015 Subaru Legacy sedan platform-mate. The Subaru Outback started the crossover suv craze back in the 1990s, and it has remained a perennial favorite amongst families seeking something more than a wagon, but less than a truck in order to get them through whatever the week might throw their way. With a focus on all-wheel drive stability and versatile practicality, the 2015 Subaru Outback modernizes several aspects of its overall experience in a bid to attract a wider range of customers into the fold.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2015 Subaru Outback
01. The 2015 Subaru Outback Features Buffed And Polished Looks
The 2015 Subaru Outback features styling that will be familiar to fans of the mid-size SUV, but like its Legacy sedan counterpart, it makes a concerted effort to smooth out its sheet metal and present a bolder, more filled-out face than in years past. The Subaru Outback preserves the plastic cladding on the bumper and under the door sills that help to give it its rugged personality, but its side panels, nose clip, hood, and tailgate have been assigned a simplicity of shape meant to streamline the vehicle's looks. There is even a subtle increase in windshield rake that serves to improve the Subaru's aerodynamics. The result is a more cohesive design for the Outback that doesn't stray too far from its roots.
02. The 2015 Subaru Outback Rides On A Revised Platform
The 2015 Subaru Outback has seen significant changes made under its metallic skin, including chassis adjustments that improve lateral stiffness as well as frame strengthening done to further protect occupants in the event of a collision. Overall the Subaru Outback's size is very similar to the model it replaces, but keen eyes will notice that it's slightly longer and wider (although by less than an inch for each respective dimension). The Outback's suspension system has been re-tuned in order to better absorb bumps in the road as well as offer a bit more feedback when driven at speed, and an electric power steering system also makes its debut for 2015.
03. The 2015 Subaru Outback Maintains Its Off-Road Capability
The 2015 Subaru Outback doesn't turn its back on its all-terrain heritage in its quest to provide a more civilized ride. Just like the 2014 edition of the SUV, the Subaru Outback continues to provide substantial ground clearance - 8.7 inches of it, in fact. This is the same amount of ground clearance offered by more dedicated off-road rigs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Joining the Outback's equipment list for 2014 is Subaru's new X-Mode driving feature, a feature that maximizes low-speed traction through the SUV's standard all-wheel drive system at the touch of a button. Also along for the ride with the Outback are a hill descent control system and an incline start assist system.
04. The 2015 Subaru Outback Delivers More Interior Room
Helping to contribute to the 2014 Subaru Outback's longer overall footprint is a 0.2-inch boost in wheelbase. Of course, pushing out a car's wheelbase, even by the small amount found in the redesigned Subaru Outback, almost always translates into additional legroom inside the cabin. This is definitely true in the Outback's case, which boasts not just more space for legs in its rear row of seating but also better shoulder, hip, and elbow room all around due to its somewhat wider stance. The Subaru suv also gains a flatter load floor and a small amount of extra cargo space - 2.0 cubic feet - which allows it to offer 73.3 cubic feet in total with the back seat folded forward.
05. The 2015 Subaru Outback Offers Two Engine Choices
The 2015 Subaru Outback comes with a pair of engines that very closely mirror 2014's offerings. The base Subaru Outback is equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder 'boxer' engine that develops 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, which is a slight increase over last year that stems from a desire to present drivers with a broader torque band. The Outback's optional 3.6-liter 'boxer' six-cylinder engine holds the line with 256 horses and 247 lb-ft of twist on tap, but again the motor has been tuned to deliver most of its torque starting at 2,000 rpm to improve drivability.
06. The 2015 Subaru Outback Goes CVT-Only
While it used to be possible to order the Subaru Outback with a six-speed manual transmission - at least, with the entry-level four-cylinder engine - for 2015 this option has been removed from the order sheet. As it stands now, the 2015 Subaru Outback is offered exclusively with a continuously-variable automatic transmission. This next-generation unit is an improvement over past iterations of the CVT from Subaru, and it features the ability to shift between virtual gears using steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters in order to boost performance or better manage speed during a long downhill drive.
07. The 2015 Subaru Outback Posts Improved Fuel Mileage
Why take the manual option away from the 2015 Subaru Outback? It's part of a whole-vehicle effort to improve the Subaru Outback's fuel economy and make it more competitive with other SUVs. It's a gambit that has paid off in spades, with the entry-level four-cylinder Outback now posting fuel efficiency figures of 25-mpg in city driving and 33-mpg on the highway - a gain of one and three miles per gallon for each respective measure. The six-cylinder version of the Outback also benefits from the reconfigured CVT, as its fuel mileage rises three miles per gallon in city driving to 20-mpg and two miles per gallon on the highway for a total of 27-mpg.
08. The 2015 Subaru Outback Features An Upgraded Infotainment System
The Subaru Outback has long fallen victim to offering stereo systems and LCD touchscreen interfaces that were a few paces behind those of its SUV rivals. The 2015 Subaru Outback goes a long way towards erasing that gap with a new infotainment system that doesn't just improve sound quality but also installs a 6.2-inch touchscreen in each and every model. Logic for the vehicle's navigation, communications, and data menus is much easier to use than it has been before, and an available harman/kardon speaker system serves as a further upgrade for audiophiles.
09. The 2015 Subaru Outback Improves Its Cutting Edge Safety Systems
The 2015 Subaru Outback continues the brand's tradition of going above and beyond when it comes to safety equipment by offering the second-generation version of Subaru EyeSight. Subaru EyeSight relies on a pair of stereoscopic cameras mounted on the windshield that monitor road in front of the SUV in order to spot a potential collision, or detect whether the Outback is straying from its lane. The EyeSight cameras now offer full color imaging, which makes it easier to discern brake lights up ahead, and they offer a smaller form factor than they did the year before. The Subaru can also be had with rear cross traffic detection system, a blind spot monitoring, and a rearview camera.
10. The 2015 Subaru Outback Faces Off Against Few Competitors
The Subaru Outback was a one-of-a-kind model when it first debuted two decades ago, and for 2015 it remains a unique SUV option. Yes, there are wagon-based sport-utility vehicles out there like the Volvo XC70 and the Audi Allroad that ostensibly share the same market space as the Subaru Outback, but these are premium models that can't match the Subaru's entry-level MSRP of $24,895, or its reliability. In a world where most SUVs have embraced more homogenous crossover styling, the Outback remains true to its original spirit of offering family-friendly versatility in a go-anywhere package.