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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Subaru Outback
  • 3/4 Rear Glamour  2016 Subaru Outback
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Expert's Rating

5.0Excellent | Details

MPG

24 City / 32 Highway
Contributing Editor -

Subaru’s sport-utility wagon has been attracting considerable attention in recent years, offering buyers something different than the usual crossover models. Though the ride is similar to a solidly-built station wagon, Outback’s raised ground clearance and off-road capabilities invite comparison to a small SUV. Totally redesigned for 2015, the Outback has standard all-wheel drive, like most Subaru models.

What's New for 2016

New Subaru Starlink Safety and Security features come in two packages: Safety Plus, and Safety Plus & Security Plus. EyeSight driver-assist technology adds Lane Keep Assist. New auto on/off mode operates wipers along with the headlights. Subaru says electric power steering has been returned for a more linear, natural feel.

Choosing Your Subaru Outback

Lower trim levels have only one engine choice: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder “Boxer” that makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Subaru’s 3.6-liter six-cylinder, generating 256 horsepower, comes only with the top-end 3.6R Limited. Both engines mate with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has a six-speed manual mode and paddle shifters, to make virtual gearchanges when desired. The available EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and the new Lane Keep Assist.

Fuel economy is estimated at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the four-cylinder engine, but only 20/27 mpg (city/highway) with the six-cylinder.

Four trim levels are offered, but optional packages can add such features as a moonroof, power rear liftgate, blind-spot monitoring, navigation, EyeSight system, and keyless start to upper trims.

2.5i

Fitted with a relatively modest number of standard amenities, the basic Legacy starts at $25,845 (including destination charge). Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist are standard. So are a four-speaker AM/FM audio system with CD player and USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free phone operation, air conditioning, projector-beam halogen headlights, and 17-inch steel wheels.

2.5i Premium

Adding $2,400 to the base price, the Premium edition features dual-zone climate control, an All-Weather package, 10-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, seven-inch touchscreen display, electro-luminescent instrument panel, six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM capability, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Premium is the lowest trim level that can be fitted with various option packages.

2.5i Limited

For $3,000 more than Premium, you get the most luxurious Outback, still with the thrifty four-cylinder engine. Standard fare includes perforated leather-trimmed seat upholstery, heated rear seatbacks and cushions, a four-way power front passenger seat, rear air conditioner outlets, foglights, woodgrain interior trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 12-speaker Harman Kardon Surround audio system has a 575-watt amplifier, and the power rear liftgate has a memory. Also standard are a blind-spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

3.6R Limited

In addition to the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, for $3,000 above the 2.5i Limited, you get such features as high-intensity-discharge low-beam headlights, automatic height adjustment, and chrome dual-exhaust tips.

CarsDirect Tip

Unless saving money is paramount, it’s advisable to avoid the base 2.5i, which costs a little too much considering its modest standard-equipment list. Moving up to a 2.5i Premium costs only $2,400 more, and provides an appealing selection of features, appropriate to a vehicle of this kind. If that’s not sufficient, several available packages can be specified to add the items you need the most.

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