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.
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.