Subaru’s sport-utility wagon has been attracting considerable attention in recent years, offering buyers something different than the mass of crossover models on the market. Though the ride is similar to that of a solidly-built station wagon, the Outback’s raised ground clearance and moderate off-road capabilities invite comparison to a small SUV. Totally redesigned for 2015, the Outback wagon has standard all-wheel drive, just like most Subaru models.
What's New for 2017
The addition of “flagship” Touring models for 2017 brings a new Java Brown perforated leather interior with ivory contrast stitching. The Touring trim also includes a woodgrain interior finish with piano-black accents. New reverse automatic braking is standard on Limited and Touring models. The system can halt the vehicle if it detects an object in its path while backing up.
Choosing Your Subaru Outback
Lower trim levels have only one powertrain choice: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder “boxer” (flat, or horizontally-opposed) engine that makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Subaru’s 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, generating 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet, comes only in the top-end 3.6R Limited and Touring trim levels. Both engines mate with an automated continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has a six-speed manual mode and paddle shifters, to make virtual gearchanges when desired. The available EyeSight suite of active-safety features includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and lane-keeping assist.
Fuel economy is estimated at 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway (28 mpg combined) with the four-cylinder engine, but only 20/27 mpg (city/highway) and 22 mpg combined with the six-cylinder.
Six trim levels are offered, including two with the six-cylinder engine:
Option packages for selected trim levels can add such features as a moonroof, power rear liftgate, blind-spot monitoring, navigation, and the EyeSight driver-assistance/safety system.
Unless saving money is paramount, we advise skipping 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 $2,050 more, and provides an appealing selection of features, more appropriate to a vehicle of this sort. If that’s not sufficient, you can choose from several available packages to add the items you want or need the most.
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