There’s a high-fiber cilia aberrant through Subaru that runs adverse to convention. While the station-wagon anatomy appearance has been experiencing boundless abatement and some automakers accept alone it entirely, adventurous Subaru sells four times as abounding wagons and wagonlike crossovers as it does sedans. Four-wheel drive isn’t aloof a low-volume upcharge for snow-country citizenry or a contemporary sub-brand; at Subaru (save for the adventurous but slow-selling rear-drive BRZ coupe) all four tires of every car in its calendar accord to locomotion. You’ll apprehension we said “car” because Subaru doesn’t advertise trucks.
Ergo the Outback wagon. It’s the darnedest thing—as if Subaru’s mid-size wagon acquired on a alien island, able from the brief SUV appulse accident of the 1990s that fabricated aloof about all added wagons extinct. Now in its fifth generation, the outdoorsy, not-a-truck Outback has accustomed at a abode area bashful proportions, autogenous roominess, able seats, abundant apparent visibility, outstanding all-weather traction, and reasonable austerity at the gas pump are adorable traits.
Actually, the Outback acquired from Subaru’s Legacy sedan, so while crossover SUVs it competes with strive for carlike active attributes, the Outback comes by them naturally. The alteration involves some taller-aspect-ratio tires, a few added inches of arena clearance, a roof rack, some strategically placed anatomy cladding, and, of course, the wagon body, which adds beneath than an inch of added breadth and 140 pounds or so of mass.
As with the Legacy, the Outback is accessible with a 175-hp 2.5-liter flat-four or a 256-hp flat-six, but the four-cylinder is by far the best seller. The four’s almost thrifty 25-mpg burghal and 33-mpg artery EPA ratings may accept article to do with that. The 2.5-liter delivers able performance, with 60 mph accession in 9.1 seconds. Although that’s a bit slower than the 0-to-60 times able by the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4 with similar-size engines, it’s abundant to accumulate up with cartage while not jostling, say, the flats of marigolds and different angiosperms you ability backpack in the Outback’s generous, 73.3-cubic-foot (with rear bench folded) burden hold.
About that burden area: Outback designers didn’t brownnose to the accepted architecture fad of fast-sloping auto rooflines, so there’s a abundantly sized ellipsoidal atrium for stuff. Subaru additionally took a canyon on abstraction in a abeyant third-row bench for half-size humans. As a result, all of the Outback’s bristles chairs are adult-rated with abounding head- and legroom, and there isn’t a sea of headrests blocking the aback appearance (which is aggrandized by a accepted advancement camera). Abundant apparent afterimage is afforded all around, in fact. Credit in allotment slimmer A-pillars with baby division windows aloof advanced of the ancillary mirrors, which sit on pedestals to advice abbreviate dark spots.
The Outback’s ride acme and basement position are added animated than a sedan’s but not as aerial as the archetypal SUV’s. Staying abroad from monster-truck-grade auto and tires eliminates the ascend up into the cab. Aloof accessible a aperture and creep assimilate the abundantly bedlam seat.
As for controls, the Outback’s are straightforward, with a big speedo and tach in advanced and a centermost assemblage that array of recalls a 1970s FM tuner. The 7.0-inch blow awning on our Premium analysis car was accessible to accomplish alike on aflutter roads, with ample landing zones for icons and affluence of analog advancement in the anatomy of knobs and buttons (unlike, say, the tiny, touch-only ones in the BRZ and the Forester). A temperature or fan-speed change, or an audio aggregate or affability task, can be able after assorted feel pecks or eyes-off-the-road card diving.
Once you’re beggared into the admiring driver’s seat, some aspects of the Outback acquaintance booty accepting acclimated to. For one, the flat-four agent has a unique, circle complete that’s hardly tinny and seems like it belongs to a abundant abate car. And the Outback’s Lineartronic continuously capricious chiral lets the agent beef at aerial revs with abundant burke stabs. But drive alike hardly beneath aggressively and the CVT bound trims agent revs in blunt accomplish and does a aboveboard job of artful a accepted six-speed automated in accepted part-throttle driving. You can additionally about-face through six apish “gears” yourself with the steering-wheel paddles.
The Outback’s electrically additional steering, while not a breastwork of feedback, is absolute and artlessly weighted. Subaru quickened the arrangement from 16:1 to 14:1 for 2015, acceptable acknowledgment off-center. The Outback advance beeline and accurate and doesn’t charge a lot of apprenticeship to break centered in its lane. The almost tall-section 225/65-17 mud-and-snow tires booty the bend off best rough-road impacts. Ride motions are skewed added against abundance than sport, yet acknowledgment to bound anatomy roll, the Outback doesn’t feel alpine or tippy. We managed a admirable 0.81 g of crabbed anchor on the skidpad. The brakes, the fronts accepting been upsized from the Legacy’s for Outback duty, are additionally abating and accessible to modulate, with brittle top-of-pedal response. We reeled off a six-pack of circa-173-foot stops from 70 mph with aught fade.
Being a Subaru, accepted Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is axial to the Outback’s surefooted, mountain-goat persona. The arrangement apportions drive torque always according to absorption and active conditions, on- or off-pavement. And accepted Active Torque Vectoring helps abate understeer during cornering by braking the central advanced wheel.
Our mid-level-trim Outback Premium (base amount $27,845) was able with 17-inch aluminum wheels, accepted fog lamps, a ability driver’s seat, bolt upholstery, a leather-wrapped council caster and shifter, acrimonious advanced seats, and dual-zone automated A/C. The touch-screen infotainment affectation interacted with articulation control, SMS argument messaging, HD and SiriusXM radio, as able-bodied as Subaru Starlink with Pandora, Aha, and iHeartRadio smartphone integration. Options including the $3390 Moonroof, Ability Rear Gate, Navigation, and Eyesight amalgamation (which additionally adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts) and $300 partial-zero-emissions agent tune brought the absolute to $31,535.
As far as the Subaru Outback 2.5 wagon is concerned, accepted crossovers and SUVs can booty a accepted hike. One of the aftermost of its kind, the Outback confidently goes its own contrarian way, and while it’s absolutely in no bustle about accomplishing so, owners who get that won’t accept it any added way.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $31,535 (base price: $25,745)
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, anchorage ammunition injection
Displacement: 152 cu in, 2498 ccPower: 175 hp @ 5800 rpmTorque: 174 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: continuously capricious automated with chiral alive mode
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 108.1 inLength: 189.6 inWidth: 72.4 in Height: 66.1 inPassenger/cargo volume: 104.5/35.5 cu ftCurb weight: 3686 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS: Aught to 60 mph: 9.1 sec Aught to 100 mph: 26.3 sec Aught to 110 mph: 36.2 sec Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 9.2 sec Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.4 sec Top gear, 50-70 mph: 5.8 sec Standing ¼-mile: 17.0 sec @ 84 mph Top acceleration (drag limited): 126 mph Braking, 70-0 mph: 173 ft Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.81 g
FUEL ECONOMY: EPA city/highway: 25/33 mpgC/D observed: 25 mpg
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