2015 Subaru Outback
Subaru had been making fantastically capable 4WD cars for years, but prior to 1995, nobody seemed to notice. Then somebody at Subaru decided to turn the dowdy Subaru Legacy wagon into an off-roader, and suddenly, things started to change. The motoring press loved the new Subaru Outback, its extra ground clearance gave Subaru's Symmetrical AWD system room to shine. And the luxury trim, with its unique two-tone paint schemes, was a refreshing departure from Subaru's traditionally boring image. By 2010, the Subaru Outback had developed a loyal following, and the redesigned model even won Motor Trend's coveted SUV of the Year award.
2015 Subaru Outback - What is it?
The 2015 Subaru Outback is a big wagon, with an equally big 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Since it's designed to be a light off-roader, there's Subaru's famously standard Symmetrical AWD system. Except here, there's 3 different types, depending on the transmission / engine combination. The base 173-hp 2.5L Boxer-4 with the 6-speed manual gets a full-time viscous coupling AWD system, which keeps power delivery split 50/50, until slippage is detected. Opting for the gear-less CVT (it has a 6-speed manual mode with paddle shifters), gets you the Active Torque Split AWD system, which uses computers to vary power delivery, based on driving conditions. The more playful 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R gets a 256-hp 3.6L Boxer-6, a 5-speed automatic, and the Variable Torque Distribution system. Using computers, and a planetary center differential, the VTD system has a rear-biased 45/55 torque split (until slippage occurs), for a more engaging driving experience.
On the road, the 2015 Subaru Outback offers athletic handling, thanks to the low center of gravity, which is afforded by the compact boxer engines, mounted low in the chassis. Turn off the pavement, and the Outback feels like it could conquer any terrain on the planet. The big wagon does have its limits, but they are higher than some SUVs. Motor Trend boss Angus Mckenzie once took a current-gen Outback trekking through the real Australian Outback, and it had no problem keeping up with the Toyota Land Cruisers that were being used as chase cars. Impressive for what's basically a jacked-up station wagon.
On the practicality front, the 2015 Subaru Outback has a 34 cu-ft cargo hold behind the rear seats, and that swells to a massive 71 cu-ft with all the seats folded. While the interior isn't as hedonistically plush as an Audi Allroad, it does have an acceptably premium feel. You can get a Harmon/Kardon audio system, touchscreen navigation, and keyless ignition/entry. And there's even an advanced camera-based safety system (EyeSight) which offers adaptive cruise control, and a frontal crash avoidance system that can autonomously brake the car to avoid a crash (at speeds up to 19 mph).
2015 Subaru Outback - What's New?
For 2015, the Outback gets a new grille, headlights & bumper cover. The 2.5L engine is new, and features Active Valve Control. The CVT transmission has been redesigned, along with the suspension. Bluetooth hands-free & streaming now comes standard. The new EyeSight driver assist package has been added to the options list, along with a new 7-inch touchscreen, and a 10-way driver seat with memory. And finally, the 2015 Subaru Outback gets redesigned retractable roof racks, and a rear seat A/C duct.
In a Nutshell
The 2015 Subaru Outback offers genuine off-road ability (no rough stuff of course), combined with surprisingly agile on-road handling. Add to that, a selection of bullet-proof engines, and a cavernous interior, and you get...well, we're not quite sure what to call it. But if you live in the woods, or snow country, the 2015 Subaru Outback simply works.