By on September 2, 2014

2015 Subaru OutbackOf all the things that struck me during my week with the 2015 Subaru Outback at the end of August, it was the realization that this nameplate has been around for two decades which shocked me most.

Is this because I’m getting old, that when I think something occurred recently, I find out it actually happened 20 years ago? Subaru first showed North Americans a Legacy Outback at the New York Auto Show in 1994. In other words, there are people who have been driving for four years who never knew a world without the Subaru Outback.

Yet during this long period in which the Outback, and Subaru as a whole, became increasingly successful, there have never been any properly direct Outback rivals, at least none that have made real hay off the Outback’s format. And yes, by the Outback’s format, I really mean the AMC Eagle’s format.

True, you could argue that most modern crossovers have stolen their offense from the Outback’s playbook. But driving the Outback is different, and it continues to be perceived by the vast majority of actual Outback buyers as different, as a true crossover; a true mid-point, between car and SUV.

Audi’s A6 and A4 Allroads are all good and well, but they’re very rare cars. Volvo’s XC70 has lingered, but it too has become very uncommon in terms of new car sales. Don’t even say the words, “Honda Crosstour,” within range of my ears.

One then wonders what’s always been so different about the Outback.

To answer that question, we would need to examine multiple products from multiple periods over the the last two decades. So what about this new car? What makes this 2015 model great; what ensures further success for the fifth Outback?

2015 Subaru OutbackSubjectively speaking, it looks better than the outgoing car. Though strikingly similar in most ways, perhaps too similar from some angles, its face is cleaner and classier. Unfortunately, this specific tester, a 2.5i Touring version on loan from Subaru Canada, features alloy wheels that do a really good impression of cheap wheel covers.

It’s better built than previous Outbacks were. There’s no hint of fragility to this car, no after-bump jiggles and rattles, no door-closing thwacks where there ought to be, and are, thunks. It is more than vaguely Toyota-like, and given the relationship between the two companies, we shouldn’t be surprised.

Interior quality and workmanship has taken a big leap forward, particularly where it matters around the driver. The infotainment unit is now modern, which is to say it meets our low expectations for in-car systems but doesn’t rise to the level of convenience you’d find in the new Mazda 3 or the depth of services in Chrysler’s UConnect.

With each new Outback iteration, there’s been a moderate increase in space and comfort, progressively less of the knees-to-chest awkwardness for rear passengers and arguably better seats for front passengers. This remains true, but I’d like the front seats to feature side bolstering that wasn’t quite so far away from my sides. The headrests feature a welcome range of adjustability.

Cargo capacity is up slightly from 34.3 cubic feet to 35.3; from 71.3 to 73.3 cubic feet with the seats folded as overall length grew by six-tenths of an inch.

The Outback is still a smart car. The roof crossbars are embedded in the flush-mounted side rails until you need them. Combined city/highway fuel efficiency has increased from 26 mpg to 28, three miles more per gallon than the 2014 Honda CR-V, America’s best-selling SUV/crossover, is rated to achieve, and on par with the 2014 four-cylinder Toyota Camry, America’s most popular car. Pressing Subaru’s X-Mode button turns the Outback, already a tall-riding car with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, into a very capable mud-runner by remapping the transmission and all-wheel-drive system and traction control. It’s not a joke.

2015 Subaru Outback rearThe 2015 Outback’s on-road behaviour produces what may be the most convincing argument that the Outback has improved. Ride quality is superb, as the Outback isolates occupants from road imperfections while maintaining a nice amount of firmness. The Outback has become a very quiet highway cruiser, no vibration seeps through the pedals or wheel or shifter, and the boxer four-cylinder has been further refined to reduce unwanted boxer noises.

Say what you will about the character of older H-4 Subarus, they weren’t the engines you strapped on if you were going to meet the queen. This 2.5L is now smoother, and there is still a hint of flat-four warble if you call upon it.

Subaru has also made a slight return to its more enjoyable driving roots after a fourth-gen car that was all too boring to drive. This new Outback doesn’t have the the same amount of athleticism enjoyed by the third-generation Outback; nor is there any real interactivity here. But body roll is kept to a minimum in comparison with most small crossovers and the steering is sufficiently quick to make me think I’d hustle this car whenever the opportunity presented itself. I wouldn’t have said that about the last Outback, and I certainly wouldn’t say the same for the Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Rogue.

Hustling is perhaps a stretch for the overburdened 175-horsepower powerplant, of course. There’s a great deal more cooperation now between the engine and the continuously variable transmission, so much so that the car no longer feels slow unless you’re accelerating from rest up a steep hill. The CVT is rarely annoying, offering a distinct stepping sensation and paddles if you want to exert some control. In the Canadian market, consumers are still given the option of selecting a manual transmission. Oh joy, oh delight.

2015 Subaru Outback InteriorYes, you’ll want the 256-horsepower six-cylinder, but you might not want its fuel bill, 22 mpg overall, or the $3000 premium you’ll pay on top-trim Limited models to get that boxer six. (Limiteds start at $30,845 including destination, $3000 more than the Outback Premium, which is $2100 more than the base Outback. We averaged a somewhat disappointing 24 mpg in mostly urban driving in the four-cylinder.) And you won’t need the six-cylinder – base four-cylinder Outbacks weigh less than 3600 pounds. They can make do.

Positivity aside, I’ll admit I grew somewhat bored of the Outback before the week was up. I blame the black paint for masking the more stylish look of the cladding – it looks great in lighter shades. We also have frequent access to more thrilling machines on a regular basis. The Outback doesn’t thrill, nor does it aim to.

No, the Outback really is just a new take on the old-fashioned station wagon. Rather, a 20-year-old take. But I realized when the Outback left our driveway that a rugged, roomy, affordable, surprisingly efficient, all-weather midsize wagon is basically the perfect car for almost everybody I know, in the same way flimsy, massive, affordable, inefficient, rear-wheel-drive full-size wagons were basically the perfect car for almost everybody I never knew 35 or 40 years ago.

There are things Subaru could do better, from re-injecting more fun back into the chassis, crafting less American-waistline-oriented seats, designing a faster power liftgate that doesn’t leave me standing impatiently in a parking lot with a 30-pound bag of dog food, reining in the aggressive throttle tip-in, and providing 200 standard horsepower.

Yet the 2015 version makes the Outback a better car than it’s ever been. Subaru has worked to make it better despite the lack of pressure from rival automakers; despite the security of Subaru’s steadily growing North American sales volume.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. These Outback images were supplied by frequent GCBC photographer Steffani Cain.

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100 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i...”


  • avatar
    alsorl

    So basically it’s a all around good vehicle, great utility and drives better. Sorry, I’m still waiting for a review of the car. Not the best written review of an automobile.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’m not shocked that you only got 24mpg in your tester. The mileage of CVT equipped Subarus (Impreza particularly) has been a common complaint over on Nasioc. Considering that the mileage rating on this matches lighter FWD sedans, I’d put my bet on this Outback struggling to meet the EPA numbers in the real world as well.

    I’ve had a little seat time in the 4th gen Outback with a CVT and had no complaints about it. It didn’t rubber band as badly as the ~MY09/10 Nissans that I’d driven and the manual mode worked well enough.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Hasn’t Subaru been making flat-4-powered AWD wagons since the mid 70’s? What made the Outback substantially different from the AWD Subaru wagons that came before it, other than size and refinement?

    • 0 avatar

      First it was just paint. Then it was cladding and ground clearance. Sadly, as the clad, jacked-up ones grew in popularity, the turbo version went tits-up. Though I believe it lasted a few years longer in Canada than in the States.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The older ones were part-time 4WD like a truck. The full-time AWD came along in the early ’90s.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Specifically, the first-generation Legacy (model year 1990 in the U.S.) – a great car, especially considering that it was Subaru’s first effort to design and build a “larger” vehicle. My dad’s second Subaru was a ’90 Legacy LS AWD wagon that he gave us after 8 years, and we put on 5 more until gasket problems did her in. Besides that, the only problems involved the air suspension; the air shocks cost $500 each time one went, although it was cool to be able to raise the whole car when needed. Subaru was wise to discontinue that option.

        • 0 avatar

          Wish that suspension had evolved and made it from the XT to the SVX. Then, it really would have been a modern-day Citroen SM.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Turbo and Outback weren’t exclusive, we have both, the XT model. It actually lasted longer than the Legacy wagon version, in both 5 speed and auto through 2009.

            I don’t know the jacked up-ness of the suspension is really needed but our old XT model drives sporty like the LGT with more suspension travel and taller sidewalls which works out in the Boston area. No competing product circa 2005 I happen to have driven comes close in speed and sportiness, so there might be something to the Outback being directly derived from a decent handling car, and not a distant marshmallow-fied cousin to a sedan like most of the CUV alternatives.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    The wagon for people who are almost willing to admit they want a wagon

  • avatar

    “In other words, there are people who have been driving for four years who never knew a world without the Subaru Outback.”

    Yeah, I’m basically one of those people. And the Outback did come up in my search, after I decided a Cruze was way too small and that I wanted something with cargo room. But none of the Subaru dealers was willing to budge on the prices of even the old model, so I dropped it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Aren’t Subaru dealers known for being up there with Honda dealers in their “no dealing” type perspective?

      • 0 avatar
        fendertweed

        Not IME … bought an ’09 Outback and got ~$2k off MSRP (Plus $2k factory rebate since the ’10s had come out — didn’t like the wallowy feel of them (Gen 4 Outback) at all).

        And we just got $2k off MSRP on a very hard to find Impreza Sport Premium 5-speed (a factory order whose buyer’s financing fell through, our luck).

        New ’15 OBs may be a bit tighter now, not sure. I may look to replace the ’09 in 4-5 years or so, the ’15 seems like a nice improvement over the ’10-14 version.

    • 0 avatar
      caldwa

      It depends on what time of year you are talking about, and how recently it was released. In Jan 2013 when the Crosstrek had just come out, around $700 off MSRP was the lowest dealers were going. In Jan 2015 looking for a 2014 model, the lowest quote I got was for $3100 off a base limited model.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Hopefully, they don’t refresh the Forester again too soon.

    And by “refresh”, I mean “drop the manual transmission from the line”.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You can still get a manual Forester, as long as you’re willing to settle for Premium trim. Now it’s a 6-speed.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Yes, but (unlike our ’06 X with Premium package) you can’t get both the big moonroof and the manual in the same 2014 Forester, at least in the U.S.

        If you can still get a manual Outback in Canada, two questions follow:
        Can you also get a manual Legacy sedan in Canada?
        Are these manual cars made in Indiana?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Sure you can. The top 2014/15 trim level available with the manual is the Premium, which has the moonroof standard.

          My local Subaru dealer has three 2015s in stock so equipped, of which this is one:

          http://www.cartersubarushoreline.com/new/Subaru/2015-Subaru-Forester-Seattle-ee76e8910a0a00644d0061de6766456a.htm

          I test drove a 2013 Premium with the manual and the moonroof, but my wife and I decided we wanted TURBO POWAH more than the manual, so we ended up with an XT Touring. Aside from extra options at the top end there were pretty much no equipment changes between the 2013 and 2014 trim levels.

          • 0 avatar
            gottacook

            Sorry, I should have checked before posting. The combination of stick and moonroof wasn’t available for the 2014 Forester, but the moonroof does indeed come with the stick Premium-level car for 2015.

          • 0 avatar
            Tim_Turbo

            That is correct.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Sorry, my point wasn’t clear. I’m just POd that the latest “refresh” of the Outback dropped the stick, and I’m afraid the Forester is next.

    • 0 avatar
      rockets

      Just took our 1st Subaru, a ’15 Forester (2000 miles, CVT Limited) on a 1000 mile trip – 3 adults, one child, packed car. We got 27-29 mpg in gently rolling hills and plains @ 70+ mph, and up to 34mpg at a steady 55mph on Missouri’s twisty two lanes. Granted, in-town mileage has been about 24mpg. More impressively the car rode and handled great on all roads, including through torrential rain in Kansas City this past weekend that put other cars on the shoulders. Quiet, smooth, torquey, zippy and safe,we have no complaints. I know the Outback is a bit bigger and heavier, and is what we looked at first, but the wife wanted the Forester and this trip proved it’s worth. My sister has two Outbacks (’11 and ’12)and loves them both. The ’15 just seems like progressive improvement.

  • avatar
    jems86

    “and there is still a hint of flat-four warble if you call upon it.”

    I like the warble. It gives subies its character. My 1993 Leone Wagon had a nice one. you could tell from afar it was coming.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Looks like a ford taurus in the front. Hell, it’s even got a blue oval logo. I don’t know who cribbed who but… boooooooringggggggggg.

  • avatar
    swester

    I’ve always been ambivalent about Subarus.

    They seem like a nice choice if you absolutely must have AWD, but otherwise I can’t quite understand the appeal. I’ve found the interior quality and ride to be especially disappointing – uninspired panel design with cheap, hollow plastics on nearly every surface and unexceptional seats. It’s like they don’t even make an effort to feel upmarket, a tactic that has served Hyundai – not to mention Toyota and Honda – well in recent years.

    Luckily Sub’s have this rabid, loyal fanbase that keeps people coming back refresh and refresh for what seems to be the same vehicles with a few updated edges.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep, the interiors are always a few years out of date in terms of build quality. The appeal of Subarus is really in two things: 1) the full-time AWD systems, which are all far better than the on-demand AWD systems in most of the competition, and 2) the packaging, which is always very good. 5-door Subies really are small on the outside, big on the inside.

      There’s a reason you see pretty much no Subarus in the South and more Subarus than you can count in New England and the hilly Northwest.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I think that through the mid-00s, Subaru did have a superior AWD system. With today’s traction and stability control and Subaru chasing every MPG they can get, I think the gap has narrowed. No more LSDs on even things like WRXs because smart braking systems have rendered them [mostly] useless to most of their lineup and the brake systems are even working as torque vectoring. The FWD biased systems that you’ll find in Subaru’s competition have gotten smarter as the computers have developed to act more quickly than before and using smart yaw and speed sensors (from stability control) has narrowed the gap.

        To be perfectly honest, there is a practical stop point to how capable an AWD system should be on a car. There should be a point to where you say that the conditions are too bad to go out because you might get moving, but you won’t get the vehicle stopped in a controlled fashion. I’ve been a huge Subaru fan for nearly 15 years now since my first one in ’99. We used to have a thread on Nasioc where everyone tried to guess how many people would stuff their Subarus into a ditch driving in snow and ice and post about it on the board. There was even a meme about how the Bridgestone RE92 was the scapegoat tire for any wintertime wreck. I guess my point is that AWD capability isn’t something that automatically pushes me to a Subaru these days.

        I 100% agree on packaging. Subaru does a great job on that. They are usually some of the easiest cars to see out as well.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          As someone who drives on snowy hills throughout the winter, I have to disagree that the Haldex systems in the competition have caught up. There is still a mechanical delay before they kick any torque to the rears, no matter how quick the electronics get, while the Subaru systems provide seamless power to all four wheels. The lack of LSDs is too bad, but you can still easily feel the difference in poor traction conditions, especially uphill.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Like I said, it depends on the application and the age of the vehicle in question. My wife’s MY14 Rav4 is noticeably more aggressive with torque to the rear wheels where the previous gen (like my Mom’s MY10 Rav4) wanted you to do the manual center clutch pack lock when pulling up out of the driveway or you waited more on the computers to react. Supposedly it sends power to the rear wheels under any acceleration condition and pushes it around the rear wheels based on steering input as well. My parents’ household was all Subarus and 4WD trucks/truck based SUVs until 2010 due to the difficult to exit driveway. FWD and most FWD biased 4WD systems were dead in the water on that driveway up until traction and stability control became more common. Subaru still has an advantage with being “always on”, but it isn’t as vast as it once was. Ultimately, both systems are relying on the brakes to split the torque left and right (after the F:R split) since everyone runs open front and rear diffs now.

          • 0 avatar
            Tim_Turbo

            Also not to mention many systems are FWD only at speeds over 25/35mph.

        • 0 avatar
          Brumus

          Isn’t the Bridgestone RE92 an “all-season” tire?

          No wonder guys were ending up in the ditch. As you say, AWD only does so much – still comes down to the grip available through the four contact patches.

          There are many out there who don’t realize how much of a difference winter rubber makes during the frozen season. AWD doesn’t do a hell of a lot of good when you shoe your car with no-season rubber.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            The OEM Bridgestones are just terrible. It’s well-documented in the Subaru forums by the owners. Throw a dart on a list of all-season tires other than that tire and the performance of any of them is a huge improvement. I replaced mine with some Michelin all season Primacys from Costco. It handled the hilly neighborhood roads very well, whereas I managed 3 donuts with the OEM tires on the same road.

      • 0 avatar
        rockets

        The Subaru system beats Honda’s hands down, comparing the ’15 Forester to my ’05 Element in the dry and wet. No complaints with the interior nor CVT either.

      • 0 avatar
        vwgolf420

        That no Subarus in the South thing is changing. I live in a regentrified inner city neighborhood in Birmingham, AL, and as couples have children, the Jettas, Civics, and 3s are being replaced with Outbacks and Foresters at a rate that would make a Boulder County, CO Subie dealership salivate.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Tell you what, I was always amazed how much room there was in the 97 Impreza L wagon I had. Folding the seats was a 5 second job, and then boom – tons of cargo can now fit.

        Just the rattly engine and crummy trim, and 20mpg from a tiny 4-cyl econobox that got to me. Oh and CV joints. And weak AC. It got hot in there because of all the glass (which I enjoyed for the visibility).

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah. And a rabid fan base that has grown for some 25 straight quarters. So that fan base is growing, growing, growing. But, that’s the thing about rabies – it spreads.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      The interior of the new Outback is actually really nice, and completely makes up for previous generations of bad Subaru interiors.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    And again, a potential replacement for my ’04 Passat Wagon comes up, and is found wanting.

    Why, oh why, after ten years of development, even the creme-de-la-creme in mainstream CUV’s can offer little more than some additional ground clearance vs. the B5.5 VW wagon released in 2001? (Okay, and reliability that’s not pathetic.) Cargo space? Smaller. Driving dynamics? Poorer. Power? Only up 4HP in the 4-cyl Outback vs. the 1.8T B5.5, with a much-inferior torque curve. (The B5.5 had AWD avail. as an option; even with a manual transmission if you so chose.)

    Was the B5.5 wagon THAT good, or is it just THAT hard to make a CUV that is as good as a roughly-equivalent wagon? You’d think after 13 years of development, somebody could figure it out.

    My B5.5 1.8T M/T wagon just hit 135k, and needs suspension work, some interior touch-ups, and new tires. I’d just trade it in for nearly nothing and replace it with a new car if I could find one that was actually any better. (And I can do every bit of “refreshing” the car needs for the cost of just a tiny number of payments on a new car.)

    • 0 avatar
      jefmad

      The only real replacement for the B5.5 Passat wagon that I can see is the Volvo V60. Similar size. In front drive it has a 240 HP turbo 4 with an EPA 37 hwy. Nicer in every way I can see than the Passat.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You sound like one of the few people for whom an XC70 would be exactly the right choice.

      • 0 avatar
        salhany

        As am I. Bought my XC70 last year, it’s a fantastic vehicle without any of the crossover silliness the XC60 has.

        I like Outbacks, my wife has an ’07 with the 6 cyl and it’s an excellent car. Subarus tend to be honest cars: nothing too fancy, just reasonably reliable transportation with AWD. Just what we need here in Maine.

        • 0 avatar

          Can you provide more deets on your XC70 experience salhany? Year? Powertrain? Reliability and/or issues.

          The current-gen XC70 (specifically the T6) has long been on my radar and is a top contender for my next vehicle, but user reviews are few and far between.

        • 0 avatar
          rockets

          My other sister in Oregon has the XC70…bought it over the Outback d/t “plushness” factor (her words). Anyways, she loves it, and it is a tank with snows on in the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      There are worse problems than having a paid for car that you still love.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      Try a CPO third gen RAV4. Please get one with cloth seats, as the leather ones are terrible (my mom has one with leather, makes my sister’s Rogue feel like going from a school chair to a mattress).

      Fold the second row down, and you can fit a 55 inch flat screen TV. This is with the front seats all the way back. Behind the second row, a lot of cargo can be stored, much more than the Rogue. Not to mention you get Toyota reliability. Though the five speed automatic is nice, the four-cylinder/front-wheel-drive combo will be good enough.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        A RAV4 is a strange recommendation for someone who appears to value driving dynamics.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Another thing to note, the third gen Rav4s have terribly uncomfortable seats for anyone larger than the average soccer mom. Too narrow, too short. The 4th gens are much the same unfortunately. European cars in general seem to be engineered for taller people, seat comfort wise (rear legroom is a different story).

  • avatar
    mcs

    >> . And yes, by the Outback’s format, I really mean the AMC Eagle’s format.

    Which you really mean the 1975 Subaru Leone Wagon’s format. The Eagle didn’t make it’s appearance until 1979.

    • 0 avatar

      When I was 14 I would get mad every time Paul Hogan called the Outback “The worlds first sport-utility wagon”. What about that AMC with the wood paneling I always saw at the grocery store? I didn’t get that angry at a commercial until much later, when Brook Shields started talking about the Routans “German engineering”.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The Eagle was standard AWD, the Leone was not.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    ” American-waistline-oriented seats”
    Is anybody else as frigging tired of this nasty anti American cliché remark?
    I mean, get over your imaginary skinny ass self glorified lives, people! You lives are just as screwed up as the rest of ours.
    Please get over yourselves already.

    As to the review…I understand the real world MPG. It is rare any cars get what the sticker claims. My new Escape 20. ecoboost is steady at 25.6 with 60/40 rural/city. It seems weird after each drive my wife takes the MPG drops by 3 points. I drive the very same routes and it goes back and perhaps would continue IF I were to be the only driver. I wonder what in hell she is doing!!!

    Having tested the Subies against the Escape I was pretty unimpressed with the 6 of the Outback since it gave less power and used more gas than the ecoboost. The Forester was nice but I was totally turned off by the rareness of dealership availability everywhere. There were only a few places available. Plus the insides were silly black plastic everywhere. I kept scratching the door getting in and out with by shoes! This would soon present a nasty dirty door over time.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I’m running right around the same mileage as you in the base Escape. Over the last 3700 miles my tracked mileage is running about 25.5, and my last tank was 29.92. When a vehicle this big can beat just about ever car that I’ve ever had, I’m happy.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        mine is not the base…it is a step up. the first level you can get the 2.0 ecoboost.
        I paid approx. 26K….not bad.
        And FWD only.
        So I am sort of happy with the overall 240 HPower MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Sadly the statistics don’t lie. Manufacturers will build for the mass and non US waistlines will mock. The truth hurts and if you don’t like it work on creating a slimmer truth.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        um…stats.
        Yes…gotta love those stats. Except they are imaginary, friend. How in truth can anybody actually measure the waste lines of a nation? This whole fantasy is a made up media bias.
        And you and others love the attack. Perhaps you are American and simply suffer the quilt from your early Catholic years. I wouldn’t doubt you feel horrible about every fat piece of beef, use of your air conditioner or cable TV knowing that so much of the world goes without.
        So indulge yourself by a good self flagellation. Perhaps you can give more money to a cause. Even buy a hybrid to offset your airplane carbon footprint from your last vacation.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The thing is I bet a very obese person would be more comfortable in something like a Panther, New Yorker, or Electra than just about any 2014 car.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      ” It seems weird after each drive my wife takes the MPG drops by 3 points.”

      Well, I reckon she’s using the turbo more than you are.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey! I’m an American. I don’t think that’s a nasty comment. Just an accurate one. Nor do I believe that girth confers a screwed up life. It’s just girth.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @TrailerTrash,
      Boy, aren’t we touchy.

      Believe it or not I read somewhere that Mexico is now the fat capital of the world and the US is running in at a close second. So, you are not number one!

      It is true that there are a lot of fat f4cks in the USA compared to many countries globally. Even here in Australia we are becoming fat f4cks.

      Geez, America is good at something and you complain!

  • avatar
    Flat6

    Interesting nesting of the Audio/Infotainment from Subaru between Mazda 3 and Chrysler U Connect since configurations of all 3 are made by the same company. Panasonic.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    “…reining in the aggressive throttle tip-in…”

    Well, that’s disappointing that it’s still a problem. My parents’ Forester CVT has this problem as well: A gentle press on the accelerator, and the car barely wheezes forward; press just a little more, and the car lunges forward with the revs surging. You never get completely used to it. Drives me f*cking nuts.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Thanks for the review. It’s always good to hear another point of view on a vehicle I’m interested in.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    Loved my ’05 Outback. Miss it everyday. One day soon though I’ll have to buy used to get my MT back.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I would be driving a Subaru today if it wasn’t for their insistence on making seats with insanely short seat cushions, what’s with that? I’m aching all over after a few hours of sitting in one. Otherwise I think they’re a great combination of utility, useful ground clearance with an excellent AWD system, and good car-like dynamics and fuel economy. Oh and they tend to resist the rising belt line phenomenon, extra kudos for that!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Thanks for the real-life pictures of the interior. I was waiting to see whether the new Legacy/Outback would actually have class-competitive interior build quality. Looks like it doesn’t. It’s improved, but remains a couple of generations behind the competition.

    Too bad. The interior quality and the 4-speed auto are the only two real pain points on my Forester, and they solved the 4-speed auto (yes, the CVT is much better, particularly with the turbo).

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I agree, dal20402. When I looked over the last-gen Legacy at the auto show, I was absolutely appalled at the interiors. Not just the cheap fake wood and hollow plastics, but the horrendous craftsmanship of the seat fabric, puckering in multiple places with seams that didn’t even line up with the shapes underneath them.

      The previous-gen Legacy didn’t have this problem. Virtually no other modern car I’ve seen has this problem, certainly not to anything resembling this extent. I couldn’t imagine a Japanese management team in particular thinking this wouldn’t be a problem. This isn’t a matter of being “generations behind.” I can’t remember any other generation of any popular car in recent years that had this, either. For me, it’s an absolute deal-breaker.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        My Subaru has poor-quality materials throughout, but the craftsmanship is acceptable and there are no defects. I hope the Legacy you looked at was an outlier.

        I think the 2015 Outback interior pictured above looks about on par, materials-wise, with Honda products circa 2002 or GM products circa 2005.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          My ’13 Limited has a more than adequate interior trim out – the plastics and leather are very durable.

          I sat in a ’15 Limited this weekend and it seems more cohesive visually, with plusher materials used. Not to Volvo levels of course…

  • avatar
    nickoo

    On the 200 hp. The boxer has more power than the peak hp suggests if you compare torque curves. The lower rpm redline masks that.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “And yes, by the Outback’s format, I really mean the AMC Eagle’s format.”

    Honestly the old Impreza 5 door tells us what a stretched Pacer would have looked like with more doors.

    Subaru, Japanese AMC equivalents, mostly built in Indiana.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    For me Subaru’s are about well engineered cars with an excellent full time AWD system and a low center of gravity. The interiors are all about practicality and not about style or premium feel.
    To that end the vehicles do offer a sometimes misunderstood honesty and under the skin excellence that is hard to beat.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    As the owner of an ’11 Outback, I am very interested in the new car.

    I like the bolstering of the seats very well on mine. The new engine should be a definite improvement and the interior looks nicer as well.

    I know the ’14 has a firmer suspension than the ’11. I probably won’t be upgrading any time soon, my car’s soft ride is one of my favorite things about it.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Mandalorian – I had 2 ’11 Outback Premiums. I wasn’t really happy with the rear suspension (stability on windy days in flat Western Ohio). SubaruPartsOnline sells a 19mm rear stabilizer bar for the STI that fit to replace the original 15mm bar. Cost $100, installed in about 20 minutes. Night-and-day difference; no more lane wander and corners flatter than h3ll. Traded one of the ’11s for a ’14 to get one of the last 6MT’s. Suspension was somewhat firmer (16mm rear stabilizer bar IIRC) but still needed the STI 19mm bar upgrade. I need to go drive one of the ’15s to see if they show improvement.

      • 0 avatar

        The single best way to improve the handling of an Outback is to replace the pedestrian original equipment tires with something that is 4-season and VR-rated.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The best way to destroy the handling of any car is to put no-season tires on it. By definition they are tires that don’t do anything particularly well and their suitability for use in snow is gone after the first 20-25% of tread wear. Dedicated summer and winter tires are the only way to go if you live in an area where you normally see temps in the 40’s or below in the winter. If you don’t see that then summer tires year round are the way to go.

          In general though the best thing you can do with a new car is to get new tires as soon as you get it home, particularly if you buy a Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            “Dedicated summer and winter tires are the only way to go if you live in an area where you normally see temps in the 40′s or below in the winter. If you don’t see that then summer tires year round are the way to go.”

            While I’m a fan of seasonal tires, I can make a case for no-season tires if you live in an area with no winter. Summer tires tend to be louder and wear out faster than all season tires. While the additional grip of a good summer tire is nice (especially for braking), high-performance no-seasons are plenty sticky for commuting and the occasional spirited on/off ramp.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I can’t wait to see how the handling on my FXT improves when I ditch the awful Geolandars. Unfortunately I’m too cheap to get rid of them before they are at least mostly worn out, and the #($*% things are proving incredibly durable. 17,500 miles so far and they look like new.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Agree on the tires. I have Pirelli Somethings on it now (one of the originals got a massive unpatchable flat). BIG difference.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Outback is was actually named after the Australian Outback, where I live.

    I don’t many Outbacks out here. Wonder why?

    It’s an urban machine that is best on the tar.

    But the Outback name was given because of it’s AWD drivetrain.

    The Legacy or as we call them here Liberty is a good car.

    My brother in-law had an early 90s Outback with a 3 litre flat six. It went okay, but it just didn’t have much torque down low. So for an ‘off road’ slated vehicle this didn’t bide well in my mind.

  • avatar
    donutguy

    We’ve had either a Legacy wagon or an Outback since 1990. We currently have a 2007 and our daughter just bought a 2014 after her 2001 Outback was rear-ended.

    She actually uses hers like they do in the commercials…she and her husband go up dirt roads and trails to get to rock climbing trails.

    It just kills me to see a brand new car with tree branch scratches down both sides of it, but she uses it like it was intended to be used.

  • avatar
    stuki

    No manual in the US, even for the 4 cylinder……? :( That’s just, how should I put it? Depressing. No matter the reasoning behind it.

  • avatar
    JD321

    “no vibration seeps through the pedals or wheel or shifter….”

    Whaaaat!!! You mean they ruined it!!!

    Needs direct injection and better quality paint. These things are getting 34 MPG highway at 65 MPH. Throttle tip-in is friggin annoying. 0-60 in 9 seconds is barely tolerable.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I told my friend that I was going to sell my Camaro and am thinking of getting an Outback.

    He said “Well, at least get the turbo”.

    I said “Yeah, that’s the way to go. Oh wait…”

    Put the turbo in it, Subaru! Lighter, faster, better mileage than that six.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I went and test drove a 2015 2.5 Limited yesterday. Nice car, impressive in many ways. But it couldn’t get out of it’s own way. It feels like it has a bowel blockage trying to push from 20-30 mph. I’m pretty sure that I could out-accelerate it on my bicycle. I complained to the salesman and he showed me how to put it into manual mode, which helped. But I would be doing this every time I pulled out of a parking lot and into a boulevard. Bear in mind, I have a 2006 Forester with the 2.5 and I think that has plenty of power, it’s light on it’s feet and can be fun. Of course if I want more power I can buy the $35,000 3.6 Limited (yeah, I’m a baron and want a moonroof and floor mats).

    I thought that this was the car I wanted but it’s back to the drawing board.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I recently had a 2014 rental in Colorado. (I think it was a 2014.) Nice car, looks good, and I can see why to have one. Good clearance and it sits up well and was great on dirt roads!

    The interior at least for the rental was basic. Not a lot of power (however it was Colorado), but the mpg was impressive. I made the mistake of paying for the full tank and I had a hell of time trying to empty it over a three-day weekend.

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