By on February 13, 2015

2015 Subaru Outback side

The SUV craze of the 1990s caught Subaru by surprise. The company simply did not have a product that everyone wanted. The North American division of Fuji Heavy Industries had no choice but to play the cards they were dealt.  The engineers looked into the VW Golf Country 4×4 for inspiration, then took a Legacy wagon and lifted it, added some molding, big fog lights with mesh screens, and a roof rack. The marketing people ingeniously called it the Outback and hired the best known Aussie in America, Paul Hogan, to promote it.

The results of this marketing brilliance were sales that exceeded expectations, possibly saving the company. The Outback was such a huge hit Volvo and Audi followed suit and jacked up their own wagons, creating the Cross Country XC and the allroad quattro.  At the 2014 New York International Auto Show, with yours truly in attendance, two models first dressed as vegan organic French-press coffee drinking hipster hikers, and later as that blissfully ignorant well-dressed couple that every thirty year old yuppie think they will always be, unveiled the fifth generation of the Outback.

2015 Subaru Outback front

Three inches taller, four inches longer, and five inches wider than the original, the new Outback is the same as the old Outback. Some found the styling of the new car lacking originality. Those are the same people who would have complained that Subaru killed a great product had the Outback looked any different. I was never a fan of the previous generation Legacy/Outback, so I found the new, dare I say more generic, look rather refreshing.

But Subarus have never been about looks. In fact I would go so far as to the say that most Subaru cars have been ugly in a cute way, sort of like a Pug or a Bulldog. Subarus have always been about functionality, reliability, all-weather traction, and price. The new Outback continues these traditions placing function over form and cost over perceived opulence. From the outside, the two-tone scheme of the original has been reduced, the fog lights got smaller, and the roof rack more pronounced but the two-box shape on stilts cannot be mistaken for anything other than an Outback.

2015 Subaru Outback interior frotn details

Inside, functionality and simplicity triumphs, but its quality has significantly improved over the previous generations. The infotainment system is much improved, it is now easier to see, and simpler to use and set up. The test vehicle did not have a navigational system, but controlling the radio, phone, and auxiliary input devices is similar to using a Windows tablet. In the front of the center console is an auxiliary audio input and two USB ports (that’s two more than Audi). The audio system did sound pretty good, too, for what is essentially a base vehicle. Looking from inside out, at night, the headlights are not overly bright given the recent technical advances in headlight technology.

Dual zone climate controls are equally simple to use, but there are no vents for rear passengers. There are cup-holders in the center console, bottle holders in the doors, big door pockets, sunglass holder on the roof, a simple covered cubby for phones, and a large glove box. It’s these little things that make daily life easy and it’s amazing how many automakers cannot get that right (I’m looking at you Range Rover). Nothing is perfect, however, and my eight year old daughter, who reads a dozen books a week, completely wrote the Outback off for not having reading lights for rear passengers.

The front seats are comfortable, but the headrests could use a rake adjustment and bottom cushions could be longer. Someone at Subaru finally figured out that heated seat buttons are invisible when they are located under the center armrest and moved them to climate control panel. The rear bench is wide with plenty of leg and head room. The seatback is split 60:40, but there is no center pass-thru, so skiers with more than two rear passengers have to use the meaty-looking roof rack. That roof rack itself is functional, too, with standard cross-bars that slide and fold into the rails when not in use. There are also four tie down loops which can secure up to 150 pounds of cargo.

2015 Subaru Outback details

With high ground clearance and a high center of gravity, Subaru did not intend to make a driver’s car out of the Outback. The 2.5-liter pancake engine also won’t impress anyone with its 175hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. Worse, this engine is attached to a continuously variable transmission. This powertrain combination makes buzzy and whiney noises turning an otherwise quiet cabin into a noisy one. For that noise buyers are rewarded with fuel economy of 25mpg in the city and 33mpg on the highway, which was once considered excellent for a small econobox. Despite all that, the Outback somehow manages not to be a soulless appliance and is somewhat fun to drive. Perhaps it’s the car-like seating position and the jacked-up ride height, along with suspension tuned to nicely absorb the winter ridden roads, that create the feeling of being a rally driver.

Subaru makes a big deal of their AWD system, so it was a nice coincidence that the Northeast got hit with a big snow storm while the Outback was in my possession. It is common knowledge that tires are the most important thing in winter driving but this car was equipped with a set mediocre Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport. Automakers like to use these tires because they are cheap, quiet, comfortable, and last long. I have personally had some bad experiences with these tires, so I was very cautions driving the Outback in the snow. To my surprise, the big wagon proved capable; granted the snow was packed and it wasn’t deep. In an empty lot near my work I turned the hoon knob up a little and even then, with stability control off, the vehicle stayed totally composed and controllable. There is a good reason why New England and Denver are Subaru’s biggest markets – with a proper set of snow tires this would be an amazing winter vehicle.

2015 Subaru Outback rear hatch open

The test vehicle was equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight system, which is optional on all but the base Outback. The system works off two cameras mounted between the rear view mirror and the windshield. The system is able to detect speed differentials, brake lights, pedestrians, and bicycles. It has the ability to cut power, apply brakes, and bring the vehicle to a complete stop, if not avoiding an accident completely, than at least minimizing the impact. It tells those who bury their heads into their phones at traffic lights that the vehicle in front has moved. When reversing, it calmly alerts you that a vehicle is coming from the side. The whole system can be fully disabled for those with mad driving skillz, but for the majority of buyers this is a no-brainer option – it can protect the not only vehicle occupants but everyone else on the road, too, and will likely repay for itself in the first near-hit.

The base Outback, steel wheels and all, starts at about $26,045. The 2.5i Premium model seen here starts at $27,295. EyeSight with power tailgate package is $1695, mirror compass is $199, and rubber floor mats are a bargain at $72. For some reason Subaru charges a mandatory $300 for the vehicle to meet the Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standard. Total price, with destination charges, is a very reasonable $30,111. Other options on the 2.5i Premium are sunroof and a nav system. Limited model comes with leather and the 3.5R Limited has more powah!

For thirty grand, the mid-level Outback gives you large SUV functionality, solid reliability, and all-weather traction while not looking like a cookie-cutter CRA-V4. Fun-to-drive factor, latest and greatest safety systems, and good gas mileage are the icing on this frosty cake. I was surprised by home much I liked this Outback and I would put it high on my shopping list of two-row SUV-ish vehicles, along with the Grand Cherokee and the 4Runner.

2015 Subaru Outback rear

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. He is known to enjoy organic coffee made in a French press, day hikes, and nights out on the town. He has yet to find one ideal vehicle for all those activities.

Subaru of America, Inc. provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review. 

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95 Comments on “Review: 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium...”


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I remember those Paul Hogan ads. They were simply brilliant in both their simplicity and the rugged message they conveyed.

    Of course, the vehicle itself was capable. The rest is, as they say, history.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I like these, as well as the Forester since it still has the 6 speed manual. But oil consumption seems to be a real issue. My current 2006 Toyota Sienna uses no oil between 5k oil changes with 125,000 and counting. No way would I stand for adding 1 quart of oil every 1000-1500 miles. Maybe this has been addressed in the new models.

    • 0 avatar
      Mathias

      The 2014 model was the last of the manual Outbacks for the US. I special-ordered a 2014 last year. Canadians can still get the 6MT, though.
      I agree with this review; there’s nothing special about the car aside from the AWD, but it grows on you. Very pleasant to own in an old-fashioned way.
      No way will the EPA mpg numbers be borne out in the real world. For it’s size and weight, though, it’s pretty good.

      As far as oil consumption is concerned, I only have 6k miles on mine and haven’t noticed any. If I have to add a quart between changes, I don’t see the problem. 0W20 is slippery stuff..

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        Mathias, what are your impressions of the gear shifter and the clutch? I understand Subaru is no S2000, but how predictable are your shifts? Thinking about getting a 6MT Outback but would hate for the shifter to be notchy, and for the clutch engagement point to be vague.

        • 0 avatar
          Mathias

          The clutch is fine, substantial but not too heavy, with good engagement… I taught my 15-year-old daughter to drive stick on this car, and she seems to have no trouble modulating it. Which is saying something, since first gear is rather tall, so if you need to scoot from a stop, you need to slip the clutch a bit.

          The shifter is OK, not great. Better than my Pontiac Vibes [1st gen], def. better than my dad’s old 1980 Benz [W123] 4speed. Not as good as any Honda I’ve ever driven. It’s a little notchy, but I don’t really notice anything amiss.

          The Vibe’s shifter, by comparison, was described by Car & Driver as “A golf club stuck in a bucket full of tennis balls.” I’d occasionally miss a shift & grind gears on that car because I failed to hit the right gate. Never happens in the Subie.

          Cheers -Mathias

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “there is no center pass-thru, so skiers with more than two rear passengers have to use the meaty-looking roof rack”

    You probably meant just two. The pass-through won’t help if you have more than two rear passengers.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Eyesight appears to work well: “In the 25 mph IIHS test, this vehicle avoided a collision.”

    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/subaru/outback

    Just asked our State Farm rep, they don’t offer a discount for Eyesight.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    Hey funnyman, Audi is putting in two USB ports starting with the 2016 A6/A7 that are sitting at the ports so you can retire that tired old joke.

  • avatar
    PJmacgee

    “the vehicle stayed totally composed and controllable…with a proper set of snow tires this would be an amazing winter vehicle.”

    True. Subaru AWD really cannot be beat in snow and ice. For instance, I have been disappointed by my xDrive which pales in comparison for stability in snow (a trade-off for more “liveliness”?). The 2013 Outback I spent time in drove very nicely, drives like a solid/planted car that also happened to have 8.5″ of ground clearance and squishy tires. But the steering was weird, no weighting, would not naturally return to center after a turn. Also, I love CVTs but this particular Subaru 2.5 just doesn’t make nice sounds past about 2500rpm.

    I scoffed at EyeSight (and all active cruise) at first, but now I get it, would be super nice for long interstate travel and stop-and-go. The physical hardware is a little clunky and intrusive in the Outback though, it’s a big lump of stuff around the rear view mirror area, can get confused by mist/crap on the windshield.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t experienced it getting confused. Subaru says that this is Ver.2.0, with smaller packaging.

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      I scoffed at active cruise as well until I owned a car that had it. Now I will never again own a car without it. It is that good.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What is active cruise?

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I hurried and got a last-run 2013 Outback Special Appearance package because the ’14 SAP version had Eyesight mandatory and I didn’t want it. I regret that now…

        I so want to test drive the ’15 and experience the differences from my ’13, but I know I’d be very tempted to upgrade. Completely out of character for me since I keep my cars 10-12 years.

        FWIW the 2.5 has served me just fine in my 33k+ mile travels; my daily commute includes speeds >80 mph in the Houston Gran Prix. Once you get used to the motorboat-like action of the CVT, you forget you have one.

        • 0 avatar
          PJmacgee

          33hwy and 25city is very impressive for sure, this is a large vehicle with full-time AWD after all! Agreed that in most driving the engine is unobtrusive, and it cruises at high speed like a boss (like all CVTs and 8+ speed transmissions). It’s just not an aural pleasure to floor it, that’s all I’m saying.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I’m a cheap date, so to be honest I haven’t noticed or it hasn’t offended my senses.

            My mpg has been disappointing (26-27 avg), but I don’t really concentrate on coaxing the best out of it.

  • avatar
    david42

    Serious question: what are the “recent technical advances in headlight technology”? I assume Kamil doesn’t expect LEDs headlights on a base Outback. (Though props to Toyota for making them standard on nearly all Corollas.)

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve seen LED conversion kits for some bulb types for $90.00.

      https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/led-headlight-bulbs-conversion-kits/

      • 0 avatar

        A single LED bulb cannot reproduce the omni directional light of an incandescent filament that the reflector was designed for. If you put those into a regular housing not designed for them, they just throw light everywhere you don’t want it, and not where you do. (i tried a pair on my motorcycle, they were terrible)

        That said, the headlights on my 2014 Crosstrek aren’t as good as the HID’s in my BMW, but they’re not bad either.

    • 0 avatar

      Right, outside of HID and LED lights, automakers have developed more controlled beam pattern, light temp/color, intensity, cut-off, mainstream applications of lights that swivel when turning, etc.
      Most of that stuff wasn’t around ten years ago. The Outback headlights looked like halogens on my old Integra.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    I just drove a 2015 Outback Limited and it did have rear air vents right behind front center console.

    • 0 avatar

      I did some digging around. This vehicle def did not have rear vents, you can even see a cubby hole in their place.
      A pic on Subaru’s media site clearly shows rear vents and heated rear seat buttons. Heated rear seats are standard on Limited models, and the vents probably go along with them.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Yes, it’s a Limited package item.

        Surprised that there aren’t cooled seats yet, since the upper reaches of the Outback 3.5 hit $35-37k…

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah, for that amount of money you’re in Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 country; and with a Pentastar 3.6L V6 and decent 8-speed step-automatic instead of a CVT.

          My best friend has a 2012 JGC and it is a lot more SUV/CUV than an Outback.

          The Subies are all great vehicles but pretentious if they think they can compete head-to-head with a Grand Cherokee.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            1. I’m not sure Subaru or Outback owners are comparative shopping JGC. I didn’t – my final four were the Q5, XC70, and CR-V AWD. Not that there was anything wrong with the JGC..they’re great..just not what I wanted.

            2. The Outback 3.6 will be a hella better equipped when comparatively priced with the Jeep. Apples and oranges though. The Jeep certainly would serve off-trail better.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            The Outback won’t spend 3-4 weeks a year at the dealer. I’m still pissed at my old Liberty, with the rear window’s falling down, engine burning oil at 33k miles, and the transmission slipping after 2 years. Yes it was spent 3 weeks the first year and 54weeks the second year at the dealer, trying to fix the poorly engineered and built vehicle. Friend at work had a 2008 Grand Cherokee with blown engine seals at 102k miles. Crappy engineered engine, but the front seats were awesome.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            4 weeks the second year.

          • 0 avatar
            mr breeze

            How does it not stack up against a JGC, especially when the transmissions don’t work? Have you driven both?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Subarus have always been about reliability?

    When Subaru stops making boxer engines as their sole offering, I’ll consider one.

    I miss the days when they offered FWD with an I4 engine.

    • 0 avatar
      PJmacgee

      They are “always about reliability” in the senses that:

      1)they aren’t known to experience weird electrical issues or instant/catastrophic mechanical failures (slow-developing head gasket leaks and baked&cracked CV boots don’t leave you stranded unless you’ve been negligent for a long time).

      2)no matter the weather or road conditions, you can rely on them to get you where you’re going.

    • 0 avatar
      Bokonon

      I’ve never understood Subaru’s reputation for reliability. My wife and I owned a horribly unreliable one (2000 model year Outback wagon). It had tons of problems. A number of our friends have had similar issues with their Subarus suffering head gasket failures, oil leaks, electrical glitches, etc.

      When we traded our Outback in for a Hyundai Santa Fe, the dealership took our old car for a pretty reasonable trade-in price (since we are in Colorado – there is lots of demand). The dealer did this with knowing smile about the need for a new head gasket and engine main seal. “Yeah, we see a lot of this … people still buy these cars” the dealership said. And sure enough, there was a line of newly traded (and repaired) Subaru Outbacks in the Hyundai dealer’s used car lot, all next to each other. And the used Subarus sold to new owners very quickly.

      Perhaps some of these quality and engineering issues have improved. I’ve heard the head gasket problem isn’t the issue it used to be on Subaru’s newer cars. We will see.

      But perhaps where it comes to reliability Subaru enthusiasts are also willing to forgive (because they like the car, and FEEL that it is reliable even if it really is not really that good, in real terms, compared with other brands).

      • 0 avatar
        rustyra24

        Subaru reliability is created by the consumer. I search craigslist list and and am never surprised when I see a nice Subaru with engine replaced at 45K.

        I think the NA cars and 3.0 liter engines are pretty reliable on newer models. Stay away from all the turbo models except the old 2.0 in the first WRX.

        We will see if the new WRX’s engine (FA20F) is more reliable than the EJ25.

      • 0 avatar
        PJmacgee

        I think the thing always in doubt with Subarus is their *durability* – are they durable? No, not really, certainly not mechanically (weird from a company with “Heavy Industry” in its name)

        Very few cars anymore are truly unreliable though, in the sense that they won’t start and now yer gonna be late for work. There are exceptions, like VAG products, “British” makes, or anything with a single/dry clutch AT – which will leave you stranded at any time, in limp-home mode etc, even within warranty period.

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          There are Subaru’s all over the place with 150k miles with now major engine issues. Yes they have issues. But, very few and far between compared to Jeep. How many Subaru’s have been recalled in the past 10 years? Compare that to Toyota or GM. Also look at crash test rating, Outback and Forester are pretty safe vehicles compared to Rav4, GM suv products.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Subaru appears to have tried to do some “engineering” during the head gasket issue period related to gasketing/sealing modifications. Obviously it didn’t work well. Volkswagen did similar “engineering” during the late ’60s to early ’70s; IIRC they reportedly changed the alloy in the crankcase castings (softer alloy) and suffered dislodged cylinder heads when the head studs pulled out of the softer crankcase (usually around the 60k to 70k mile point). This didn’t work well either. In the relatively thinly populated area of Southeast Idaho I personally saw 6 Type 1’s and 3 Type 2’s (none modified in anyway) have this occur. Way back then folks steered clear of ’69 to ’71 because of this. Helicoiling was a big business. From ’72 to the end the problem was apparently corrected by the manufacturer. I had more problems with head gaskets on Toyota 3S-GE and 4S-FE engines in Celicas; they seemed to stretch the head bolts.

    • 0 avatar
      Boxer2500

      As the owner of a 2006 Impreza 2.5i who spent >$2000 at the shop in the last 12 months, you’ll get no disagreement from me over Subaru’s undeserved reliability reputation. However, the engine issues you’re probably thinking of (head gaskets, spun bearings, piston slap) are unique to the now-defunct EJ25 (2.5l) rather than horizontally opposed (“boxer”) engines in general.

      Subaru has been using boxer engines in US models since the early ’70s. The older DL/GL models were powered by the EA engine family, which was known to regularly outlast the rest of car in which it was installed. Smaller displacement versions of the later EJ engine family also have a reputation for bulletproof-ness. Since 2012, the Legacy/Outback/Forester has used the FB engine family, which was a clean sheet design (in spite of its displacement/power output which is nearly identical to the problematic EJ25 it replaced). Supposedly the FB engines should hold up better, but I’d give it a few more years to know for sure before spending my own money on one.

      I’ve done some googling and can’t find evidence of Subaru ever offering I4 engines in the US. The closest they came was the I3 in the Justy.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      When did Subaru ever offer an I4? The Justy had an I3, but AFAIK they have never had anything but horizontally opposed 4s and 6s.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        KRhodes good catch I was wondering what he was on about.

        And what is it with FWD what magic reliability does that add…Subaru has been using the same trans tail section, simple center diff or electronic clutch, and good old ancient Hitachi R160 diff pretty much forever and those are among the most trouble free, reliable parts of the Subaru automobiles. Heck if the slush box Subie AWD breaks you just pull a fuse and it is FWD…reminds of that Mitch Hedberg joke about a broken escalator just becomes stairs…

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        subaru never offered an I4. At least not in North America.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    I’ll agree the seat bottoms are too short. I sat in an Outback for all of 15 seconds and my legs started bothering me. Sad thing is, the Sonata & Camry weren’t any better, but an Azera was WOW – fantastic seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      I have a 31″ inseam and find Subaru’s mainstream seats way too short as well. The BRZ proves that Subaru knows how to make a good seat, but they choose not to for Legacy and Forester. The Forester is far worse than Legacy/Outback and strange enough the seat bottom is longer on the smaller Impreza but the bolsters are flatter. I sold my 07 Outback in part because of the short seat.

      If Subaru put the BRZ seat in the Outback it would be our next family car, but it looks like the Rogue or CX-5 are the leading contenders now.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        The 2015 Outback has long bottom seat bottoms. I know because my wife can’t fit in the 2015 like the 2014. She is 4’10 and seat bottom hits the back of her calves on the 2015 model. Forester has shorter seat bottoms similar to to the 2014 Outback. Finding smaller lower seat cushions have been a challenge for us.

        • 0 avatar
          Albino Digits

          http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/best-cars-for-tall-or-short-drivers/index.htm

          CR lists the Outback and Forester as being good for shorter drivers. Maybe they are thinking of the older models.

    • 0 avatar
      Albino Digits

      I find all of these comments odd because my girlfriend preferred the seats and seating position in our 2015 Forester over all others, and she’s 5’10” with a 36″ inseam. I’, 5’10” with a 32″ inseam, and I find them to be comfortable although I wish they had larger bolsters.

      Have any of you with seat size complaints sat in a newly revised Subaru?

      • 0 avatar
        Speedygreg7

        Yes, I have. The Forester seats can best be described as stools. Short, high off the floor and with no side bolsters. The Forester XT is a very nice CUV and would fit my needs in all other ways. The seats kill it. The 2015 Legacy/Outback seat are indeed better than those of the 2010-2014 model. Still, they are too short and really the daily use low point of the car. Subaru should buy some Volvo or VW Passat seats and reverse engineer them. Seriously. They would sell at least one more car…to me.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Functionary??

  • avatar
    ldl20

    It’s funny you mention the fun-to-drive factor. As an owner of a 15′ Limited, I’ve taken a few exit/entrance ramps faster than most people buying this car (going in 10-20 mph faster than the suggested limit and not hitting the brakes), and it stays relatively neutral without too much lean. Granted, it doesn’t put a smile on my face like my old 2010 GTI, and it can get a bit loud when pressed, but that’s not what this car is about.

    For something with significantly more room than my departed Mazda6 wagon, I still get some fun, along with AWD, better fuel economy, and up-to-date gadgetry.

    It’s a shame about the seat cushions (i’m 6’3″ and wish it had BMW’s sport package seats with the thigh extender), but I can deal as the center console doesn’t intrude nearly as much as most other cars/trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      Based on my experience with a 2010 Limited, I would have to disagree. While diving under similar conditions, except at expected (or what would be considered to be normal, I think) on-ramp and off-ramp speeds, I very nearly lost control of the vehicle on a few occasions. I am an experienced driver. And, I was shocked. I would not recommend “trying this at home”.

      • 0 avatar
        Grahambo

        I think the explanation for your differing experiences is that Subaru tweaked the suspension for either the ’12 or ’13 model year, I forget which one. I do know my wife’s ’13 3.6R handles very well. It’s certainly not up to the standards of my 05 LGT or 944, but handles quite capably and confidently for what it is. I would imagine the. ’15s retain the improved suspension, based on the review and ldl20’s experience. Plus the backseat has been incredibly spacious ever since the 2010 model year. As much as many bemoan the loss of Subaru’s quirk and the corresponding increase in the size of their vehicles, my wife’s car has has been a great do everything and surprisingly fun family vehicle and it’s no surprise why Subaru is gaining market share.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Yes, anyone who thinks Subaru = reliable should check out the True Delta scores for Outbacks from 6 or 7 years ago. Not so good.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      They def had some issues in 2005, and I own a 2005 Outback that has had some issues.

      Looking at subsequent years they seem to have worked it out the true delta bars look ok.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Yes…and how come all of the true believers above never bring up issues such as this oil burning?

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/07/18/subaru-oil-burner-lawsuit/12859865/

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    Kamil, any comments on how the CVT behaves under different driving conditions, and how well is the paddle control executed?

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t use the paddles, I actually forgot that they were there. I also didn’t feel like I needed them at any point. The engine and transmission are responsive and they work very well in unison, but there just isn’t that much power… and it gets loud/buzzy, as stated.

    • 0 avatar
      PJmacgee

      When you’re just driving around, there is not much (any?) engine braking going on, because mpg. But this and all cars nowadays with CVT *do* use the engine very effectively – applying the precise revs needed – to maintain your speed down steep hills when you have cruise control set (and no clunky full-throttle downshifts when you get to the next uphill).

      • 0 avatar
        kuman

        as an owner of 2014 XV, all i can say is the engine chugs along calmly at 1200 rpm most of the time around town. so there is no such thing as engine braking anywhere within city speed.

        plus i kinda observe coasting like behaviours whenever i let go of the gas pedal

        But on downramp you can coerce the cvt to downshift to do a bit of engine braking, however i dont feel it to be much of an effect.

        Plus im worried about engine braking eating up my CVT cone, i mostly decelerate earlier and ease on the brake gently.

        on the upside, i’m almost on par with 1.5L engine for fuel consumption

        • 0 avatar
          mr breeze

          The crosstrek XV has the 2.0L FA engine where the new legacy outback and forester come standard with the 2.5L. They simulated shift points on the outback and the legacy for 2015, where the 2014 Forester CVT I own does not. Having driven both cars I don’t think there is a noticeable difference, although Motor Trend expressed a hostility towards the Outback CVT in their Car of The Year shootout.

          As far as CVT boxes go it’s pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        The only thing the CVT in my Altima did well was grade-logic, especially on the downhill. Because the 2.5 in the Nissan is rather obnoxious above 3000rpm (just like Subies boxer it seems) it could be a noisy downhill run though.

        But the 5 spd auto in my Mazda 5 is even better at, well, everything. It holds nicely on the uphills, drops down on the downhills and is responsive all the way around. Couldn’t ask for a better slushbox, just another 30 ponies.

  • avatar
    athos

    One of the very rear reviews who observes the stubbornly of Subaru to NOT offer at least a center pass true on the Outback, if not a 40/20/40 folding seat-back. Or really improved front seats.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I have a 2011 in my stable and had the chance to open up/touch/fondle/basically do everything but drive a 2015 Limited at the dealer last week.

    HUGE inprovement. I thought the older gen felt solid, the new one is like the President’s bunker. The interior is much improved though not luxury car grade.

    Great car

  • avatar
    7402

    “the headrests could use a rake adjustment”

    They’re adjustable, just tug it forward and it will settle into each of several ratchet points until you get it all the way forward and it snaps back.

    My neighbor has one of these; I got a Forester instead–spending less and getting a better vehicle.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    My friend just bought an ’07 Forester LL Bean, and I agree with the ugly-yet-cute looks. It reminds me of a Boxer (dog breed), which is fitting, since a boxer engine breathes behind that mug. Proud, trusty, no-nonsense. And the enormous sunroof reminds me of the Jurassic Park Explorers.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how amused I was that the ’07 SOUNDS exactly the same as her old ’98 Legacy. Like, EXACTLY the same. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; it isn’t as if Subaru switches up engines that often.

    I’ll also say that the CVT in the 2014 Impreza hatchback another friend bought is smooth and satisfying in its operation, at least for the couple who bought the car, which is all that really matters – along with the fact the back seat is big enough for them to mount a child seat in the center.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I never understood how the outback is bigger and more expensive than the Forrester. The Forrester is supposed to be the SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      The Outback (without the suspension lift) is the Legacy station wagon in markets outside the USDM. Here it is the same vehicle with a suspension-lift.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The Forrester is built on the Impreza chassis, the Outback is a Legacy. Slightly longer, wider and lower than the Forrester. It feels and drives more premium, which is reflected in its higher MSRP.

      With the new Outback somewhat scarce on the ground in certain trims, I’ve seen Forrester discounts up to $4000 since there’s plenty available.

      I do love the huge sunroof in the Forrester; that sucker and cooled seats should be available on the more premium Outback. Perhaps in the ’18 refresh…

  • avatar
    Toad

    Subaru: the Volvo of the 21st century. The buyers are the same demographic the bought Volvo’s in the late 20th century, and pretty much for the same reasons.

    Volvo’s, and now Subaru’s, are family trucksters that are somewhat interesting and ostensibly offbeat. They are somewhat reliable, capable, and not designed to be flashy. They signal that you have some intelligence and good taste but are not ostentatious.

    Throw in some sappy marketing (Love, It’s a Subaru) and you have the Whole Foods demographic eating out of your hand.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Wow, the 2.5 still only makes 175 horsepower? Subaru needs to up their game.

    Then again, not offering the turbo motor from the Forester makes zero sense.

  • avatar
    Power6

    It’s always interesting when you understand something from the other side… “Someone at Subaru finally figured out that heated seat buttons are invisible when they are located under the center armrest and moved them to climate control panel”

    It’s not like they didn’t know that, it is that Subaru builds cheap simple cars and previously the heated seats used simple switches with lots of wires going directly to the heating pads so between the seats on a console was the place to put the switches to save a few bucks.

    Now that they are expanding use of the CAN Bus more and like other makers have already done years ago, those switches are just points on the data network sending requests to the seat units to heat your butt, so they can put he switches anywhere…in fact a nice cheap way to do that is stick them on the climate unit which is already on the data bus…

    All to save a few cents here and there not really because anyone was stupid before and now has seen the light.

  • avatar
    AnotherMillenial

    My prehistoric ’99 Explorer is just an inch longer, an inch taller and 11 inches narrower than the Outback. The Outback has grown as cars have grown (my Explorer is pretty-much the size of the Escape), but it’s crazy how much the Subie has grown to keep up with the crossover trend it helped start.

    I live in New England and as you read this another blizzard is bearing down. Subaru, like Toyota reliability, the Nissan Maxima and VW quirk is dang near religion up here. It’s refreshing to see the 15’s in a sea of old Subaru wagons. The Volvo’s of the late ’90s/early 2000s have fallen out of style with the Whole Foods crowd in favor of premium CUVs, but these have not. That said, I see 4 Foresters for every Outback.

    I’ve always viewed the Outback as the car you buy when you’re honest with yourself. Fitting in with the Accord crowd isn’t solving your 2.5 kids and a dog family needs and that Highlander third row will never get used. Subarus are some of the few vehicles you see on the roads besides 4X4 trucks and SUVS after/during a storm, but maybe it’s a self-serving cycle. People buy Subarus for AWD, it snows, people go out in them with confidence, others see the car out in the snow, think it’s good for them, then buy Subarus for AWD and the cycle continues,

    It’s not for me, but it’s odd enthusiasts clamor for the return of the wagon when the Outback is the best Country Squire/Vista Cruiser 2015 offers this side of a Flex. Plus at $30K well-equipped it’s reasonable compared to an Allroad or XC70. It’s not perfect and it may be flawed, but it’s honest.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Currently in a 9-3 wagon and at some point in future will need to replace it. Have an X1 and to my surprise i like the slightly rAised suspension, gives one some clearance and its easier to get in and out with kids.

    Outback appears the logical choice but they really are missing an engine, the Saab 2T is a tremendous mill.

    So i’d be looking at the H6 in the top trim (sans extra safety doodads). Runs about $43k in Canada, is there anything else one would consider?

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    The wife and I had an 03 Legacy sedan. It was a decent car, very few issues in 4 years. It felt like 1995 inside though.

    The 4 spd auto wasn’t well suited to the car. Very wide gearing made the car rather pokey and any grade on the highway would cause it to downshift.

    But what killed me was the fuel mileage. The hills of Pittsburgh are not kind to any car in terms of fuel economy. Even driving conservatively, at least 2 mpg below the EPA rating (I know) in just about any vehicle I’ve owned.

    But the Subie was terrible, so much that I was sure something was wrong with it, though the dealer never found anything. 15-17mpg in town, 25 on the highway. Even twelve years ago, these were bad. Our giant ’14 Odyssey returns these numbers now, though it does have 6 gears and cylinder management.

    A friend of hers had an 02 Forester, which I’m pretty sure was the same drivetrain. It felt lively and didn’t return that bad fuel mileage. It also died at 105k. Another friend just had her 05 Forester die suddenly, about the same miles. Both of them took good care of their cars by all accounts.

    I don’t like the CVT, so no more Subies for us. And the above experiences.

    I liked the Subaru from around 05-09. The styling was clean, but anonymous. The interiors were much improved, though not as good as now. The model line-up probably the most desirable.


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