2015 Subaru Outback Limited: Subaru love, baby!

18 Dec 2014 | 1,732 views | No Comment
Subarus can be intriguing to categorize. Take the Impreza for instance. Imprezas are compacts with a lot of capability. But they are way more sporty to drive than other compacts. And of course, its flagship, the WRX/WRX STi is one of the world's most desirable high performance compact sedan, so it doesn't seem quite right to simply categorize the Impreza as just another compact. Then there is the Outback, the subject of today's review. .They may be family haulers, but these Outbacks are so well-turned out and fabulously appointed that we are instead inclined to see them as inexpensive luxury wagons, not merely workaday family haulers. And at least as far as my home territory of Pittsburgh is concerned, I would suggest that they have replaced the Volvo wagon as the ride of choice for upscale families living in trendy Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  In any case, price aside, they are at the top of the cache feeding chain for automobiles here. Certainly, the 2015 Outback makes that argument for us quite well. It is a solidly built wagon, that is as quiet as can be, handles gracefully  and capably. One sign of a  true luxury car is refinement and details galore---and the 2016 Outback is finished off to the enth degree. For instance Subaru finished off and carpeted the space between the seats and the console, as well as installing the seats in such a way that it is almost impossible to drop things and watch them disappear into between the seats oblivion. Another nice touch there are no loud, jarring buzzers or bells to jangle the nerves about putting on seatbelts or turning off lights if you haven't chosen to use the automatic headlights off feature. Instead there are soft, almost soothing melodious chimes instead. And no longer will you hunt in vain for the trip reset button; There is a nice, discreet button on the lower left half of the dashboard to do that. Our tester was a light olive green Limited wagon, powered by a 256 horsepower. flat six cylinder engine.. There are lots of new features on the  Outback for 2015, too. They includes  actuated torque vectoring, and that mysterious looking black button on the console is something called "x mode,"which allows the car  to recalibrate traction control, and the  CVT transmission, for instance. It engages the hill descent control. And that helps you drive better if you hit slippery roads or if you are dealing with rugged terrain.   The Outback 3.6 R Limited that we drove had a base price of  #32,995. Adding options like a Moonroof Package, keyless access and push button start and navigation helped bring the final price to $36,040. For 2015 the Outback has an all new platform, and Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive and Lineartronic  CVT. A new feature is standard Active Torque Vectoring and electric power steering, all aimed at giving the Outback even more roadability than it already possessed.  The company also made some extensive revision inside and out such as acoustic windshield and liquid-filled engine mounts.  There's also been a big increase in soft touch materials inside the Outback. The accommodations are pretty roomy inside, too.  There's 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space, and interior volume has jumped to 108.1 cubic feet. And as you look around inside, you will notice that there's an all-new infotainment system that includes standard touch screen display and a high resolution backup camera--and that's all standard equipment across the Outback lineup. Oh yes, one more thing. The new Outback has 8.7 inches of ground clearance--plenty of room for some pretty adventurous off-roading. Our tester was powered by a 256 horsepower Boxer six cylinder engine that got 20/27  miles per gallon, 22 combined. If you want more gas mileage from your Outback, Subaru has you covered.  They offer a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on the 2.5 models, generating 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It is matched to a CVT and returns 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway). If the Limited is too pricey for you remember that Subaru has a number of other Outbacks that also represent good value. Prices start at $24,895: The base 2.5i comes with 17-inch steel wheels, roof rack rails with fold-out crossbars, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.2-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera and a four-speaker sound system with smartphone integration, HD radio, a CD player and an iPod/USB audio interface. The 2.5i Premium model has all of the base car's equipment, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded gauge cluster, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a cargo cover and an upgraded six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and a 7-inch touchscreen interface. Stepping up to the 2.5i Limited adds 18-inch alloy wheels, active foglights (these turn with the front wheels), a front skid plate, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery, driver memory settings, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, wood trim and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The 3.6R Limited comes with a six-cylinder engine and all of the features of the 2.5i Limited, as well as xenon headlights. You also can get some the features offered on the Limited  installed on one of the lower level trims for the Outback. Some of the upper trims' features are available on the lower trims as options. Some of the options include a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system, keyless entry and ignition and Subaru's EyeSight driver assist system (includes the blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert systems, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system and a collision-warning and -mitigation system with brake intervention). All-wheel drive, hill descent control and hill start assist is standard on all Outbacks, as are hill descent control and hill start assist are all standard on the Outback by the way. The warranty on the Outback covers  the car for 3 years and/or 36,000 miles. We really could find nothing to fault the Outback, and it remains a sensible option for anyone who has a family and enjoys the outdoors--or any young family period.  

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