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Redesigned 2015 Subaru Outback is Bigger, More Efficient, More Capable

By: Jeff Youngs, 4/22/2014
Subaru introduced its redesigned 2015 Outback crossover SUV in the middle of the urban jungle at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Compared with the 2014 model, the new Outback is about the same size on the outside, bigger on the inside, and packed with new features designed to make it more capable, more fuel-efficient, more technologically advanced, and safer than ever.

Styling enhancements improve the wagon's aerodynamics to increase fuel economy, and a new aluminum hood reduces weight. Door-mounted side mirrors and new front-quarter glass improve outward visibility from what Subaru says is the roomiest interior it has ever offered for the Outback.

Occupants will find more room in all seating positions, combined with taller seating hip points for improved comfort. Standard welcome lighting helps passengers avoid mud and puddles when entering and exiting the vehicle, and once the 2015 Outback is underway, Subaru promises a quieter, more serene cabin featuring upgraded materials and added utility.

The new center console holds a tablet computer, and the doorsills serve as steps for securing loads on the Outback's roof. Behind the rear seats, the 2015 Outback provides 35.5 cu. ft. of cargo space. Fold the seats down to access 73.3 cu. ft. of volume. A new power tailgate with a memory height feature is optional.

All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard, the Active Torque Split AWD system enhanced for 2015. Incline Start Assist is new, along with an X-Mode that better manages power distribution and, when activated, engages the new hill-descent control system. The 2015 Subaru Outback still provides 8.7 in. of ground clearance.

The Outback 2.5i model is equipped with a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, now with a broader spread of torque across the rev range and an active grille shutter system designed to improve fuel economy. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, and drivers can control 6 pre-programmed gear ratios via paddle shifters. Subaru predicts that Outback 2.5i models will get 28 mpg in combined driving.

A 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine is standard for the Outback 3.6R, delivering the majority of its torque between 2,000 rpm and 6,000 rpm. This year, a CVT is standard with this engine, and Subaru expects the Outback 3.6R to get 22 mpg in combined driving.

All versions of the 2015 Subaru Outback include new Active Torque Vectoring technology, quick-ratio electric steering, and larger standard brakes. Subaru says it has also improved the Outback's ride and handling for 2015.

When the new Outback goes on sale in the summer of 2014, key upgrades will include standard Starlink connectivity, new 7-in. touch-screen infotainment systems with gesture recognition and text-messaging capability, natural-voice recognition for the optional navigation system, and a long list of safety system upgrades. A reversing camera is standard, and a new stereo-camera version of EyeSight adds adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and more. A new Rear Vehicle Detection System is optional, equipping the Outback with blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

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