The new Subaru (FUJHY.PK) Outback utility wagon vehicle has made its official debut in New York, and the good news is that the company didn’t change anything that it didn’t have to. What do we mean by that? Well, for one, it looks a little bit different — particularly from the front — but overall, it’s very similar to the Outback that Subaru enthusiasts know and love and that outdoor lovers will scramble to get their hands on.
As expected, the front fascia was updated to take on the styling language brought with the new Legacy. And while it looks a bit less than inspired on the Legacy — given the trend of bold styling in the midsize sedan segment — it looks nice and at home on the Outback, giving it a modern flair that’s simple and clean but doesn’t sacrifice its rugged demeanor.
Though the differences are slight, the Subaru’s foglight housing and body cladding have been adjusted somewhat. On the 2015 Outback 2.5i, an active grille shutter help up fuel economy; buyers can choose from the familiar 175 horsepower 2.5 liter, four-cylinder boxer engine with 174 pound-feet of torque, or the 3.6 liter inline-six with 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet in the 3.6R Limited trim. The four will average 25 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway, and 28 combined; the six musters 19 city, 27 highway, and 22 combined; both are increases over the current generation. A continuously variable transmission comes standard on all models.
Passengers (and the driver, too) will have more shoulder, hip, elbow, and legroom, since the cabin gained 2.7 cubic feet, though the car itself only grew by 0.7 inches. So the Outback is roomier, more efficient, and quieter than the outgoing model.
The standard equipment menu got an upgrade, too. It now include things like HID headlamps, larger brakes with ventilated rear discs, a rear-view camera, new welcome lighting, soft-touch materials, and either a 6.2-inch or 7-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Pricing for the models will be revealed closer to the Outback’s launch, later this summer.
The infotainment system itself, which for Subaru has been derided as dated for the last couple of generations, has reportedly been significantly updated and improved. It included all the newest technological perks like app integration, USB ports, texting and Bluetooth amenities, and everything else that’s becoming increasingly prevalent in all vehicles.
Subaru was right to largely leave the Outback intact. While the Legacy and Impreza models are more mainstream and have more leeway with their design direction as a result, the Outback is still largely a niche vehicle that appeals mostly to outdoor enthusiasts with really active lifestyles. Losing that demographic because of a new design strategy could spell the end of the line for the nameplate, and it appears that Subaru knows this.