Car Review – 2015 Subaru Outback Wagon


2015 Subaru Outback

By Tom Crosby

Subaru’s Outback is a best-selling five-passenger wagon that gets a little bigger for 2015, improving gas mileage, adding some horsepower and expanding already generous seating and cargo space.

It is the fifth generation of the award-winning 20-year-old model. The Outback is dubbed a crossover for its SUV-like characteristics, such as 8.7-inches ground clearance, all-wheel-drive all the time (Subaru’s iconic drive-train) and off-road prowess.

Three trims – Standard, Premium and Limited – come with either a 2.5-liter or 3.6-liter engine. Our test-drive was the Premium with the smaller four-cylinder BOXER engine which isn’t peppy off-the-line but adequate when underway on the highway after adding five horsepower and four ft.-lbs. of torque. The smaller engine remains somewhat noisy under acceleration requests.

However, the price is right, with options on our vehicle (moonroof/power liftgate ($1,695) and PZEV emissions ($300)), pushing the final price tag to $29,840.

EyeSight, a safety option with cutting edge features, was not included but is highly regarded and especially recommended for its safe driving aids.

Wheelbase and length grew slightly and the six-speed Lineartronic continuous variable transmission, with manual paddles on the steering wheel, became standard this year.

The profile underwent minor changes – the front grille and bumper are now meshed and the windshield more raked. Seating positions inside are higher – improving visibility – and cargo and seating space added an extra cubic foot or two. Miles per gallon now averages 28 aided by a grille shutter that reduces drag, improved aerodynamics and electric power assisted steering.

Off-road hill descent control and hill start assist on steeper terrain. A comfortable riding experience comes from the MacPherson front strut suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension tweaked for better handling and softer surface feedback.

Seatback levers drop the 60/40-second row seats flat quickly, a power liftgate is a boon when loading arms full of groceries and the roof rails have retractable crossbars for extra loads. The cargo cover can be stored under the rear floor.

Inside, the look is clean, with textured aluminum trim, stitched leather on the doors and comfortable cloth seats. Blue background lighting accents dashboard gauges and the 5.2-inch info screen is accessible and easily manipulated.

Apps, like Pandora and Aha are standard, as is Bluetooth, and connectivity is there for iPods along with a USB port and aux input jack. Personal small storage areas are plentiful and the center console will hold an iPad. Prior crash safety ratings have been top tier.

LIKES: Price, mileage, comfort, interior, ride
DISLIKES: Low power, noise
BOTTOM LINE: Good value as versatile family vehicle with ample workload space


  • Base price w/destination fee $27,845
  • Vehicle weight 3,593 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 108.1 inches
  • Length 189.6 inches
  • Width 72.4 inches
  • Engine 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, DOHC, boxer
  • Horsepower 175 hp at 5,800 rpm
  • Torque 174 lbs.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed CVT with manual option
  • EPA Rating 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway
  • Range 18.5-gallon tank, regular fuel
  • Performance 0-60 in less than 10 seconds