Posted Apr 17th 2014 3:00PM
While its new front fascia makes the biggest obvious impact, Subaru says changes to the entire 2015 Outback package make it roomier, more powerful, more efficient and quieter. The hexagonal grille gets it in line with the corporate template, to go along with a new shape to the lower grille and fog light cladding, a sharp crease for a shoulder line and a faster rake to the windshield. The rocker panel cladding and its 'toothed' molding remain, but it now also doubles as a step for when you want to place items on the roof rack.
Under the aluminum hood will either be a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder boxer engine with 175 horsepower and a carryover 174 pound-feet of torque, or a 3.6-litre inline-six-cylinder with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft exclusively in the 3.6R Limited model. Paired to the lower-friction Lineartronic CVT that is the only shifting choice, and aided by features like the active grille shutter system and electric power steering, Subaru estimates that the fuel economy ratings for the 2015 Outback have been improved in 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder iterations. The 2015 Outback 2.5i CVT models are estimated at 8.0 L/100 km city, 6.0 L/100 km highway and 7.1 L/100 km combined. Trims with the 6-cylinder engine have estimated fuel economy ratings of 11.2 L/100 km city, 7.4 L/100 km highway and 9.5 L/100 km combined.
The Outback has grown in every dimension, but never by more than 0.7 of an inch. Outback's trunk has been enlarged to 1,005 litres. The passenger cabin grows by 76.4 litres (2.7 cubic feet), though, so occupants have more shoulder, hip, elbow and legroom. The cargo hold is enlarged by 33.9 litres (1.2 cu-ft) with the rear seats up, by 56.6 litres (2.0 cu-ft) with them down and the load floor is flatter. Accessing it is made easier by the memory height function on the power tailgate and new release handles for the rear thrones. Cabin ambience is improved by sound abatement measures like an acoustic windshield, thicker panels and more noise-insulating foam.
The standard equipment list gets a little longer, with larger brakes and ventilated rear discs, a rear-view camera, welcome lighting, soft-touch materials and either 6.2-inch or 7-inch touchscreens for infotainment automatically among the goodies. The options list now includes steering-responsive fog lights on models equipped with Subaru's EyeSight system, and a rear vehicle detection system that bundles blind spot detection, lane change assist and a rear cross traffic alert.
It will roll into dealerships this summer, but before that, there's a press release below, a few images above and we'll get a close look at it on the New York Auto Show floor.