This rugged five-seat crossover with the SUV handle is really a jacked-up Legacy wagon, and there’s nothing wrong with that. With Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive as standard, the Outback’s snow and back road credentials are unassailable. The fact that this comes with a smooth ride, a well-defined handling and tight turning circle is icing on the cake.
The Outback is highly functional, with generous back seat room and a cargo area that expands to 2075 L.
As with the Legacy sedan, available engines are a 2.5L boxer four (175 hp, 174 lb-ft) and 3.6L boxer six (256 hp and 247 lb-ft). A six-speed manual is standard on the base 2.5i ($27,995) but opt for the $1300 CVT and you get a more advanced X-Mode AWD system with Hill Descent Control. Fuel economy for the 2.5i with CVT is 9.3 L/100 km city and 7.1 hwy. The smoother and swifter 3.6R with standard CVT posts 12.0 L/100 km city and 8.6 hwy.
New for 2016, the Outback 2.5i sees revised electric steering, rearview camera parking guide customization and wiper-linked automatic on/off headlights with welcome lighting. There is also a fresh hue to spice up your wagon experience: Venetian Red Pearl. This is along with the standard heated front seats, Bluetooth and 6.2-inch touchscreen. The Touring Package at $31,195 adds 17-inch alloys, blind spot detection, dual zone climate control, sunroof and power tailgate. New for 2016 is auto dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and larger clock and temp display.
As with all Subarus, top trim is the Limited Package. At $35,995 it layers on 18-inch alloys, leather, 7-inch display with nav and Siri compatibility, Voice activated dual-zone climate control, heated front (3-stage) and rear (2-stage) seats and 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio.
Available on the Touring and Limited is the Technology package ($2500 and $1200 respectively). This includes proximity key with push button start, further front seat adjustments, steering responsive fog lights and EyeSight driving assist system that now bundles lane keeping assist with adaptive cruise, rear cross traffic alert and collision mitigation braking.
The Outback 3.6R Limited with Technology Package at $40,195 is the most luxurious and powerful expression of this competent wagon/crossover.