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2015 Subaru Outback Review

Automotive experts agree that the redesigned 2015 Subaru Outback is a one-of-a-kind vehicle with generous passenger and cargo space, as well as superb all-wheel drive traction.

With the best combination of positive reviews and long-term ownership costs in its class, the Subaru Outback is our 2015 Best Wagon for the Money. The Outback isn't just a great value, however. Its safety and reliability ratings, combined with its interior space and available family-friendly features, make it our 2015 Best Wagon for Families. 

Test drivers report that the 2015 Subaru Outback’s base four-cylinder engine has sufficient power for merging onto the highway, but feels underpowered when the Outback is fully loaded and climbing hills. They say the available six-cylinder engine improves acceleration, but still isn’t particularly powerful. However, critics note that the Outback’s standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) operates like a traditional automatic, which helps reduce engine buzzing noise. Unlike most rivals, the redesigned Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive. When equipped with a four-cylinder engine, the 2015 Outback gets an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg city/highway, which is good for a wagon. Automotive journalists write that the Outback handles with poise thanks in part to its precise, communicative steering and a standard Active Torque Vectoring system, which applies brake pressure to one of the front wheels to improve cornering ability. They add that the Outback’s standard X-Mode traction control helps it traverse muddy and steep terrain more easily than many competitors. Many test drivers feel that the 2015 Outback has a comfortable ride, though a few note that bumpy pavement can jolt occupants.

The fully redesigned 2015 Subaru Outback’s interior draws praise from reviewers for its solid construction and first-rate materials, which some say are nice enough to be in a luxury car. The 2015 Outback earns praise for its comfortable front seats and spacious rear seats with ample head- and legroom. Some write that the Outback’s cabin seems as roomy as those of SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota Highlander. The 2015 Subaru Outback also offers more cargo space than most competitors. Standard features in the 2015 Outback include a rearview camera, a 6.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Bluetooth and a USB/iPod input. Available features include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a power liftgate, navigation, an upgraded 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, blind spot monitoring, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and Subaru’s camera-based EyeSight system, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic pre-collision braking, which can bring the Outback to a full stop at speeds less than 30 mph. Reviewers report that both the 6.2- and 7-inch touch-screen infotainment systems have a wide variety of functions and are easy to use, and they add that the Harman Kardon system has superb sound quality.

  • "In going mainstream, the Outback has lost some of the rugged charm it exuded through its first three generations. But the 2015 Subaru Outback is more than ever what the market wants: a comfortable, nondescript midsize crossover that can take you to unbelievable places." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "This is the go-anywhere, do-anything wagon for those who aren't sold on the idea of high-riding SUVs. It's comfortable, quiet, gets competitive fuel mileage, handles well on pavement and can scurry along dirt roads with pretty much anything this side of a Jeep or Land Rover." -- Edmunds
  • "The good-to-drive, ready-to-play nature of the Outback has always made friends, and this new model addresses the negative points of the outgoing model while improving upon what's made it successful. Say what you will about its non-traditional form - here, it's good to be different." -- Autoblog
  • "This car's charm is not hard to pinpoint. The Outback oozes appeal in the pragmatic transportation sense, if not the car-folk sense. With palpable refinements throughout, the 2015 makes a solid case as the ultimate automotive appliance." -- AutoWeek

Other Wagons/SUVs to Consider

The Toyota Prius v hybrid wagon gets much higher fuel economy estimates than the Outback, and critics agree that it has plenty of passenger and cargo space. Auto writers especially like the Prius v’s rear seats, which are quite large and can recline and slide backward and forward.

The Mazda CX-5’s sporty handling and excellent fuel economy earn praise from the automotive press. They also like this crossover SUV’s spacious rear seats and contemporary interior styling. The CX-5 is also available with all-wheel drive.

Compare the Outback, Prius v and CX-5 »

Details: 2015 Subaru Outback

The 2015 Subaru Outback seats five and is available in 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited trims. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are standard. The 3.6R Limited model has a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. The Subaru Outback has been completely redesigned for 2015.

See 2015 Subaru Outback specs »

Review Last Updated: 3/9/15

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