When driving the newly re-designed 2015 Subaru Outback, the phrase “jack of all trades” comes to mind. One will be hard-pressed to find a serious fault anywhere in the wagon that seems to be the unofficial vehicle of the whole of New England. There’s good reason for this as Subaru reliability is nothing to scoff at and as a result, many citizens of these slightly more snow-prone states have chosen the Outback as the go-to, daily driver/adventure vehicle. Admittedly, in the most basic sense it hasn’t changed drastically in recent years, but all the little improvements here and there have added up to make a big difference for 2015.
On road, the Outback is very well behaved. Predictable pedal feel for both accelerator and brakes accompany a nice steering feel and a firm but compliant ride. Road noise is very minimal and a conversation with those who didn’t think to call “shotgun” is definitely possible without raising your voice. It takes a minute to get used to a CVT transmission sans the traditional shifts, but you quickly realize that the additional MPG’s are completely worth it. New for 2015 is that the CVT is now standard on all Outbacks, with MPG ratings at 25 city and 33 highway putting this big wagon at the top of its class. The overall experience of driving the Outback on the street is that it is what some would phrase “a very nice place to be”.
As far as the looks go, 2015 brings us some subtle but effective changes to the Outback. The overall shape has changed very little, but a keen eye will pick up on new tail lights, head lights, and grill among other things. While it isn’t a complete ground-up redesign, the front and back ends look, in this author’s opinion, worlds better. That’s not to say that the old Outback was bad looking, but rather that the new looks quite a bit sleeker and more upscale. Additionally, nicer alloys complement the overall look of this new, trimmer wagon. This attempted move up-market seems to carry over into the interior which has received some notable improvements as well.
Subaru, in the past, has been known as more of a utilitarian vehicle with interiors that weren’t really anything to write home about. However, in recent years, and in particular for 2015, things have been changing for the better and I have to say that I like the direction Subaru is headed. Inside you will find a redesigned dash with a very responsive but cleanly designed Infotainment system. The model I tested was equipped with navigation and the maps were incredibly detailed and kept up well tracking the car through the test drive. Additionally, the new matte finish wood accents paired up with subtle strips of a brushed aluminum looking metal are reminiscent of some higher end European interiors (hats off to you Subaru). Of particular note is the steering wheel. It is chunky without being too big to get a hold of, sporty looking without trying too hard to please the boy-racer crowd and extremely well laid out with intuitively placed controls for everything you need. The rear seats have quite a bit of legroom, which is something that we 6-plus footers always look for, and the cargo area looks as spacious as ever (the power liftgate does come in handy when loading and unloading too).
While I can’t say that this particular test drive involved any serious, off-the-beaten-path exploration, I can speak to the overall ability of Subarus as a Subaru owner. This wagon will have no problem getting you to the ski mountain, the night of a blizzard in time to make those first tracks the next morning. Some may say that is what Subarus do best, getting you to places that other wagons wouldn’t dare, in conditions that would make your less adventurous peers stay home and sip hot cocoa.
So if you are looking for that one vehicle that can carry everything, get you anywhere, and do so in comfort and style, then look no further than the new 2015 Outback. A big thanks to Planet Subaru for allowing me to check out the new Outback. Be sure to check out their inventory at www.planetsubaru.com and tell them we sent you!