2015 SUBARU OUTBACK
2015 SUBARU OUTBACK
- All new exterior design and significantly upgraded cabin for Subaru’s flagship
- ‘A second pair of eyes’ – introduction of new EyeSight safety assist technology
- 2.0-litre diesel and 2.5-litre turbo Boxer engines, with greater fuel economy
- Manual and Lineartronic CVT transmissions cater for all tastes
- All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring and X-Mode all-terrain system
- More comfortable ride and improved handling
- Generous standard equipment with two trim levels
- Priced from £27,995 (OTR)
Introduced to the world in 1994, and on-sale in the UK since 1995, the Outback was the world’s first crossover, successfully combining the benefits of a passenger estate car with the all-road capabilities of an SUV. For 20 years, the Outback has acted as Subaru’s flagship model in the UK, winning praise for its practical, all-road nature.
In 2015, the new Subaru Outback – now in its fifth generation – sports an all-new exterior design, a significantly higher quality interior and a raft of new safety technology compared to the outgoing model.
During the development of the new model, Subaru looked to build on the Outback’s reputation as a vehicle that can go anywhere and do anything – qualities that have appealed to Outback buyers for over two decades.
The new Outback has been developed to offer space and practicality; world-class safety; all-conditions and all-terrain versatility; a higher quality cabin; a more contemporary yet timeless exterior and interior styling; and improved environmental performance to meet changing customer and regulatory demands.
New Outback goes upmarket with new exterior and interior design
While clearly maintaining the distinctive Subaru Outback identity, Subaru’s designers strove to make the new model more dynamic while keeping true to its rugged crossover roots. From the front, the bumper-integrated hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights maintain consistency with other models in the Subaru family, while the profile is a subtle evolution of the existing Outback.
More significant changes can be found on the inside. The new model’s revamped interior uses a range of higher quality materials throughout for a more premium fit and finish, complemented by a new 7.0-inch touchscreen factory-fit infotainment and sat nav system.
The latest upgrades have made the new Outback more practical than ever before, with more storage and cabin space, and greater room for all occupants. The boot capacity has increased 4.5 per cent against the outgoing model to 559 litres, with a new Smart Power Tailgate for greater ease-of-use, while a new side sill footstep makes for easier access to the car’s standard-fit roof rails.
EyeSight safety assist – a ‘second pair of eyes’ for drivers
New to the latest model, EyeSight is Subaru’s advanced collision avoidance technology which acts as a ‘second pair of eyes’ for drivers, employing stereo colour camera technology to monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards. This is the first time the technology has been made available in the UK and Europe, contributing to the Outback’s maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating.
The system’s two colour cameras are located either side of the rear view mirror to detect the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards. EyeSight is fitted as standard to every Outback fitted with Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) transmission, and includes six features: Pre-collision Braking, Pre-collision Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure & Sway Warning, Pre-collision Steering Assist and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.
Two engines, two transmissions
There are two engines available in the UK – a pair of horizontally-opposed four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ engines, fitted deep in the engine bay to ensure a low centre of gravity for improved handling, despite the car’s raised ground clearance. Buyers can choose between a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, producing 150 PS and 350 Nm torque, or a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol unit, with power and torque outputs of 175 PS and 235 Nm, respectively.
Diesel engines will be offered with either a six-speed manual transmission or Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) transmission; the 2.5-litre petrol engine is sold exclusively with Lineartronic.
Capable on- and off-road
Handling and ride quality have improved over the outgoing Outback through the adoption of new, stiffer front struts, which cut roll, and revised spring and damper rates for a more flexible reaction to bumps.
The steering ratio has been quickened in the new model, resulting in more accurate and linear steering response. A more natural steering feel is aided by the steering wheel, now 13 per cent stiffer with a new metal core.
To ensure best-in-class on-road handling, every new Outback model is fitted with Active Torque Vectoring – effectively braking the inside wheels under cornering, quelling understeer and oversteer and allowing a more predictable course through corners. The Outback is now even more capable off-road, with the addition of the new X-Mode control feature on Lineartronic models and carry-over 200 mm ground clearance.
Generous standard specification
There are two trim levels available on the Outback for UK buyers – SE and SE Premium – which both offer a generous level of standard equipment.
SE models are equipped as standard with automatic LED headlamps and headlamp washers, cruise control, Active Torque Vectoring, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat and privacy glass, as well as a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating satellite navigation, audio, smartphone connectivity and a rear view parking camera.
Petrol SE models also feature an emissions-reducing start-stop system and Subaru Intelligent Drive, which allows drivers to select different engine modes according to road conditions for improved economy and performance.
SE Premium models add a sunroof, keyless entry and push-button start, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and a powered rear tailgate for added functionality.
The new Subaru Outback goes on sale in the UK on 1 April 2015.
2.0D SE Lineartronic
2.0D SE Premium
2.0D SE Premium Lineartronic
2.5i SE Lineartronic
2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic
2. History of the Subaru Outback
- Subaru Outback was the world’s first crossover
- First-generation Subaru Legacy Outback launched worldwide in 1994
- Two decades’ development of a pioneering vehicle
The Subaru Legacy Outback made its debut in 1994 and was introduced to the UK the following year. Now, 20 years on from its original European launch, Subaru is launching its fifth generation of the model in the UK. Loved by owners for its rock-solid reliability and everyday versatility, the Outback pioneered the crossover segment, with competitor models following in its tyre tracks with similar concepts.
The Outback was the first car to display all of the characteristics of the crossover concept, combining the best qualities of conventional passenger cars, practical estate vehicles and all-road SUVs.
The very first Legacy Outback was based on the second generation of the super-practical Subaru Legacy, and was originally named the Subaru Legacy Grand Wagon. An instant hit in markets around the world, a new moniker was soon adopted instead for the car, which echoed the name of the vast, arid and remote Australian Outback.
Before the Legacy, however, the Outback’s roots can be traced back to the 1972 Subaru Leone, the world’s first mass produced All-Wheel Drive vehicle and one that was remarkably capable in the toughest conditions, on- and off-road.
As with almost every other Subaru, the Outback has always held at its core the brand’s four-cylinder horizontally-opposed ‘Boxer’ engines, a uniquely-capable Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and a low centre of gravity for greater stability and handling. Its raised body height has always given it a wide range of abilities off-road and on rutted rural tracks and, as in the 1990s, the new model stands out as a true tourer-inspired SUV.
More than two decades on from the release of the first generation, the Outback still continues to win the hearts of drivers around the world, loved and appreciated for its reliability, versatility, refined touring capabilities and, simply, its ability to explore the great outdoors.
3. Design, interior, infotainment
- Contemporary new look for Subaru’s tourer-derived crossover
- Significantly higher quality interior
- Introduction of new voice-controlled 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
The new Subaru Outback inherits the crossover silhouette of its forebears, but with a bolder, more contemporary look which conveys its stable, all-road capability. The car’s all-new interior represents a significant upgrade over the outgoing model and is the most refined, high quality cabin ever seen in a Subaru model.
As a pioneer in the crossover segment, the Outback has always left drivers in no doubt as to its practical, all-road nature, but the new exterior and interior styling deliver a more polished, upmarket design.
Contemporary tourer-derived crossover styling
In its fifth generation, the new Outback’s design is a natural evolution for the car, delivering a look that combines the virtues of a tourer with those of an SUV. The new vehicle continues to deliver the Outback’s famed all-road stability while introducing a more modern, high quality appearance.
The front of the car bears Subaru’s hallmark hexagonal grille and ‘hawk-eye’ headlamps, giving it a recognisable ‘face’, though the front styling now conveys a bolder, wider look, aided by the car’s marginally wider body (up 20 mm to 1,840 mm). A larger, more prominent three-bar grille and blistered bumpers, incorporating low, wide fog lamps, produce a bolder front end, while emphasising the Outback’s wide stance and a strong sense of stability. In the UK, all Subaru Outback models are fitted with sharply-styled LED headlamps which frame the wide forms of the front of the vehicle.
In profile, the Outback’s elegant proportions have been aided by a longer body – up 20 mm to 4,815 mm – and more prominent grille. The base of the A-pillar has been brought forward by 50 mm and the rear of the roofline has been lowered slightly, ending in a subtle rear spoiler. The effect is a more raked windscreen and smoother, swept-back silhouette. A prominent shoulder line rises gently from the front bumper to the rear light clusters, emphasising the strength of the Outback’s body and giving the impression of more weight lower down in the body, telling of a lower centre of gravity than the elevated body suggests. Paired with the body’s sharp, clean lines, subtle yet functional body-cladding around the base of the vehicle gives a greater impression of solidity and ruggedness.
The rear of the car now features a more gently sloped glass area, giving the car a smoother look, while flat rear LED lights, the rear spoiler and prominent bumpers and cladding once again highlight the Outback’s width and stability.
As well as lending the car a modern, more elegant appearance, the new design has also aided the Outback’s aerodynamic performance, with a 3.2 per cent reduction in wind resistance. The raked windscreen, gentle roofline slope, new spoiler shape and new bumper shapes – front and rear – all improve the car’s drag coefficient and have contributed to a reduction in wind noise by 6 per cent.
A new Active Grille Shutter yields further improvements, closing the grille to reduce drag when conditions allow.
Models sold in the UK will be available with a choice of six elegant paint finishes – including two all new colours – and two new aerodynamic lightweight alloy wheel designs in 17- and 18-inch sizes.
Spacious interior design
A major focus for the project team was for a significant improvement over the outgoing Subaru Outback in the new vehicle’s cabin. It was recognised there was a requirement for much higher perceived quality in this area. The result is an interior which features significantly higher quality materials and a new design, striking a balance between spaciousness and a sense of security. The new interior will pave the way for the next-generation of Subaru cabins.
With a focus on developing a sense of space in the cabin, the Outback will appeal to buyers coming from other vehicle segments, particularly those buyers ‘downsizing’ from less wieldy SUVs who may be reluctant to forego the space and sense of security afforded to them by a large SUV interior.
The feeling of spaciousness starts with a dashboard made up of long, wide forms to emphasise the increased width of the cabin, while the instrument panel is also lower than in the outgoing model to improve visibility and a sense of space. Particular care has been given to ensuring comfortable space around shoulders, elbows and legs, making each passenger zone feel larger and more commodious. The distance between front passengers has grown by 10 mm, while overall shoulder room for each has expanded by 42 mm. Elbow room (+ 43 mm) and hip room (+35 mm) are also expanded, the result of remodelled front door trim.
Subaru engineers have retained the Outback’s large glass area to ensure a light, airy atmosphere in the vehicle – not only does this make the cabin feel more open and spacious, but it benefits visibility during low speed manoeuvres and at higher speeds out on the open road.
New front quarterlights have also been added at the base of the A-pillar, and the side mirrors – redesigned to be more aerodynamic – have been moved instead to the top of the front door panels, further improving forward visibility and reducing wind ‘rustle’. The opening of the sunroof (where fitted) has also been lengthened by 35 mm for a more open feel.
Improved material quality
The dashboard, which is now made of higher-grade soft-touch material, features a simple layout designed for ease of use and features a new 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system at its centre (see below). Silver highlights run across the dashboard and frame the infotainment system, adding greater visual interest to the interior. Soft-touch materials extend to the door arm rests.
The driver’s instrument binnacle has been updated for the new Outback, featuring a 3.5- or 5.0-inch LCD display (the larger display is fitted to EyeSight-equipped models) and two dials (speedometer and tachometer). The LCD display shows trip information, snapshot and trip fuel economy and mileage information.
On CVT models, the instrument binnacle works in conjunction with Subaru’s new EyeSight driver safety assist system. Under normal conditions, the meter is illuminated by a blue ring of light for clarity, but during EyeSight warnings (for instance, when the stereo camera system detects a need to brake in an emergency) the illumination changes to red. On models equipped with Lineartronic CVT, the illumination changes to a soft orange glow when manual shift mode is selected. Drivers can also customise the dial colours to suit their tastes, with any one of 10 different colour choices.
For the first time in the UK the interior surfaces are available in two different colours – black and two-tone black and ivory. Seats come in black cloth on SE models and with SE Premium models fitted as standard with black or ivory leather, depending on the exterior colour.
All-new infotainment system
Central to the Outback’s all-new cabin is the high-tech infotainment system, controlled by a high-resolution 7.0-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. This replaces the head-unit and Multi-Function Display (MFD) found in the outgoing Subaru Outback and in existing models from the brand, and is fitted as standard to every Outback.
The infotainment system plays a number of roles to improve the comfort and convenience of those in the car. Primarily, it allows front seat occupants to control the car’s satellite navigation and audio systems using the same touchscreen functionality as a smartphone, such as swiping and pinching-in and out to control the zoom on map displays.
Subaru’s six-speaker audio and infotainment system houses a CD player, USB and auxiliary input jacks and Bluetooth hands free and audio. The car’s various functions can be controlled remotely with Subaru’s latest-generation voice control system, with the driver pressing a button on the steering wheel, then speaking, issuing commands to choose their favourite radio station or music, set a new satellite navigation destination and change the power or temperature of the climate control system. This allows the driver to keep their eyes and attention on the road ahead.
The system’s smartphone functionality extends to a range of apps that can be downloaded onto users’ phones or tablets, which pair up via Starlink – these include weather and traffic reports, wireless audio, news updates and a calendar.
The new large screen effectively serves as a replacement for the earlier MFD units that historically sat atop the dashboard. The infotainment system allows drivers to monitor the car’s functions and capabilities on the road, including fuel economy information, the status of the Outback’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and trip information. On start-up, and on request, the system also carries out a vehicle health check, allowing drivers to monitor a range of relevant information, including oil level, tyre pressure and engine temperature.
4. Safety and EyeSight
- First Subaru sold in Europe with standard-fit EyeSight safety assist technology
- Class-leading stability and hazard avoidance with latest active safety systems
- Body rigidity increased by 67 per cent with ultra-high strength steel, maximising passive safety without compromising comfort
- Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating
The all-new Outback maintains Subaru’s hard-won reputation for engineering some of the safest cars on the road, with a range of new active and passive safety technologies to significantly improve stability, hazard avoidance and crash safety performance. The new Outback is the first Subaru to be offered in the UK and Europe with the brand’s intelligent EyeSight driver safety assist technology, which monitors the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards.
Subaru's highly-developed collision avoidance technology, EyeSight, will make its European debut in the new Outback. Fitted as standard to Lineartronic (CVT) models, EyeSight employs an advanced stereo camera system, which operates a range of driver assist features and contributes to making the new Outback one of the safest cars in its class.
The system’s two cameras, located either side of the rear view mirror, effectively act as a ‘second pair of eyes’ for the driver, monitoring the road and traffic ahead to detect the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards. Subaru’s technology is now entering its third generation, having been available previously only in Japan and North America.
EyeSight includes autonomous Pre-collision Braking Control and Pre-collision Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure & Sway Warning.
Should the system detect a hazard, EyeSight is able to take control of the throttle and braking to help the car avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision. EyeSight also works with the illuminated rings on the instrument dials to warn the driver of potential dangers, changing the colour of the instruments’ rings from blue to red to act as a powerful visual warning.
Subaru has refined the preventative safety technology over the existing version found in other markets by extending the field and distance of vision of the cameras by approximately 40 per cent. This allows the system to identify potential dangers earlier (up to 110 metres ahead), improving hazard avoidance and allowing more time for both car and driver to avoid a collision. The stereo cameras are now better able to trace the movement of vehicles ahead, allowing the adaptive cruise control to more effectively accelerate or brake autonomously.
Active safety features
As well as the new EyeSight system, the Outback offers a range of active safety technologies to provide world-beating hazard avoidance and maintain Subaru’s reputation for class-leading stability.
The Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, Subaru’s equivalent to electronic stability control, complements the superior driving stability offered by the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive drivetrain – both VDC and All-Wheel Drive are standard on all Outback models. VDC has been updated to provide world-class hazard avoidance, and now includes a new Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) system. ATV endows the Outback with even greater stability by braking the inside wheels under heavy cornering, allowing the Outback to maintain a neutral line through corners, avoiding understeer and oversteer.
Low-speed safety has also been improved thanks to the new layout of the standard reversing camera, which provides the driver with a wider view of the area behind the car. The new camera now features a delay function, allowing seven seconds before the image disappears from the 7.0-inch touchscreen display in the centre of the dashboard. This stops the system from engaging and disengaging constantly during more complex parking manoeuvres, such as three-point turns or parallel parking.
Maximising protection through passive safety
The all-steel structure of the Subaru Outback has been engineered to deliver the highest level of passive crash safety performance, while also providing an enhanced ride and high level of refinement.
Ultra-high tensile steel has been applied to key points around the body to ensure a strong bodyshell – the extensive application of stronger metal has increased the Outback’s torsional rigidity by 67 per cent. In particular, the side sills, A- and B-pillars and roof rails have been reinforced with stronger steel, aiding frontal and side impacts, and allowing a ‘Good’ rating in the USA’s demanding Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ‘small front overlap test’. Ultra-high tensile steel is also used to strengthen the engine bay and the vehicle floor, maximising protection for all occupants.
Pedestrian protection has been enhanced thanks to greater use of energy absorbing materials in the bonnet and the adoption of collapsible brackets along the side of the engine bay, which further alleviate the effects of an impact with a pedestrian. A structure designed to dislodge the headlamps during a collision improves pedestrian leg protection.
Subaru engineers understand that maximising driver visibility plays a key role in hazard avoidance, and a range of measures have been adopted to improve visibility around the vehicle. Forward visibility is enhanced by moving the base of the A-pillar forward by 50 mm, for a longer glass area and wider field of vision. In addition, front quarterlight windows have been adopted at the bases of the A-pillar, moving side mirrors to the top of the door panel to further improve visibility.
All Outback models come fitted with front, side and curtain airbags as standard, with a new knee airbag cushioning the driver’s lower limbs in the event of a collision. As with every Subaru model, the new Outback is fitted as standard with Subaru’s automatic front seat airbag activation technology to improve child passenger safety. The technology uses sensors in the passenger seatbelt tensioners, combined with the occupant detection sensor in the seat, to automatically turn off the passenger airbag when there is a child seat in the front passenger seat. This is a manual feature in many cars for sale across Europe.
Rear occupant safety is improved for European buyers with the adoption of larger saddle-shaped headrests, mitigating against whiplash in the event of a rear impact collision. Tests on the front seats and head restraints, and a geometric assessment of the rear restraints, indicated good protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear-end collision.
The Outback has been awarded the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating, scoring highly in all four key areas: adult occupant protection (85 per cent), child occupant protection (87 per cent), pedestrian protection (70 per cent) and safety assist. The new Outback achieved maximum points in the side impact barrier test and, moreover, scored maximum points for its protection of the 18-month dummy in the dynamic crash tests.
5. Engines and transmissions
- Choice of 2.0-litre diesel or 2.5-litre petrol Boxer engines
- Engineered for higher fuel economy, cleaner emissions, greater refinement
- 80 per cent of components modified for petrol engine, 90 per cent for diesel
- Choice of manual and Lineartronic transmissions depending on engine
- Revised Lineartronic transmissions are Subaru’s most refined yet
- Both engines are Euro 6b compliant
The new Subaru Outback is powered by the latest-generation of Subaru’s hallmark four-cylinder Boxer engines and a choice of six-speed manual and Lineartronic (CVT) transmissions.
Outback buyers will have two engines to choose from – Subaru’s 2.0-litre ‘EE20’ turbocharged diesel engine and a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre ‘FB25’ petrol unit. Fitted to the new Outback, both power units have been re-engineered for greater environmental friendliness, improved NVH and more accessible power and torque delivery. Both engines comply with Euro 6b emissions standards.
Both engines have received a thorough revision with 80 per cent of components modified on the 2.5 litre petrol and 90 per cent on the Boxer diesel.
Due to the compact shape of Subaru’s Boxer engines, the Outback’s power unit can be located lower in the engine bay for a lower centre of gravity, minimising body roll and improving road holding. The Boxer layout – with its unique ‘punch-counterpunch’ rotational cycle – offers smoothness, low vibration and noise, plus excellent accelerator response.
Active Grille Shutter helps cut wind resistance
A first for a Subaru, the new Outback sports a new Active Grille Shutter system to boost the car’s aerodynamic performance. The shutter’s default ‘open’ position allows air to enter the bonnet and cool the engine, while closing at high speeds – when the engine is typically less stressed – reduces wind resistance. In colder temperatures, it also allows the engine bay to retain more heat, improving fuel efficiency by aiding engine heating from a cold start.
Combined with the Outback’s aerodynamic new body design, the Active Grille Shutter helps cut wind resistance by 3.2 per cent.
Emissions, efficiency and NVH improvements to Boxer diesel engine
The latest iteration of the world’s only Boxer diesel engine – updated specifically for the Outback – benefits from reduced weight, improved NVH characteristics, cleaner emissions and greater fuel economy.
The revised engine produces 150 PS at just 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm torque across a wider 1,600-2,800 rpm range, making power more accessible than in the outgoing model (1,800-2,400 rpm). The engine returns fuel economy of 50.4 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 145 g/km when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The engine powers the Outback from 0-62 mph in 9.4 seconds and on to a 124 mph top speed.
Among the numerous changes made to the Outback’s diesel engine, Subaru engineers are particularly proud of the improvements to boost fuel economy and reduce the car’s emissions.
A new common-rail system enables 11 per cent higher fuel injection pressure than in the outgoing models, with updates to the ECU enabling more precise combustion control. New glow plugs improve engine heating at start-up for greater fuel efficiency from a cold start.
A new low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation unit improves exhaust efficiency, while the variable geometry turbocharger – now located at the base of the engine to lower the centre of gravity – boosts fuel economy with closer control of air flow through the turbo.
To comply with Euro 6b emissions regulations, exhaust emissions have been reduced by lowering the fuel combustion temperature, more closely controlling the combustion of air and fuel and improving the performance of the diesel particulate filter. A lower compression ratio (reduced from 16.0:1 to 15.2:1) further lowers the combustion temperature and reduces NOx emissions.
The diesel engine is now quieter than ever before, following the adoption of more sound-absorbing materials on and around the engine.
More torque, fewer emissions from upgraded 2.5-litre Boxer petrol
Subaru’s latest FB petrol engine – the 2.5-litre ‘FB25’ Boxer engine – features significant upgrades and modifications in its application in the all-new Outback, with an emphasis on accessible power and torque across a practical range of engine speeds, NVH reductions and improvements to fuel consumption and emissions.
Power from the 2.5-litre engine has increased from 167 PS to 175 PS, and torque output has grown 2.6 per cent to 235 Nm. Despite these gains, fuel economy has improved significantly to 40.7 mpg on the combined cycle and with CO2 emissions of 161 g/km, down from 175 g/km.
The Outback 2.5i will go from 0-62 mph in 10.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph. Automatic start-stop is fitted as standard to petrol models, realising greater fuel economy in slow-moving traffic.
Revised fuel injector valves and a higher compression ratio (up 3 per cent to 10.3:1) result in more efficient combustion and improved fuel efficiency, without sacrificing torque at low-to-medium engine speeds.
Air flow to the combustion chamber is also substantially improved, with a revised intake port, wider intake valve and larger air intake. Not only do these changes emphasise the Outback’s distinctive four-cylinder engine ‘burble’, but allow the engine to breathe more freely with a 26 per cent reduction in air intake resistance.
Choice of two transmissions
The all-new Outback is sold in the UK with two transmissions. The 2.5-litre Boxer petrol is fitted as standard with Subaru’s smooth Lineartronic (CVT) transmission, while customers of the 2.0-litre diesel have the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or high-capacity Lineartronic, specifically engineered to handle the higher 350 Nm torque output.
Lineartronic provides drivers with a smooth, seamless ride, keeping the engine in its ideal power range to maximise drivability, economy and performance depending on driving style and changing road conditions. Manual mode and steering wheel-mounted paddles allow drivers to take greater control should the mood take them.
The Outback’s Lineartronic transmissions are the most refined and fuel efficient that the brand’s engineers have ever created. A CVT fluid warmer enables faster warm-up when the engine and transmission are cold, reducing mechanical friction. In addition, a new sound insulation cover helps to further reduce transmission and engine noise, while 2.5-litre petrol models also receive dynamic dampers on the transmission mounting brackets to reduce noise and vibration.
The six-speed manual transmission remains virtually unchanged over the outgoing Outback, although marginally longer ratios for first and second gear allow for improved fuel economy at low speeds without compromising acceleration.
6. Chassis, running gear and drivetrain
- Greater ride comfort, stability and handling from upgraded suspension
- Faster steering rack for hazard avoidance and dynamic handling
- Active Torque Vectoring and All-Wheel Drive for ultimate on-road stability
- Off-road credentials boosted by new X-Mode all-terrain system
The new Subaru Outback combines predictable handling, a smooth ride and superior off-road capabilities. Since 1995, the Outback has always proven itself an effortless car to drive everywhere, and, when asked, owners stated that they simply wanted more of the same.
A range of upgrades have been made to the Outback’s suspension to improve stability, comfort and handling, while Subaru’s X-Mode system, paired with the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive layout, further increases the Outback’s off-road credentials.
Revised suspension balances ride quality and steering stability
Throughout the development programme for the new car, Subaru’s engineering teams sought to introduce a more comfortable ride and more polished, linear handling characteristics, with greater suppression of roll, improved bump absorption and greater high speed stability.
Modifications to the fully-independent front suspension have been focused primarily on bump absorption and improved turn-in. Ride quality is improved over the outgoing Outback through the adoption of new, stiffer front struts, which cut roll; revised spring and damper rates, for a more flexible reaction to bumps; and new liquid-sealed front bushings, which filter out unpleasant vibrations while communicating details of the surface to occupants. The front stabiliser bar has been reduced from 26 mm in diameter to 22 mm, cutting weight with no compromise to the bar’s rigidity. Finally, the front arm bushings have been reprofiled to allow the Outback to react more quickly to steering inputs.
The rear suspension layout – also fully-independent – has received a range of significant upgrades, primarily based around an extended rear subframe. This adds more body connection points, leading to greater torsional rigidity for the body itself while dramatically reducing the level of floor and seat vibrations.
Recalibrated spring settings effectively reduce roll, while moving the rear shock absorber mount outwards by 10 mm on each side further improves damping efficiency. The shock absorber valves are newly developed, providing a slightly firmer ride and improved handling at low speeds, and greater damping and steering stability at higher speeds.
Finally, Subaru’s engineers have added greater initial toe-in and slightly negative camber for more immediate steering response and a greater tyre contact patch under cornering, improving the driver’s ability to quickly steer their Outback out of the way of hazards and retain traction.
Boost to steering and braking performance
The Outback employs electric, rather than hydraulic, power-assisted steering, providing a minor boost to fuel consumption. The steering ratio has been quickened by 12.5 per cent in the new model, from 16.0:1 to 14.0:1, resulting in an accurate and linear steering response. The Outback adopts new tie rod ends, which are stiffer than those in the outgoing model for improved vehicle turn-in, while reducing the need for corrective steering inputs under cornering. A more natural steering feel is aided by the steering wheel, now 13 per cent stiffer with a new metal core, and steering column, which is now 15 per cent lighter through the effective use of aluminium, yet just as rigid as ever.
The Outback’s brakes have been fine-tuned in the latest model to offer strong and predictable stopping power and a greater level of control for the driver. Pedal response is improved by increasing the volume of air supplied to the booster when the brake pedal is applied. The result is a more immediate, yet more linear, braking response. Ventilated disc brakes are fitted to the front of the new Outback, and solid discs at the rear.
Subaru UK offers the new Outback to customers with a choice of 17- and 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels, which are now between 10 to 30 per cent stiffer than those found on the outgoing Outback, depending on design. A range of more aerodynamic alloy wheel designs and low rolling resistance tyres further boost fuel economy.
Ultimate stability – All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring
As with every generation of the Outback that has gone before, the new model benefits from Subaru’s hallmark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive powertrain, with the most up-to-date version of the brand’s Vehicle Dynamics Control system (VDC) – Subaru’s electronic stability programme.
To ensure best-in-class on-road handling, every new Outback model is fitted with Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) – the first time the technology has been available on a Subaru beyond the high-performance WRX STI. ATV effectively brakes the inside wheels under cornering and helps apportion greater torque to the outside of the car, quelling understeer and oversteer and allowing a more predictable course through corners.
The Outback is now even more capable off-road, with the addition of the new X-Mode control feature on Lineartronic models (see below).
Models with manual transmission employ a centre differential coupled to a viscous limited-slip differential. Torque split distribution is set at 50/50 per cent front/rear, with the viscous coupling adjusting the distribution whenever a wheel slips, ensuring traction on all surfaces.
Lineartronic models are fitted with an electronically controlled Multi-Plate Transfer (MPT) clutch which controls and distributes torque to the rear wheels. The default torque split distribution is 60/40 per cent front/rear, but if slipping is detected at the front wheels, the system is able to apportion more torque to the rear wheels for improved traction.
X-Mode boosts ‘go-anywhere’ off-road abilities
The new Outback’s all-terrain performance is improved with the introduction of Subaru’s X-Mode system, which allows drivers to remain safer on rutted tracks, slippery surfaces and on steep inclines. At the push of a button, and regardless of the driver’s skill levels, X-Mode provides off-road capabilities that rival those of full-blown SUVs. Previously only available on the Subaru Forester, X-Mode is now standard on all Outback models with Lineartronic CVT.
Selected by the driver via a switch on the centre console, X-Mode acts as an integrated control system for the engine, managing the Lineartronic transmission, All-Wheel Drive system and VDC simultaneously. X-Mode also incorporates Hill Descent Control to ensure the vehicle’s speed remains constant when driving down steep slopes.
When testing X-Mode, Subaru engineers noted that the time taken for wheels to regain traction on a 12° roller ramp was reduced by 29 per cent (-1.6 seconds) compared to the Audi A6 Allroad. The Outback is also able to maintain four-wheel traction at steeper angles, with all four wheels providing traction at 20 degree angles or higher, compared with 17 degrees for the Audi, according to Subaru’s in-house assessment.
The new Outback’s off-road capabilities are further enhanced by a high minimum ground clearance of 200 mm and overhangs that allow for greater approach and departure angles than the Legacy Tourer upon which it is based.
7. Practicality and packaging
- The most practical, usable Subaru Outback ever
- Focus on ergonomics and quality materials for all-new interior
- Passenger space grows, despite near-identical exterior dimensions compared to its predecessor
- Larger cargo area and new Smart Power Tailgate
From its conception and initial launch in 1995, the Subaru Outback has always offered buyers a high level of practicality and convenience - a result of its tourer-inspired SUV crossover body shape. As well as its ‘go anywhere’ Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive powertrain, the new Outback offers ‘do anything’ usability to match.
Throughout the new Outback’s development programme, Subaru’s engineers coined the phrase ‘universal utility’, to be used as the inspiration and key driving force behind the car’s even greater practicality and ease of use.
While the all-new Outback bears an almost identical footprint to the outgoing model, the fifth generation of Subaru's flagship is now more practical than ever, with additional space for passengers and cargo. A range of features and intelligent packaging throughout the cabin ensure the Outback remains an inherently easy car to own and live with on a daily basis.
Improved interior packaging for a larger passenger cabin
The new model is the most practical Outback yet. While the exterior gains only 25 mm in length (now 4,815 mm) and 20 mm in width (to 1,840 mm) over the fourth-generation model (body height remains the same at 1,605 mm), the passenger compartment and cargo area have each grown in size, improving space and comfort for all occupants, front and rear.
With the base of the A-pillar shifted forward by 50 mm compared to the outgoing model, the cabin is now more commodious than ever before. While the Outback is barely wider than the outgoing model, the revised body shape and new door trim help expand passenger space, with front occupants enjoying 42 mm more shoulder room, 43 mm greater elbow room – and larger central and door-trim arm-rests to match – and 35 mm more hip room. The front seats are also 10 mm further apart. The hip point has been raised by 10 mm for a more comfortable posture and greater view of the road ahead. Reshaped roof lining ensures headroom is expanded by the same amount to accommodate taller occupants.
Growth in the overall length of the Outback ensures that rear occupants enjoy 10 mm more legroom, while the new door structure and trim liberates an additional 30 mm of shoulder room, 38 mm of elbow room and 67 mm hip room. Front seat slide rails have also been spaced further apart, for 30 mm wider foot space, while the door trim and fold-down central arm-rest incorporate larger bottle holders and cup holders respectively.
Cargo space has been increased for the latest model, the boot growing 526 litres to 559 litres, including a new 47-litre under-floor storage compartment. Additional space has been achieved by raising the height of the tonneau cover, and decreasing the angle of the boot floor (from 2.5 to 1.6 degrees) for a flatter, more useful cargo area.
The cargo area and rear seat bench both feature levers to flip-down the rear bench, yielding a flat loading bay to accommodate larger, longer items, such as a bicycle or canoe paddles. Additional dealer-fit accessories from Subaru UK are also available, such as fitted rubber mats, ensuring the large boot is easier to keep clean.
Many Outback owners use their car to tow on the road, and the car’s towing capacity has grown 100 kg to 1,800 kg (2.0-litre diesel manual and Lineartronic). For the petrol models the towing capacity is now 2,000 kg.
Subaru has listened to the demands of Outback owners around the world, many of whom regularly stow items on top of their vehicles, either in a roof box or directly on the standard-fit roof rails. To make it easier to reach the roof, Subaru has introduced a new side-sill foot step on the rear sills. The wider step, which features a higher-grip surface, makes it easier for buyers to make full use of the car’s utility and load or unload items big and small from the roof.
New Smart Power Tailgate
In the UK, top-specification SE Premium models are equipped as standard with a new Smart Power Tailgate, which opens and closes at the touch of the button, either on the car's key, in the cabin, or on the boot lid itself. This makes it easier to load and unload larger items from the vehicle, and – for many owners – manage eager-to-escape pets. The electrically-powered tailgate has a memory function, allowing it to be set to open at a specific height, if a low garage ceiling or longer items carried on the standard-fit roof rails require. The power tailgate also features a closing safeguard to re-open automatically if it detects something in the way of the hatch, such as a loose item in the boot, or a misplaced hand or paw.
All Outback models sold in the UK – with or without the Smart Power Tailgate – now feature a grip handle to close the boot manually, instead of a conventional ‘cup’ handle, making it easier to close the boot and also to act as a hanger rail if required, allowing owners to hang up items such as a damp wetsuit when stationary (up to 3 kg). A tyre-repair kit is found beneath the boot floor, while cargo hooks in the boot itself have been strengthened and can now support weights up to 50 kg (up from 20 kg).
- Two trim levels for the UK – SE and SE Premium
- Standard equipment includes navigation and 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment
- EyeSight fitted as standard to all Lineartronic models
The high level of standard equipment and new technology fitted to the new Subaru Outback is designed to provide a comfortable and practical space for driver and passengers alike. The Outback is available with two trim levels in the UK – SE and SE Premium.
SE models are fitted with the following equipment as standard:
Front fog lamps
Rear fog lamps
Automatic LED headlamps
Pop-up headlamp washers
Power-fold heated door mirrors
Rear privacy glass
17-inch aluminium alloy wheels
Door mirror integrated LED indicators
Protective body cladding
Heated front seats
Leather-wrapped gear knob
Leather-wrapped handbrake lever
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Silver-effect dashboard trim
Eight way electrically adjustable driver seat
60 / 40 split-fold rear seats
Remote central locking
Vanity mirrors, driver and passenger
One-touch lane change indicators
Two front cup holders
Centre console storage box
12V power outlet
Tyre mobility kit
Dual-zone climate control
Windscreen wiper de-icer
3.5-inch colour LCD driver display
5.0-inch colour LCD driver display (EyeSight)
Tilt-adjustable telescopic steering wheel
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Safety and security
EyeSight Driver Assist (Lineartronic only)
Front SRS airbags
Front side SRS airbags
Curtain SRS airbags
Knee SRS airbags
Height-adjustable front seatbelt anchors
Brake assist system
ISOFIX child seat anchors
Child-proof rear door locks
Thatcham Category 1 security system
Hill Start Assist
Subaru touchscreen infotainment system
Six-speaker audio system
One-port CD player
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
USB and auxiliary input jack
VDC with off switch
Active Torque Vectoring system
Two-mode SI-Drive system (petrol only)
Engine stop-start (petrol only)
SE Premium models also gain:
18-inch alloy wheels
Smart power tailgate
9. Technical Specification
Body and chassis
Five-door, five-seater crossover, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. Choice of two longitudinally-mounted diesel and petrol ‘Boxer’ engines driving the front and rear wheels (AWD) via a six-speed manual or six-speed Lineartronic CVT – depending on model.
2.0-litre / 150 PS Diesel
Name ‘EE20’ Boxer Diesel
Type DOHC, horizontally-opposed ‘flat four’, turbocharged
Capacity 2.0-litres, 1,998 cc
Bore & Stroke 86.0 x 86.0 mm
Compression ratio 15.2:1
Max power 150 PS (110 kW) @ 3,600 rpm
Max torque 350 Nm (258 lb ft) @ 1,600-2,800 rpm
Valves 16 (4-per-cylinder)
Fuel system CRDi, common-rail, high pressure, direct injection
Turbo system Variable geometry turbocharger (VGT)
Construction Aluminium cylinder block and aluminium heads
Emissions class Euro Stage 6b
2.5-litre / 175 PS Petrol
Name ‘FB25’ Boxer Petrol
Type DOHC, horizontally-opposed ‘flat four’, naturally aspirated
Capacity 2.5-litres, 2,498 cc
Bore & Stroke 94.0 x 90.0 mm
Compression ratio 10.3:1
Max power 175 PS (129 kW) @ 5,800 rpm
Max torque 235 Nm (173 lb ft) @ 4,000 rpm
Valves 16 (4-per-cylinder)
Fuel system Port injection
Construction Aluminium cylinder block and aluminium heads
Emissions class Euro Stage 6b
|2.0D MT||2.0D CVT*||2.5i CVT|
|Final drive 1||1 4.444||4.111||4.111|
|CVT drive range||-||3.505-0.544||3.581-0.570|
*gear ratios apply to seven pre-programmed ‘steps’ in manual mode
2.0D MT Symmetrical AWD with centre differential coupled to viscous LSD
2.0D Lineartronic Symmetrical AWD with active torque split system
2.5i Lineartronic Symmetrical AWD with active torque split system
Suspension and damping
Front Fully independent by subframe-mounted inverted MacPherson struts, with coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll stabiliser bar.
Rear Fully independent by subframe-mounted double wishbones, coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll stabiliser bar.
Type Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Min. turning circle 5.5 metres
Front Ventilated discs
Rear Ventilated discs
ABS 4-channel anti-lock system with EBD
BAS Boosts braking power to maximum during emergency stops
EBS Emergency Brake Assist
Wheels and tyres
Wheels Alloy 17-inch x 7.0J – SE models
Alloy 18-inch x 7.0J – SE Premium models
Tyres 225/65 R17 – SE models
225/60 R18 – SE Premium models
Spare (standard) Tyre repair kit
Overall length 4,815 Overall width* 1,840
Overall height 1,605** Wheelbase 2,745
Front track 1,575 Rear track 1,590
Ground clearance 200
Approach angle 19.5 deg Departure angle 22.9 deg***
*excluding door mirrors
**including roof rails
***on 17-inch wheels
Fuel tank 60 litres
Luggage (VDA) 559 litres behind 2nd row seats
1,848 litres behind 1st row seats
|2.0D MT||2.0D CVT||2.5i CVT|
|Towing (max), braked||1,800||1,800||2,000|
|2.0D MT||2.0D CVT||2.5i CVT|
|Top speed / mph||119||124||130|
|0-to-62 mph / sec||9.7||9.9||10.2|
Fuel efficiency (mpg)
|2.0D MT||2.0D CVT||2.5i CVT|