The Subaru Outback is a five-passenger crossover, exhibiting SUV proportions but car-like handling and fuel efficiency. Subaru gives it a serious update for the 2015 model year.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

From a styling standpoint, the new Outback seems like a minor refresh, yet it gains inches all around.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Engine choices remain the same, with a flat 3.6-liter six-cylinder, seen here, and an available 2.5-liter four-cylinder, also in Subaru's traditional flat format.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Outback's increased size means more interior room, but it still might be small for a family of four, considering the amount of cargo most people haul around.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Ground clearance is rated at 8.7 inches, helping the Outback negotiate rutted dirt roads.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

All-wheel drive comes standard, and Subaru adds a new X-Mode feature, tuning the torque split and traction control for challenging surfaces.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Integrated roof rails are ready to receive a pair of kayaks or a cargo carrier.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

In Limited trim, a power lift gate opens at the push of a button.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The high seating position helps with traffic visibility.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

This fake wood trim looks good in a satin finish.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Split-folding rear seats increase cargo flexibility.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Subaru doesn't offer cutting-edge cabin tech, but the features are quite good, especially the optional EyeSight system.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Electric power steering increases fuel efficiency and is tuned for a natural feel.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A small LCD in the instrument cluster shows trip data.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The continuously variable transmission leads to smooth acceleration, and offers a manual mode with virtual shift points.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Subaru's navigation head unit features modern styling, with soft buttons on the bezel.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Voice command did not always prove accurate, but does let you enter an address for navigation as a single string.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Maps offer extensive traffic coverage.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Subaru StarLink app lets you do limited online destination searches, and includes a wide variety of Internet audio channels.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Satellite radio provides information streams, such as fuel prices, weather and stocks.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Digital audio sources are well-covered, and include HD Radio.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The head unit shows a music library interface for devices and drives plugged into the USB port.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The audio playback screen shows album art.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The premium Harman Kardon audio system delivers very good fidelity, but heavy bass rattles the car's panels.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A hands-free phone system integrates contact lists.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The rearview camera includes distance, but not trajectory lines.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Up Next
Six generations of the Ford Mustang...
20