The fifth generation of Subaru’s All-Wheel Drive Outback wagon has been unveiled at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
The U.S. specification Outback introduces a wide array of new technologies, a sleek new look and significant upgrades to cabin quality.
Originally launched in 1995, the Outback established a whole new category of cross-over wagon, integrating the strengths of passenger cars and Sports Utility Vehicles.
As with every Subaru, safety is a key focus and Outback adds multiple new features in addition to the latest generation EyeSight driver assist system.
The new Outback is due for Australian launch in early 2015, with specifications yet to be confirmed.
Subaru has rigorously refined and advanced the Outback concept, incorporating a host of advanced design features worthy of Subaru’s top-of-the-line crossover model, with strength and quality at the core.
The new Outback has a stylish and distinctive silhouette that combines the strengths of a passenger car and an SUV, with ample ground clearance, and a tough, rugged look.
While maintaining a spacious and comfortable passenger cabin, the basic proportions convey a dynamic, reassuring body shape, and bigger tyres and muscular guards highlight a strong footing, courtesy of All-Wheel Drive (AWD).
Protective panels cover lower body parts to not only protect the vehicle when driving off-road, but also to enhance Outback’s active and rugged image. Large front fog lights, functional roof rails, and superior ground clearance further enhance Outback’s characteristic styling.
At the front, the bumper-integrated classic Subaru hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights maintain the Subaru family resemblance, while offering a more dynamic look.
The rear combination lights share the motif of the headlights, projecting a sharp, energetic image, front and back. LED tail and brake lights enhance the sense of quality, while improving fuel economy and night visibility.
“Comfortable and sporty” is the interior design theme, to dramatically improve quality and comfort while creating an interior that offers a sportier driver’s area and an improved infotainment system, for a more enjoyable in-car experience.
The instrument panel features a dual-gauge cluster with a three-dimensional feel and a triple-spoke steering wheel with multi-function switches. In the centre of the cluster is a large color LCD panel.
Blue-ring illumination of the gauges in top-grade models emphasizes the cutting-edge sporty feel.
An impressive optional centre panel houses a wide, flat central display with intuitive touch control. A new generation of interface design makes the screen easy to see and use, enabling convenient connectivity to a variety of media including navigation and audio systems.
Particular care has been taken to ensure that the interior materials used, and the tactile experience they offer, achieve a level of quality befitting Subaru’s flagship crossover vehicle. Attention to detail in every aspect, from the soft-pad dashboard to thick-cushioned armrests and the shape and feel of the door handles, imparts a sense of comfort and quality.
Packaging And Utility
The passenger compartment offers the optimum combination of comfort, visibility, cabin space and world-class safety – all efficiently packaged with strong, sporty styling and a bright, spacious feel.
Basic specifications have been enhanced without affecting the vehicle’s handling, including refinements to door structure, slimmer door sashes, and a re-engineered roof frame, to secure ample space.
Seating width and shoulder, elbow, and rear leg room in particular are increased for greater safety and a more comfortable cabin.
The A-pillar is moved forward to expand the cabin area. In addition, front quarter windows are added with door-mounted wing mirrors, to reduce the front blind spot and increase forward visibility. All this has further enhanced safety and made the cabin feel more open.
To offer more diverse and secure load-carrying options, rope hooks are added to the crossbar-type roof rails and a step fitted to the side sill, to provide a foothold when loading bicycles or other items on the roof.
An optional electrically powered rear cargo door enables automated opening and closing. It can also be set to open to a specific height and features a reverse function. These features offer outstanding convenience in a wide range of situations, for example when drivers need to open or close the rear gate when carrying long loads on the roof rack.
Chassis And Body
The chassis, steering, suspension, brakes, and all other components are revamped to offer class-leading performance. Ample ground clearance is teamed with even higher levels of steering stability, achieving higher-quality ride and comfort.
Body roll is further suppressed by increased body rigidity. New suspension mounting positions, and new Outback-specific alignment settings, to lower the centre of gravity and achieve higher ride quality without sacrificing suspension smoothness.
Reduced suspension operating friction and improved efficiency is created through a basic layout that enhances stabilizer efficiency, combined with optimization of the front struts and rear shock absorbers, aiding steering stability and producing premium ride quality.
The body frame shape is completely redesigned to improve the dynamic rigidity of the rear suspension and its mounting positions on the chassis, enhancing ride quality and reducing vibration in the floor and seats.
The steering gear ratio is improved from 16.5:1 to 14.0:1 for a more direct and agile feel. As well as a small, lightweight, high-powered control unit built into the electric power steering, the steering system has increased motor output and finer motor controls to achieve an accurate and natural steering feel. This system also helps to reduce fuel consumption.
Active Torque Vectoring achieves superior turning performance and steering response.
Building the electronic parking brake into the rear caliper makes the system quieter and more responsive.
As well as enhancements to the external look of the vehicle, a 10.6 per cent reduction in wind resistance is achieved, by improving airflow over the rear of the body. This also makes a major contribution to reduced fuel consumption at high speeds.
In addition to Subaru’s unique Symmetrical AWD system, new Outback is equipped with X-Mode, capable of enhancing driving performance on poor roads through optimized integrated control of engine, AWD, braking, and other functions on slippery surfaces. The Hill Descent Control setting gives drivers greater peace of mind by maintaining low speeds on downhill slopes.
2.5-Litre, DOHC, Horizontally-Opposed, Four-Cylinder, Normally Aspirated Engine
Mid-range torque is raised on the FB25 Boxer engine, giving more control and a lighter feel in practical driving ranges. Significant changes especially to intake, exhaust, and combustion systems improve fuel economy. While retaining the previous model’s structure of the intake manifold and tumble generation valve (TGV), TGV position and intake port shape are simplified to balance volumetric efficiency at higher revs with efficient combustion at lower revs, improving both power and fuel efficiency. The intake sound is tuned to produce a pleasant engine tone.
3.6-Litre, DOHC, Horizontally-Opposed, Six-Cylinder, Normally Aspirated Engine
Subaru has honed the performance of its EZ boxer engine over many years, and teaming it with the high torque-compatible Lineartronic transmission improves both drivability and fuel efficiency. The lighter ECU uses a microcontroller enabling improved environmental performance.
Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Power and environmental friendliness are enhanced, for increased fuel efficiency. To complement the smooth shifting that Lineartronic transmissions are known for, new step-shift control and six-speed manual-mode paddle shifting achieve nimble performance that always stays true to driver intentions.
Transmission friction is reduced for improved fuel efficiency, and new dynamic dampers provide a quieter ride by quelling vibration noise.
High-Torque-Compatible Lineartronic CVT
Teamed with the 3.6-litre Boxer engine, the high-torque-compatible Lineartronic transmission achieves advanced levels of power and environmental friendliness. Torque converter, oil pump, and forward-reverse mechanism are all redesigned, while new step shift control and six-speed manual-mode paddle shifting improve drivability and ensure a quieter ride.
Building on a strong body structure, both active and passive safety features traditionally found in the Outback are refined for improved omni-directional safety performance. Additions include the new generation EyeSight that dramatically improves preventative safety and reduces driver load.
Preventative Safety - New Eyesight
New EyeSight incorporates fully revamped stereo cameras that increase viewing angle and range by approximately 40 per cent, to further improve preventative safety; and driver stress-reduction features such as Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Major Specifications (U.S.)
|Body size (Overall length/width/ height)||4817 x 1840 x 1680 mm||4817 x 1840 x 1680 mm|
|Wheelbase||2745 mm||2745 mm|
|Engine||2.5-litre, DOHC, Horizontally-Opposed, four-cylinder, NA||3.6-litre, DOHC, Horizontally-Opposed, six-cylinder, NA|
|Transmission||Lineartronic Continuously Variable with fully automatic electronic control||High torque-compatible Lineartronic Continuously Variable with fully automatic electronic control|
|Maximum Output||130 kW/5800 rpm||191 kW/6000 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||236 Nm/4000 rpm||335 Nm/4400 rpm|
|Tire Size||225/65 R17, 225/60 R18||225/60 R18|