This week I bring you the 2017 Subaru Outback and the debate rages on…is it an SUV or a station wagon? Subaru calls it a crossover, and so will I since I try to avoid reviewing station wagons.
The Outback is a vehicle I recommend to people often on the Car Pro Show. The last one I reviewed was the 2013 and there have been a lot of changes and improvement since then.
This is the new-for-2017 Touring Package and it is the top-of-the-line. There are 4 trim levels with the 2.5-liter engine, and two trim levels in the 3.6-liter engine.
Although this is the top of the line, it has the smaller 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer 4-cylinder that is putting out 175-horses. Whether you get the 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder, Outback comes with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), with which Subaru does a great job. On a side note, the first CVT I ever drove was in a 1985 Subaru. This transmission does a great job of making the 4-cylinder feel like it has a lot more power than it does, especially when you use the shift paddles.
Moving to the inside, the interior is beautiful with leather seating, and a mix of wood, aluminum, and stitching running throughout. Two large and colorful gauges are super easy to read, and between them is the driver info center that is operated on the lower left side of the heated steering wheel, that also has sound system controls.
To the left of the steering wheel on the dash are controls for the safety systems, power lift gate, and one button sets the memory for the height the lift gate opens.
To your right are a comfortable center console and armrest, cup holders, and switches for X-Mode and hill descent controls for those leaving the pavement.
Moving up you find your air conditioning controls, and the 7” color infotainment system controls that operate the 576-watt 12-speaker audio, the apps for real-time weather, sports, navigation, and many of the cars settings. The system is easy to operate and very simple to maneuver around in.
You get one year of Subaru Starlink for free, and the system includes automatic collision notification, enhanced roadside assistance, stolen vehicle recovery, and added convenience with remote services. Whether you’re in your vehicle, at your computer, or on your mobile device, Starlink Safety and Security Services help keep you and your vehicle safe.
Outback has a very roomy backseat and from the rear, a lever on each seat will fold the split back seat down with no effort. All total, you can utilize 73.3 cubic feet of cargo area.
Subarus are known for safety and this Touring comes with the terrific EyeSight system. EyeSight monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns you when you’re straying outside your lane. The pre-collision braking feature can even apply full braking force in emergency situations. It is one of the best systems I have ever experienced. EyeSight uses twin-CCD cameras, simulating stereoscopic vision. It actively monitors the road through the windshield-mounted cameras. Subarus equipped with EyeSight earned the highest possible rating in the IIHS frontal crash safety test.
Other safety features that are standard on Outback Touring include: Blind spot monitoring, rear camera with cross-traffic alert, automatic reverse braking, auto high beam controls, and what I consider to be the best all-wheel drive system in the industry.
Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive system continually keeps the power routed to all four wheels, ensuring outstanding grip in snow, rain, or rough terrain. Thanks to its exceptionally balanced layout, you can count on a solid connection with the road and an engaged, responsive drive no matter the weather.
This Outback has no options, so what you see in the video is what you get with the Touring. Notable features are voice activated GPS navigation system, Bluetooth, dual power seats, power moon roof, 18” wheels, HID headlights, keyless entry, and remote start. A few other free features with the Touring package are dual-zone climate control, heated front and rear seats, and reclining rear seats.
The Outback is an extremely pleasurable vehicle to drive with great visibility, and a very smooth ride. Its 8.7” ground clearance makes it easy to get in and out of. Although a 4-cylinder, acceleration is more than ample, even for someone like me with a heavy foot. This vehicle looks, drives, and feels larger than it is and, frankly, I can’t find anything I don’t like about it.
Fuel economy is excellent at 25 in town, and 32 on the highway, which is terrific especially if you consider it an SUV.
Finally, it is an outstanding value as compared to most. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $36,870 completely loaded, it’s a great buy.