Is it a wagon? Or a midsize SUV? Really, it doesn’t matter because the Outback leaves a lasting impression. More so now with a recent overhaul. The sixth-gen and five-seater Subaru boasts a solid ride with quick acceleration, superb handling and steering feel. Of course, standard all-wheel-drive system along with dual X-Mode traction management ensures outstanding balance in all driving conditions.

The 2.4-liter horizontally-opposed, turbo inline-4 engine cranks out 260 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and 277 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. Power routed through a continuous variable transmission with 8-speed manual-shift capabilities contributes to an adequate performance. An independent MacPherson strut front and a double wishbone rear suspension results in a pleasantly agile ride. Steering response with the rack-and-pinion power assist is sharp, precise and perfectly weighted. The Outback’s exceptional stopping power comes from robust 12.4-inch ventilated front and 11.8-inch rear discs. Tow capacity is decent at 3,500 pounds.

The Outback Onyx edition displays a larger hexagonal grille with front lower body cladding. Active grille shutters improve engine warm up, retain heat and ensure fuel savings. A twin cockpit with electroluminescent gauge displays for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature give the interior a rich ambiance. All new is the 11.6-inch tablet-style infotainment touch screen, the center of attention on the dashboard. Passenger volume is vast at 105.6 cubic feet while ground clearance is a laudable 8.7 inches. Other goodies include 10-way power driver and eight-way front-passenger heated seats, dual auto a/c, overhead sunglass holder, power lift gate, 60/40 fold-down rear seatback, auto start/stop and a roof rack with crossbars.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all three rows, driver knee airbag, EyeSight (adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist), blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear-cross traffic alert, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, rollover sensor, vehicle dynamic control, active front seat head restraints and whiplash protection, front view (180-degree view of front) and smart rearview monitors, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

This redesigned and easy-on-the-pocket Subaru is a tempting midsize SUV. A standard all-wheel drive to maintain stability in untoward road/weather conditions, spacious cabin and, best of all, gas-sipping abilities should help seal the deal.


Tires: 225/60R18

Wheelbase: 108.1 inches

Length: 191.3 inches

Height: 66.1 inches

Width: 73 inches

Weight: 3,884 pounds

Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons

City: 23 mpg

Highway: 30 mpg

Base price: $34,895

Price as tested: $37,750