Tag Archives: Ruge’s Subaru

Subaru ranked #1 and #2 by Consumer Reports readers – Ruge’s Subaru

23 Feb

Subaru dominates this year’s Facebook face-off

Published: February 23, 2015 07:00 AM

As Consumer Reports prepares to release its 2015 Autos Spotlight, which includes our highly anticipated Top Picks and Car Brand Report Cards, we asked our Facebook followers to name the best car on the market today.

The guidelines were simple: Choose a vehicle that is currently available in the United States that you’d want to live with as a daily driver.

The followers’ initial open-ended submissions defined the field. We then asked people to “vote” on the five most popular models: Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Tesla Model S, and Toyota Highlander. From these, the Subaru Outback won, garnering a quarter of the votes.

We’re proud to say that our Facebook followers took this challenge seriously, selecting vehicles that meet the stringent criteria to be Consumer Reports recommended. In other words, these are all good, safe, and reliable models.

There were a number of comments asking where the American cars were. To remind, these models were submitted by readers—not selected Consumer Reports. And among these finalists, the Honda CR-V (Ohio), Subaru Outback (Indiana), Toyota Highlander (Indiana), and Tesla Model S (California) are made in America.

Winner: Subaru Outback (25 percent)

The redesigned Subaru Outback hits a sweet spot, with refined manners, benchmark safety scores, available advanced safety equipment, easy-to-use infotainment system, and ample passenger and cargo space. Factor in standard all-wheel drive and respectable fuel economy, and you have an SUV alternative that the people feel is a true winner. Several commenters wrote that they love theirs, and Robin Siegel explained that “It’s practical, goes through most anything, and can haul as much as I’ve ever wanted while keeping it out of the weather.” The Outback won last year with our inaugural People’s Pick contest, and this repeat performance shows that its standing was no fluke.

Second place: Subaru Forester (24 percent)

In the crowded, and popular, small SUV segment, the Subaru Forester stands tall. Literally. Its positives include large windows, big doors, an excellent driving position, and unusually spacious rear seating. In our tests, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission averaged an impressive 26 mpg overall. Plus, the Forester has an excellent rating for predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, owner costs, and accident avoidance. And it gets top marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) across its suite of crash tests. Commenter Celinda Woodworth Figgins captured the essence, writing, “I just bought a Forrester this past fall. I am extremely happy with it!”

2015 Subaru Outback | Ruge’s Subaru | Autoweek

13 Feb

FEBRUARY 4, 2015

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium review notes

The 2015 Outback 2.5i Premium comes with the Lineartronic CVT, which features paddle-shift control switches and is instrumental in the Outback’s significantly improved fuel economy.PHOTO BY SUBARU

SUBARU OFFERS GREAT VALUE IN THE MORE REFINED OUTBACK

DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Value is rare enough in new cars to surprise when one finds it: The 2015 Subaru Outback2.5i Premium qualifies. For a small family living in an area that routinely sees snow, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better all-around daily driver for anywhere near the $31.5K Subaru wants for this attractive, well-built wagon.

That’s not to say there aren’t compromises: The Outback’s flat-four won’t win you any drag races, and the CVT contributes its usual odd NVH characteristics, particularly in passing/hard acceleration, but that’s the tradeoff for 28 mpg combined — really outstanding mileage for a 3,600-pound AWD wagon. I’ll have to wait for our cumulative mileage comparisons to come in for a final verdict, but the trip computer was showing real-world high-20s during my time with the car.

Even with the boxer engine and CVT, the Outback is a really nice car to drive — value here doesn’t equal cheap or chintzy. The combination of a higher seating position, good damping and Subaru’s characteristic chassis control means the Outback feels more premium than its market position would suggest. These are well-planted, confidence-inspiring machines, and from behind the wheel it’s obvious why Subaru is on such a sales roll. High-quality cloth seating with bun warmers (really the best of both worlds on a cold morning), a well-executed interior layout with logical controls, tons of room and an infotainment system that allowed me to connect without forcing me to learn a new “improved” user interface all make the Outback an easy car to live with.

If you don’t need a third row, skip the SUVs and go check out a Subaru Outback. The ride is better, you’ll use less gas and, as everyone knows, wagons are cool, man.

ONLINE FEATURES EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This new Outback was waiting for me in freezing Detroit when I returned from lovely Aruba. I was glad, too, not only was there a layer of slush and ice on the ground; I had four giant suitcases, which wouldn’t fit in most cars on the market.

The Outback was rock solid in the snow and ice, both that night and over the weekend. If it does give way, it doesn’t go very far, all you have to do is point the front wheels where you want to go. The windshield wipers easily broke off a half inch of ice, and the seat warmers heated up quickly, too. Cloth seats by the way, so vegan!

Power is OK from the 2.5-liter four as well. Subie seems to have it tuned relatively sportily, so when you put your foot down it gets moving quickly. It doesn’t feel powerful, mind you, just not annoyingly slow. And 33 mpg on the freeway is impressive for a car this size.

I used it to load up a 100-pound air compressor in the back, the load floor is low, so I didn’t have to lift very far. It also has a non-slip surface on the mat in back, so it didn’t slide around on my way home. Obviously there was plenty of space with the rear seat folded down.

The new radio setup is great. One solid piece of glass, all the buttons work like an Apple iPad and it instantly connected to my iPhone, playing what I was listening to moments before.

I guessed that with this equipment, the car would cost about $37K; I was pleasantly surprised with $32K or so. For that you get all the safety features, some of the best in the business, a sunroof, heated seats, and all the important stuff. And an EPA fuel economy rating of 33 mpg on the highway to boot. It’s really a great deal.

I’m not sold on the new look, but Subarus always do that to me. A few years and it’ll probably look fine; maybe the company is just ahead of the curve.

Photo: 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium Photo 4

For added nighttime security, the 2015 Outback features new standard Welcome Lighting that automatically turns on cabin illumination and exterior lights as the driver approaches or departs the vehiclePHOTO BY SUBARU

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I’ve always had a soft spot for Subaru wagons. I had a yellow GL in college — an ’81 I believe — and put a couple hundred thousand trouble-free miles on it until the body rusted off. Rust was a problem back then. I loved that car.

And I still have that soft spot, including for this new one. I say new because I’ve read it’s new, though it sure looks and acts like the outgoing one — not a complaint. This car perhaps defines the term “evolutionary.” It drives like, well, an Outback. It goes about its business quietly and confidently. It’s pleasant. Nothing jumps out as outstanding or awful. It’s a quiet, refined wagon.

The flat four is a lot quieter and more refined than I remember my ’81 being, but 30-something years later it’d better be. Power is adequate and the engine drones, especially away from stoplights, but I’m thinking that’s the CVT. Speaking of the CVT, I suppose we should all get used to them. Seems they’re here to stay. This particular CVT? It’s OK. Not great, not awful. Personally I’d prefer a stick, but that’s my preference.

The ride is comfortable and the suspension/chassis soaks up potholes nicely. I didn’t put too many miles on it, but I suspect had I done so, it would be a fine long-distance hauler.

Some thanks for that go to the cabin; it’s roomy and nicely built and — this is important — Subaru finally made its radio controls almost big enough for normal-sized thumbs and fingers — even with gloves on.

The $31K sticker ain’t cheap, but there’s nothing I’d want or need which isn’t already here in this particular test car. It’s loaded. Save a grand against our long-term Nissan Rogue? Yes, please.

Overall, this would make a great year-round car, especially if you live where the snow flies as a recent morning’s commute demonstrated. I had no issues on the slick stuff.

Photo: 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium Photo 3

The all-new 2015 Outback introduces a bolder look with crisper, sculpted lines that convey both its all-road capability and upgraded refinementPHOTO BY SUBARU

Options: Moonroof package including power rear gate, navigation, Eyesight, blind-spot detection & rear cross- traffic alert ($3,390); partial zero emissions vehicle ($300)

Subaru Levorg Test Drive – Ruge’s Subaru – Motor Trend

12 Feb
By | Photos By Kenji Nakajima | From the April 2015 issue of Motor Trend  |
When Subaru announced that its 2015 WRX would come to the U.S. only as a sedan, fanboys of the previous gen’s hatchback variant let out a collective sigh of grief that could be heard all along the snowbelt from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine. Sure, the new sedan is cool, but a hatchback possesses inherent attributes — a curvaceous rump and a larger cargo hold — that make it special and appealing. Sadly, news didn’t get much better when Subaru debuted the 2015 Levorg — the name is derived from Legacy Evolution Touring — for the Japan market. Essentially a WRX wagon, the best-looking Subaru in maybe forever wasn’t going to take the boat ride to America. Forbidden fruit? For the fanboys, it tasted more like sour grapes.

More on Motortrend.com:

2015 Subaru Levorg Front Three Quarter 02

  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Front End
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Rear End 02
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Rear Three Quarters

With any luck — and enough letters to your local Subaru dealer — those sour grapes might just turn into fine wine. When asked if the Levorg would make it stateside, a Subaru spokesperson replied, “Never say never.” Yeah, that doesn’t sound all that promising, but at least it’s on the table. The holdups? For one, Subaru is concerned that a smallish hatchback, albeit a sporty and speedy turbocharged one, won’t convince enough wagon-weary Americans to plop down around $30,000. Further, Levorg production at Subaru’s Gunma factory is already running at redline, barely satisfying the 3,000-per-month demand in Japan. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.After spending a week in a Levorg 2.0GT-S EyeSight, I’m convinced Subaru needs to find that way. Measuring 184.6 inches long, 70.1 wide, and 58.5 tall and riding on the same 104.3-inch wheelbase as the WRX, the Levorg is about the size of the last Legacy Wagon sold in the U.S. (2005). Too small? Hardly. Cargo room with the 60/40-split seats up is roughly 18.5 cubic feet, a welcome bump from the WRX sedan’s 12.0.

More on Automobilemag.com:

The Levorg shows its rally roots but proves a more mature and luxurious ride.

Power comes from the WRX’s direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo, though in the Levorg 2.0 it’s tweaked to the tune of 296 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 — substantial bumps from the WRX’s 268 and 258, respectively. (A 1.6-liter turbo making 168 horsepower and 184 lb-ft serves as the Levorg’s base engine.) The sole transmission offering is a continuously variable automatic that routes all the gusto via Subaru’s VTD-AWD system, split 45/55 front/rear. Selectable SI drive modes (Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp) and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are standard. A manual transmission may be offered later (see below).2015 Subaru Levorg Rear End

  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Wheels
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Tailpipe
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Rear Taillight
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Front Three Quarter Turn
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Front Three Quarter In Motion 02
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Front Three Quarter In Motion

Out on the twisty Mazda Turnpike near Mt. Fuji, the Levorg showed its WRX rally roots but proved a more mature and luxurious ride. With a softer suspension setup and narrower 225/45 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 tires mounted on 18-inch alloys, the Levorg isn’t as stiff-legged as the Evo-firm WRX. It’s not a point-and-shoot weapon like the WRX, either, but it’s still plenty sharp and exciting, providing direct, accurate steering and robust four-wheel disc brakes. If there’s a letdown, it’s that the Levorg, at roughly 3,450 pounds, doesn’t feel any quicker than the less powerful and 100-pound lighter WRX. Still, it’ll no doubt sprint from 0-60 mph in well under 6.0 seconds.

More on Automotive.com:

The interior mostly mirrors that of the WRX and STI with a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel, drilled aluminum pedals, and leather/suede bucket seats, but it swaps the rotary climate controls for buttons and the red stitching, gauges, and accents for ones in blue. Think more elegance, less sport. Ditto for the exterior, which is devoid of the WRX’s blacked-out face and droopy butt. On the road, the Levorg’s presence is strong and handsome, no matter which way it’s heading. The chrome-finished grille, the LED daytime running lights, the more aggressive front apron, the aluminum-look sideview mirror caps — they all up the beauty factor.If you can get past the strange name, the Levorg’s only blemish is that it isn’t gracing U.S. lots. Bring it to America, Subaru. Now that would be a beautiful thing.

2015 Subaru Levorg Interior View 02

2015 Subaru Levorg
BASE PRICE $27,000-$30,000 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon
ENGINES 1.6L/168-hp/184-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve flat-4; 2.0L/296-hp/295-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve flat-4
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto
CURB WEIGHT 3,400-3,450 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 104.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 184.6 x 70.1 x 58.5 in
0-60 MPH 5.5-8.8 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB/FUEL ECON Not tested
ON SALE IN U.S Maybe
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Interior
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Interior View
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Cockpit
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Instrument Cluster
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Gear Knob
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Steering Wheel Controls 02
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Rear Interior
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Rear Cargo
  • 2015 Subaru Levorg Chassis

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/wagons/1502_2015_subaru_levorg_first_drive/#ixzz3RZ9K1dDh

2015 Subaru Legacy – Ruge’s Subaru – NY Daily News

10 Feb

Subaru has made a major move towards the middle of the midsize sedan market, and the 2015 Legacy sedan is proof the brand is no longer a quirky outlier. That’s great, if you’ve never considered a Subaru before.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 11:47 AM
The all-wheel-drive has a starting price of $21,695 in standard 2.5i trim. Our 2.5i Limited tester starts at $26,495.SUBARUThe all-wheel-drive has a starting price of $21,695 in standard 2.5i trim. Our 2.5i Limited tester starts at $26,495.

Few vehicles outside of the sports car and supercar world draw this kind of buzz and attention, at least when it comes to questions from friends and family. Tell your posse you’re going to drive a Dodge Viper or Bentley Continental, and everyone wants a ride around the block.

Tell the same group you’re test driving a Subaru Legacy sedan for a week, however, and those same tag-alongs suddenly want a whole lot of serious advice regarding the pros and cons of this increasingly popular, all-wheel-drive midsize sedan.

There’s a very good reason and, to borrow a phrase from the real estate market, a large part of this automotive inquisitiveness stems from one simple thing: location, location, location! Around the New York metro area, and throughout the Northeast, Subaru vehicles are seemingly everywhere, thanks to their reputation for ruggedness and all-wheel-drive capability.

Remember, no matter if you’re shopping for a base Legacy 2.5i starting around $21,600, or a range-topping 3.6R Limited at nearly $30,000, Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive is fitted as standard equipment.

Given the wintry weather that has blanketed many parts of the country with snow, this alone can be a deal-breaker when it comes to cross-shopping the Legacy against rivals like the Camry, Accord, and Sonata – none of which offer AWD, even as an option. Only the Ford Fusion offers AWD, though you’re looking at a base price of roughly $27,000 when it’s added onto the SE trim level.

The 2015 Subaru Legacy has been updated this model year and sales are hitting record levels here in the U.S. market.
The 2015 Subaru Legacy has been updated this model year and sales are hitting record levels here in the U.S. market.

The new Legacy is more than about traction on snow and slush. The balance of ride and handling isn’t what I’d call sporty, but there is more of an edge than what you’d find on most rivals. Sometimes when you feel a bump in the road, it’s not always a bad thing, as long as it equates to feeling more in control of the car.

On the highway, the MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone rear suspension work to keep the Subaru level and free from unwanted rocking motions. It’s a little firmer than many midsize sedan rivals but, once again, it’s best to keep things relative since we’re talking about the predominantly cushy rides provided by family cars.

Subaru has made big strides when it comes to improving the quality of the Legacy's cabin materials.
Subaru has made big strides when it comes to improving the quality of the Legacy’s cabin materials.

One driving aspect that really surprised me was the lightness of the Legacy’s steering at city speeds. Merging onto the northbound FDR Highway via a Brooklyn Bridge-based entrance ramp, the variable-assist rack and pinion steering offered very little initial bite or feel of the road. It pointed the car where I wanted it, but I expected more from a car with all-wheel-drive and a flat-4 cylinder engine nestled low in the nose.

When you pick up speed, the steering heft I’d been waiting for finally made an appearance. The Legacy tracked straight and true, with no hint of wander at highway speeds. For my money, it would be tough to choose between the standard 4-cylinder and the 256-horsepower 3.6-liter flat-6 in the 3.6R model. Both engines are fitted with a smooth and unobtrusive Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The bigger engine would make the Legacy quicker, of course. Then again, I was pleased with the acceleration provided by the standard motor, which is saying something because I was uncertain how a 175-horsepower engine might cope with a weighing close to 3,500 lbs. From the driver’s seat the 4-cylinder had enough pep, both in city driving and on the highway.

Our Legacy test car also came with a blind spot warning system - a very worthwhile option.SUBARUOur Legacy test car also came with a blind spot warning system – a very worthwhile option.

One of the main reasons I’d consider the larger engine is the greater weight it would place in the nose of Legacy (the 6-cylinder weighs nearly 200 lbs. more than the 2.5i Limited). That could, theoretically, offer the meatier steering feel I was initially missing in the 2.5i Limited. (Sounds like a test drive of the Legacy 3.6R is needed!)

Then again, the bigger motor commands a premium of several thousand bucks over the 2.5i Limited. It’s also thirstier, with an EPA rating of 20-mpg city/29-mpg highway. The 4-cyliner posts an impressive average of 26 city/36 highway – though during my week-long drive, which included mostly highway driving, I never saw my MPGs creep past the high-20s.

Peek inside the cabin and you’ll see Subaru has made major steps forward with the Legacy’s interior. My test car had leather seating surfaces and a classy matte finish wood trim on the dash. The plastic used on the doors and dashboard is tough and a little rubbery, like a good water-proof work boot. At heart, Subaru is still much more L.L. Bean than Prada (and that’s okay).

It sure isn't the prettiest engine out there. But the 175-horsepower flat-4 in the Legacy has suitable power for most everyday driving needs.SUBARUIt sure isn’t the prettiest engine out there. But the 175-horsepower flat-4 in the Legacy has suitable power for most everyday driving needs.

The multi-function steering wheel has a whole lot going on in terms of all the knobs, toggle switches, and buttons that cover it. With the headrests angled forward, the front seats were comfortable and there’s plenty of room in the back for full-sized passengers. The trunk offers 15 cu. ft. of cargo room, and split-folding rear seats help boost this when needed.

The center-mounted infotainment center and touch-screen is generally a very impressive system, with its clear graphics and simple layout. I only screwed things up when trying to navigate it while using the steering wheel-mounted controls (i.e. jumping to radio tune when trying adjusting the map, or vice versa).

But with the winter sun low in the sky, the navigation screen often washed out in direct sunlight. It happened more than a few times, so I can’t chalk it up to one fluke occurrence or a particularly pesky sunrise/sunset.

The variable assist handling firms up at highway speed, but we found it too light during city driving.SUBARUThe variable assist handling firms up at highway speed, but we found it too light during city driving.

The Legacy continues Subaru’s strength when it comes to safety features. My test car was fitted with the optional blind-spot detection, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warnings, and adaptive cruise control. A rear-view camera is now standard on all Legacy sedans, as are dual front airbags, driver and passenger seat cushion airbags, full-length side-curtain bags and dual seat-mounted side pelvis/torso airbags. With all that onboard, it should come as no surprise that the new Legacy is rated a “Top Safety Pick+” after undergoing crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Oh yes, the 2015 Legacy also happens to be a very good-looking car. We know, Subaru is about going against the grain and being anti-style. Sorry, this isn’t 1992, so you’ll finally have to accept you’re not going to find a trusty Justy AWD or Loyale station-wagon at your local Subie dealer anymore. The new Legacy has a clean and upscale look, though I’d swear the new front grille and blue Subaru logo could be swapped into the front of a 2015 Ford Taurus.

Subaru seems to re-invent its look every few years, but I think this will go down as one of the more attractive generations of Legacy. It’s certainly one of the most popular, as Subaru sales continue to set records here in the U.S.

Like the front of the Legacy, the rear of the car has a squarer overall look to it.SUBARULike the front of the Legacy, the rear of the car has a squarer overall look to it.

The brand’s independent streak remains, even if the new Legacy is like a cozy restaurant you’ve known and loved for years, but a sudden burst in popularity has made it impossible to get a seat.

A handsome exterior, big steps forward in safety, better cabin materials and, let’s not forget, the standard fitment of all-wheel-drive all conspire to make the Legacy an increasingly compelling choice amongst more standard issue sedans.

The light handling still left me wondering how some have labeled the Legacy as being “like a big WRX.” Really?! No, it really isn’t – but I don’t think it’s trying to be one, at least not in 2.5i format.

Much more ‘trending’ than anti-establishment, the new 2015 Legacy is still a very solid and safe Subaru in the finest tradition of this one-time midsize sedan outlier.

2015 Subaru Outback – Ruge’s Subaru – Autoweek

13 Jan

SUBARU’S NEW OUTBACK IS A EVOLUTIONARY UPDATE, AND THERE’S PLENTY TO LIKE ABOUT IT

What is it?

The Subaru Outback is all new for the 2015 model year, though you’d be forgiven for having to do a double-take to notice that this is more than just a facelift. The Outback continues to dominate the crossover segment which it arguably pioneered, and its ubiquity on our roads is a testament to its success in the marketplace — that’s why Subaru decided not to mess with success too much in designing the fifth-generation Outback, which seeks to maximize and refine the qualities that have made it a winner.

Exterior design has taken a turn for the safe: Gone is the plastic cladding that used to adorn many an Outback’s bottom half in previous generations. The Outback has received the new version of the corporate grille, which used to change more frequently for Subaru than for most of its competitors, and the result is a cleaner, fresher front fascia. Design language used to communicate ruggedness has not departed completely, but it has migrated to the front fog light surrounds, the roof rails…. and that’s about it. The new front fascia also features a metallic chin guard, which does not diminish the relatively high departure angle of the front bumper, and it’s a nice stylistic touch that gives the Outback’s new face some balance. Out back, the design of the tail lights has retained that “mismatched” look fervently practiced by BMW; just about everything else remains similar to the outgoing model.

The 2015 Outback does not represent a major architectural redesign, though height grows by 2.2 inches and the cabin gets 2 inches of additional width on the inside — Subaru designers and engineers managed to squeeze out a bit more interior space without having to stretch the car sideways. As part of improving upon the previous model, Subaru engineers have increased torsional rigidity by 59 percent while increasing bending resistance by 39 percent thanks to liberal use of high-strength steel. The company has also tried to shed some weight where possible, giving the new Outback an aluminum hood to try to make up for gains elsewhere; the 2015 model has actually gained 170 pounds.

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

The proportions of the outgoing model have largely been retained.PHOTO BY JAY RAMEY

The powerplants haven’t changed much from the outgoing model, with a choice of a 2.5-liter flat-four and a 3.6-liter flat-six. The former produces 175 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, while the latter is good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Subaru says that the engines have been thoroughly redesigned to reduce weight and to improve fuel efficiency, though this has not necessarily translated into gains in performance over the previous versions of these engines.  The biggest change to the powertrains, then, is the debut of a continuously variable transmission replacing the manual and conventional automatic transmission. This CVT has been engineered with six “gears” for what Subaru calls manual operation via the column-mounted paddles.

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

The dash has maintained a sharp yet user-friendly design.PHOTO BY JAY RAMEY

How Does it Drive?

We spent a week driving the 2.5i Premium model, doing daily errands and occassional hardware store runs — tasks that hundreds of thousands of Outbacks do every day. And it only took a few minutes for us to appreciate just what a nicely balanced wagon (we’re calling it wagon) the Outback happens to be.

For starters, the 2015 Outback has received the better interior that Subaru puts into its cars. Some models in its lineup get the short end of the stick — they know who they are — but the quality of the interior in the Outback, even in the mid-level Premium model, is simply great. The seating position is well thought out and the seats are very supportive and ergonomic. The driver’s space is equally well designed, and everything is engineered to be within easy reach; that last detail has become somewhat overlooked in the industry, especially as automakers try to surround infotainment screens with rows of buttons. But none of that is present in the Outback. Everything is within easy reach.

The Outback’s road manners also deserve praise. Despite being a large wagon with a sizeable footprint, the Outback managed to stay pretty loose in traffic, able to move around quickly and exploit gaps with ease. We found the steering relatively communicative if not especially quick, with not too much slop dialed in, and unwilling to transfer impacts from the road into the driver’s hands. WSpeaking of impacts, the suspension soaked them up exceptionally well without letting the wagon become floaty or get unsettled in the same way a Crown Victoria taxi might. The ride quality remained fairly constant in city and highway driving, and there was not much in the way of road and tire noise in either speed category — NVH mitigation was something the company spent some time on for this redesign.

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

The rear seats offer plenty of room, even for adults.

Speaking of highway speed, the 175-hp engine in this version of the Outback, we’re certain, will be deemed adequate by the vast majority of buyers. The CVT in the Outback is a pretty well sorted unit, emitting none of the usual whining noises of CVTs, and hiding the slight power deficit of the powerplant nicely — while acceleration from 0 to 20 may be brisk, getting from 20 to 45 takes a bigger push of the accelerator and a longer wait time than we’d prefer, but that’s about the only thing we found wanting in the powertrain department. And it is a 175-hp engine, after all. At highway speeds, the boxer unit provided plenty of torque and exhibited no gaps in the power band.

We found the 2015 Outback to be just as cavernous as the outgoing model. The rear seats, in particular, deserve special mention because the amount of legroom they provide is not geared for small children only. Full-size adults will not find themselves struggling to get in and out.

The Outback 2.5i starts at $27,845 in Premium guise, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10-way power driver’s seat, dual zone climate controls, heated front seats, a windshield deicer, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and fog lights, among other smaller items. That also includes the 7-inch infotainment system, which iss among the more intuitive ones on the market today, as well as an upgraded version of the EyeSight driver assist system with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle lane departure warning. Our car stickered out at $30,340, with the biggest additions to the menu being the moonroof package, the power rear gate, and a navigation system, all three of which added $2,195.

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

The cargo/dog compartment still offers plenty of room.PHOTO BY JAY RAMEY

Do I Want It?

The station wagon is an endangered species these days and even though the Outback is credited with inventing the all-wheel drive soft-roader wagons collectively known as crossovers, it’s nice to see one getting so many things right.

The Outback is one of those rare cars on sale today getting the hang of which requires zero time. Everything is where we expected it to be, and intuitive to use. That’s a quality that’s somewhat overlooked, but everyone knows the feeling — it’s like driving a car that’s been in your family for years. The Outback has managed to nail it. Perhaps the reason there aren’t a lot of large AWD station wagons on the market these days is because the Outback has chased everyone out of this segment.

At a starting price of $27,845 for the Premium trim, the Outback is a lot of car for the money, especially considering how much less room some premium-branded crossovers will give buyers for much more money than this. There’s always the 3.6 if more power is what you need, and the Limited trim if more gadgets are your thing — even then, it’s tough to beat the Subaru Outback on value.

– See more at: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2015-subaru-outback-25i-premium-drive-review#sthash.6vCgyKXa.dpuf

2015 Subaru Legacy – Ruge’s Subaru – Detroit Free Press

7 Jan

What’s Subaru’s secret? Other automakers looked on in wonder as the little Japanese automaker racked up one sales record after another for the last several years. Competitors shook their heads, unable to figure out the secret of Subaru’s magic.

How about selling good cars at good prices, with popular features, high reliability and a strong brand image?

The 2015 Subaru Legacy makes a strong case that Subaru won its sales gains the old-fashioned way: by delighting its customers.

There’s nothing flashy about the Legacy. The midsize sedan quietly excels.

It’s a simple formula, but “simple” doesn’t mean “easy.”

Like every Subaru but the BRZ sport coupe, the Legacy has standard all-wheel drive, but its fuel economy is as good or better than most front-wheel-drive midsize sedans. The Legacy is also loaded with safety and convenience features.

Prices for the 2015 Legacy start at $21,695 with a 175-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine. All the Legacy models feature a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). A 256-hp 3.6L six-cylinder engine is available starting at $29,595. Both engines have the horizontally opposed cylinder layout that’s called the boxer design because the pistons appear to be punching toward each other. That horizontal movement makes boxers very smooth, with vibration-free running that, like all-wheel-drive, is a Subaru hallmark.

I tested a nicely equipped Legacy 2.5i Premium. Features included Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility, a touch screen, adaptive cruise control, lane departure, blind spot and cross traffic alerts, heated front seats, eight air bags, a power driver’s seat, and automatic braking to avoid collisions. It stickered at $24,990, a very good price for a midsize sedan with those features.

Outstanding value, all-wheel drive set midsize sedan apart. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

The Legacy competes with the Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat.

That’s Murderers’ Row of competitors, but the Legacy’s value and features stack up exceptionally well. Most competitors don’t even offer all-wheel drive. Those with an AWD option — Fusion and 200 — can’t match the Legacy 2.5i’s fuel economy or price. The availability of features like radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic braking for less than $25,000 also set the Legacy apart.

The Legacy is a car, not a magic carpet, so there are some trade-offs. The 2.5L engine produces less power than the competitors’ comparable engines.

The Legacy 2.5i’s acceleration is fine for leisurely jaunts around town, but the boxer is punching above its weight when asked to perform quick maneuvers at highway speeds. The drivetrain has a droning note at higher speeds. That’s not uncommon with CVTs.

The Legacy 2.5i’s EPA fuel economy rating of 26 m.p.g. in the city, 36 on the highway and 30 combined tops comparably powered models of the Malibu, 200, Fusion, Sonata, Optima, Camry and Passat.

The adaptive cruise control, collision alert and lane departure warnings operate smoothly, without the frequent noodging that mars some driver-assistance features.

The interior is roomy. The passenger compartment is one of the largest in the segment, trailing only the 2015 Hyundai Sonata in size. Head, leg and shoulder room are generous. The trunk is one of the segment’s smallest, but a wide opening and even shape make it useful.

The interior looks and feels terrific. My car had soft materials on most surfaces and attractive aluminum-look trim.

The gauges are big and legible. The voice-recognition works well for hands-free phone calls. The touch screen icons are small for use in a moving car, and the touch screen itself responds slowly.

The Legacy uses a new platform, but its exterior styling makes it easy to overlook, despite the car’s many virtues. Subaru seems to have replaced its traditional quirky looks with a conservative, almost generic approach.

That low-profile appearance will undoubtedly add to competitors’ puzzlement at Subaru’s success. The secret: build a better car.

Every 2015 Subaru earns IIHS Top Safety Pick – Ruge’s Subaru

26 Dec

Subaru 2015 lineup press photo

Just when you thought Audi and Dodge were the sultans of safety, Subaru reminds us every 2015 model in its lineup made Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick status.

A press release from Subaru said all seven of its 2015 models — Legacy, Forester, Outback, Impreza, BRZ, XV Crosstrek, and WRX (which also counts the STI) — earned Top Safety Pick status in IIHS testing.

Furthermore, five of them — Legacy, Outback, Forester, Impreza and XV Crosstrek — earned the IIHS’ top rating of Superior for front crash prevention technology, the release said. That earned them the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick + status. Subaru said the Impreza and XV Crosstrek are the only cars in the entire small car category to achieve the “superior” rating for front crash prevention. Beginning with the 2015 model year, Subaru said those two models get Subaru EyeSight driver assist technology. EyeSight includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle lane departure warning, Subaru said. Other models with available EyeSight are the Legacy, Outback, and Forester, Subaru said.

Subaru of America, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas J. Doll said, “We are very pleased that the IIHS has recognized Subaru in their recent tests. Safety is a long-time hallmark of the Subaru brand and we are proud to have the IIHS’ 2015 Top Safety Pick endorsement for every vehicle in our line-up.”

Subaru said in order to earn Top Safety Pick status, all its 2015 models had to achieve IIHS’ top rating of “good” in all four tests of high-speed frontal, side, and rollover crashes as well as the test of seats and head restraints that measures likelihood of head or neck injury in a rear-end collision. In addition, the automaker said its models had to score “good” or “acceptable” on the IIHS’ stringent small overlap crash test that has ripped the safety ratings of small and large cars to literal and figurative shreds since it was introduced to the testing regime in 2012.