New For 2014The 2014 Subaru Outback sees minor changes. Subaru's EyeSight system is now available on 2.5i Premium models, and a rearview camera is now included with the power moonroof package on Premium and Limited models. The base model (the 2.5i) gets a new alloy-wheel package that includes foglamps and seventeen-inch all-season tires over aluminum wheels. Aha integration is included with the navigation system for all models.
Vehicle SummaryThe Subaru Outback is a great alternative to a sport-utility vehicle. Offering much better ride and handling than an average SUV plus standard all-wheel drive -- usually an expensive option on utility vehicles -- the Outback will do most of what a crossover can do on a lot less gasoline. The continuously variable transmission is allegedly maintenance-free for the life of the vehicle and uses a chain for greater durability instead of the industry-standard Kevlar belt. We recommend the 3.6-liter engine, because the Outback is a little on the heavy side and merging into traffic with the four-cylinder can be tense since the vehicle takes its time getting up to speed.
Subaru is known for its safety features. Stability and traction control are standard across the 2014 Subaru Outback line. A backup camera is included with the power moonroof option group and displays the image in the rearview mirror, so the camera is available even if you decide to forgo the navigation system. If you do opt for navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror is one of the benefits. A revised four-cylinder engine and CVT allow the Outback to return up to 30 mpg.
OverviewIf you live in the suburbs, it's likely that most -- if not all -- of your neighbors drive SUVs. The truth is Americans want to be able to haul just about everything they own in all weather conditions, even if they never actually carry more than a few bags of groceries at a time. Anyone looking for the ability to conquer snow, rain, and muddy two-track roads without giving up the low center of gravity of a normal car should consider the 2014 Subaru Outback. In other words, the Outback will do virtually everything a mid-size SUV can do and get significantly better fuel economy at the same time.
We spent a year with a Subaru Outback and hauled everything from prize-winning show dogs to the luggage for a family of four to a small trailer. It handled each of those tasks, and all the mundane daily driving we did, with ease. We loved the plush seats and the ample rear-seat legroom. Oh, the reclining seatbacks in the back are great, too. Our biggest complaint with the interior was the clunky navigation system that proved neither easy to use nor particularly effective at plotting the best route. Thankfully, it's easy to option an Outback without navigation but still get a moonroof or other electronic goodies such as a rearview camera and EyeSight. EyeSight is Subaru's driver-assistance system that includes a precollision braking system, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Comfortable and capable of delivering the family almost anywhere in any weather, the 2014 Subaru Outback is an unsung utility-vehicle hero. Although it may not be the first vehicle that comes to mind for people who need to haul lots of stuff, the Outback just may be the best choice because it handles more like a car than an SUV and it also goes farther on a gallon of gas.
- Handles like a car
- Hauls like an SUV
- Quite comfortable
You won't like:
- CVT isn't for everyone
- Six-cylinder is thirsty
- Subpar navigation system
- Ford Escape
- GMC Terrain
- Jeep Cherokee
- Toyota Highlander