- Suspension updates from 2013 improve ride and handling
- Rugged styling and plenty of ground clearance for happy outdooring
- Two engine options: 173-hp four-cylinder or a 256-hp flat-six
Fresh off a 2013 refresh, the versatile 2014 Subaru Outback is back relatively unchanged and sporting the same rugged appearance and standard all-wheel drive for easier off-roading. This midsize crossover competes with other wagon-like SUVs like the Toyota Venza, Volvo XC60, and Honda Crosstour.
A 173-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the base Outback model, with the 3.6R and 3.6R Premium models get a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine. The boxer engine, a signature of Subaru vehicles, employs a horizontal (flat) design, which places the engine in-line with the drive train to maximize power and fuel efficiency. A six-speed manual transmission is offered standard, while a CVT or five-speed adaptive electronic automatic transmission are optional. Paddle shifters are available on the base/mid trims and standard on premium trim levels. The Outback also offers, of course, standard all-wheel drive.
The four-cylinder Outback delivers the better fuel economy ratings: 24/30 mpg city/highway, while the six-cylinder Outback pulls in ratings of 18/25 mpg city/highway.
The Outback includes cloth upholstery (leather upholstery is available) and ten-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Reclining rear seats are standard and the rear seatback folds in a 65/35-split configuration. Heated front seats are included with the All-Weather Package. Air conditioning is standard and dual-zone climate control is available. The base audio system includes a USB port with iPod integration, Bluetooth audio streaming, and hands-free phone connectivity. Premium audio systems are available, including a Harman Kardon premium audio system with HD and XM satellite radio systems. Other tech options include voice-activated GPS navigation with a seven-inch touch screen and a Power Moonroof Package with a power tilt/sliding-glass moonroof, auto-diming rearview mirror, and rear-vision camera.
The Outback features rugged styling with standard roof rails and integrated retractable cross bars for extra storage. An All-Weather Package includes a windshield wiper de-icer and heated side mirrors. Exterior styling accents include black folding side mirrors and body-color door handles. Body-color folding side mirrors and a front underguard are available. Standard wheels feature sixteen-inch steel covers, but the optional seventeen-inch, six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels are the more attractive option.
Standard safety features include dual stage front, side-curtain, and front seat side pelvis/torso airbags, antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control. A collapsible steering column and rollover sensor are included, and a rear vision camera and driver assistance system, with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning functions, are available.
The 2014 Outback remains an excellent all-weather vehicle, which thanks to its updated suspension is just at home on the road or the trail, in the sun or in the snow.