Subaru is taking a bit of a measured risk with its new generation of Legacy and Outback. While they ride on a slightly larger platform than before, with a revised front-end design, neither of them looks to be a radical departure from models they replace. Instead of focusing on exterior styling, the Japanese brand is trying to make the vehicles better to own with more sound deadening, improved fuel economy and more available tech. Pricing for the 2015 Outback isn't available yet, but with the 2015 Legacy pricing as a guide, it's likely a few hundred dollars more than the current model.

We just had our first stab at the new Legacy, which is slated to go on sale this summer, but Consumer Reports managed to snag an early look at the 2015 Outback in a sort of mini-review to get an idea of how the new model shakes out. Like many, we'd wager, CR isn't completely sold on the new styling, but seems otherwise moderately impressed by the upgrades. The improvements to the interior and infotainment system are especially well received by them. Naturally, though, CR notes that not everything is perfect with the high-riding wagon.

Scroll down to watch CR's preview of the new Outback and see what it thinks of this practical family hauler.


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  • 42 Comments
      rbnhd1144
      • 7 Months Ago
      Great safety ratings, all wheel drive, easy entry and exit height, decent luggage space and OK quality all for $25.000, I think its a great deal, plus I love the new rounded off design, I've long been a fan of Subaru, I think this will be my next car... I see it as a Volvo wagon for $20.000 less.
        gary
        • 7 Months Ago
        @rbnhd1144
        Subaru has pretty much out-Volvoed Volvo, haven't they?
      jonnybimmer
      • 7 Months Ago
      Huh, well now I feel a little hypocritical about myself; On one hand, I think the Legacy sedan we've been seeing is the blandest thing to ever come out of Subaru. But on the other hand, the exact same treatment done to the Outback ends up looking pretty decent. For some reason, it reminds me of the '05 Legacy which is not a bad thing at all since I still think it's the best looking of all the Legacy gen's.
      Orson
      • 7 Months Ago
      I find the overall styling much improved over the current generation, and the value it packs for the price is amazing. If only they could bolt a small turbo to the 2.5 to squeeze out more than the current 174 hp. I love the fact it gets an estimated 33 mpgs on highway, but would be willing to sacrifice a little efficiency for a little more zip. It's a fullsize awd wagon, with less power than my old lighter 1.8t Jetta from 10 years ago. Otherwise, I think they knocked it out of the park.
      pickles
      • 7 Months Ago
      Maybe it's a pre-production model but looking at the seat backs of the front seats, when the video demonstrated how the rears fold- jeesh- they looked as if they'd been sewn by a blindfolded person/machine.Pretty puckered and shoddy. I noticed the same on the XV Crosstrek I just road tested. Subaru is neat but the interiors are still a little crude. Giant praise for the good visibility though. So many cars have pillars like the Parthenon.
        gary
        • 7 Months Ago
        @pickles
        It is a pre-production model. The plant is still building 2014s.
      357 Sig
      • 7 Months Ago
      As a current Outback XT owner, no manual, I'll pass.
        hokkaido76
        • 7 Months Ago
        @357 Sig
        With that attitude, your choices in cars will get slimmer and slimmer as the years go on. The manual is in it's terminal phase now.
          hokkaido76
          • 7 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          I'm just stating the facts (no need to get hostile and act like I'm kicking your dog). If he wants to protest over manuals not being offered, he's welcome to do that (at the end of the day, automakers really don't care though). Oh, and those "choices" won't be around for much longer (at least in "brand new" form).
          krusshall
          • 7 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          So what and so be it. It's his/her prerogative to determine what is a must-have feature. And yes there are still choices out there.
      billfrombuckhead
      • 7 Months Ago
      Consumer Reports= public relations arm of JapanInc Which publication will have the cojones to do a comparison with the new Chrysler 200 AWD and this latest TRDbaru and let Mighty Mopar destroy this obsolete TRD
      moa
      • 7 Months Ago
      outback and forester sadly stopped being "high-riding wagons" couple generations ago. stop calling them that, they are full-fledged suvs now.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @moa
        That is not true. The current Outback is the same car as the Legacy stationwagon sold overseas. Only difference is our Outback has a jacked up suspension and larger tires tucked under it. So jacked-up wagon is indeed the correct description of this car.
        dinobot666
        • 7 Months Ago
        @moa
        Wouldn't something like a body on frame vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota 4Runner be full-fledged SUVs? Both the Forester and the Outback are still based on a car chassis, and as such are fundamentally cars, that look sorta like trucks.
          rsholland
          • 7 Months Ago
          @dinobot666
          So the unit-body Grand Cherokee, Land Rover, etc. aren't SUVs?
        John Reid
        • 7 Months Ago
        @moa
        Hahaha that's what I keep telling myself, but my friends still make fun of me for driving a wagon. However with my dark tint. I always remind the officer thats its an SUV
      Hector Djibaou
      • 7 Months Ago
      While I wouldn't say that I'm a die-hard Subaru fan, I have to give them praise on giving a very good package for the cost. I own the WRX and now with an upcoming family, I'm looking at a wagon or sedan with decent fuel efficiency, good handling (especially in not so common weather) and space. While there maybe a few choices (i.e. Mazda 6 as the main), not many can offer what Subaru brings to the table with their legacy ... would be better if they brought the Levorg Concept here stateside (but w/e). Also I will say that, I wrote Subaru a page long complain about the fact that most automakers don't offer rear heated seats unless they are part of some expensive option. Why this still happens made absolutely no sense to me, I mean why buy something with four doors and only have front heated seats if you plan on carrying people especially in cold climates. Well, happy to say that I had my gripe answered with the new Legacy ... yes, now they offer rear heated seats (I think as a base trim - could be mistaken). Way to listen Subaru, and hence why it has soo many fans!
        Bruce Lee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Hector Djibaou
        Yeah, I have to say that while the interior isn't really the most luxurious the features you can get equipped on Subarus are pretty much unmatched in the class...EyeSight, heated seats even on the cloth trim, all wheel drive...all great to have available in an affordable car. Not really surprising why their sales keep climbing despite the sometimes questionable styling. It does make me kinda sad that the XV already outsells all the sedans though-if the sedans don't sell then it's unlikely that Subaru will ever bring back the non-lifted wagons.
      Jess B
      • 7 Months Ago
      The EPA allows automobile companies to make minor modifications to their jacked-up wagons and hatchbacks so that they qualify as light-duty trucks and help the company's truck mileage numbers without affecting the car mileage numbers. Gaming the system. It's the name of the game!
        Thunderbuck
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Jess B
        While you could make that argument about stuff like the Chrysler PT Cruiser (yes, it was classified as a "truck" for EPA purposes), Subaru doesn't actually MAKE trucks or stuff that needs the offset of the better MPG for fleet average purposes.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 7 Months Ago
      It looks more or less identical to the current one. Why did they even bother to go through the motions of releasing the new model? Why not just stick with the current sheetmetal?
        Jess B
        • 7 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Appearances are subjective I realize, but this new 2015 model is an evolutionary improvement and definitely looks better than the 2010-2014 generation. Look at Porsche with its 911 and BMW with its 3-series. Some generations look great while others stumbled. The 2010-2014 Outback was okay looking but certainly not Subaru's best work. This new 2015 Outback will help rectify the styling missteps of the outgoing model.
        bluemoonric
        • 7 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Porsche has been doing it for decades.
          bluemoonric
          • 7 Months Ago
          @bluemoonric
          Sorry Jess B. I should have read farther before commenting.
      Ryan Lynn
      • 7 Months Ago
      Gonna buy an Outback soon- can't decide if I should wait for this new model, or snag an outgoing one. So far it sounds like there's not really a "must have" feature in the new one that I'd feel like I would be missing out on.
        rsholland
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Ryan Lynn
        Not sure what you're looking for. I was at the debut at the NY auto show and got to examine the new Outback and Legacy closely. I would say there are a ton of refinements and small/large upgrades over the the outgoing models. The infotainment (navigation, etc.) is a *major* and long overdue upgrade, plus gas mileage is better. If I were you I would definitely wait for the new model.
          rsholland
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rsholland
          @ SethG Reportedly it is much quieter. Even the *glass* is quieter. Who knows how they did that. This is just one example of the refinements made.
          SethG
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rsholland
          I guess the point is that there isn't too much different in terms of overall appearance and effect. They didn't even change the blocky cladding along the sides that was out of date when they added it to the prior generation. Just as everyone was making their crossovers look less like trucks, Subaru was going in the other direction and they've stuck with it. I would agree that the design of the dash is a huge improvement and the nav/infotainment on the prior generation was just awful. If this stuff is important to you, definitely wait for the new one. Of course, I haven't driven the new one yet so can't comment on the impact of any of the under-the-skin changes. But any additional sound insulation would be appreciated.
      James John
      • 7 Months Ago
      Subie makes some awesome but ugly cars.
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