?2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring?
5th Generation Outback continues to evolve
Subaru, has not been one to make wholesale or revolutionary changes in their vehicles, but rather of accessing changing needs and varied technologies and applying them in the improvement and enhancement of their products to better serve their consumers. The fifth generation Subaru Outback, which was introduced as a 2015 model, was a perfect example of such an evolutionary process. It was an all-new version of what was the World?s first sport utility wagon. For the 2017 model year, the Japanese auto manufacturer is introducing their all-new Subaru Outback Touring, which becomes the flagship or top trim line, featuring a comprehensive upgrade over the former top Limited trim. The touring will be available as both a 2.5i and 3.6R model.
The Outback Touring model?s exterior is distinguished by a dark gray grille insert and 18-in. wheels with dark gray accents and machine-finish, low-profile roof rails in a silver finish along with lower cladding and Outback badging in chrome. A new color – Brilliant Brown Pearl is added to the exterior finish choices. Model designations identify the engine size: there will be a 2.5i base model; 2.5i Premium, Limited and Touring versions; a 3.6R Limited trim and a 3.6R Touring model.
The 2.5i engine is a DOHC 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (BOXER); with an aluminum cylinder block and heads that produces 175 horsepower along with 174 pound feet of torque, while the 3.6R engine is a DOHC 6-cylinder, horizontally opposed (BOXER); also with an aluminum cylinder block and heads that delivers 256 horses while developing 247 pound feet of torque. The four cylinder engine gears power to all four wheels via a Lineartronic? Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that includes 6-speed manual mode and steering wheel paddle shift switches, while the six-cylinder mill gears its motive force to the driving wheels through a High-torque version of the CVT transmission.
The symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system features Active Torque Split AWD with an electronically managed variable hydraulic transfer clutch that continuously varies front-to-rear torque split based on inputs from acceleration, steering angle and yaw rate sensors that can proactively transfer more torque to rear wheels or in response to wheel slip. A Driver-selectable X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases Active All-Wheel Drive engagement and uses enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to reduce individual wheel spin.
Steering is an electronic power-assisted rack and pinion affair, while braking is courtesy of power-assisted 4-wheel ventilated discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist, Brake Override and Electronic Hill Holder
The Outback Touring cabin features include: exclusive new Java Brown leather-trimmed upholstery with contrasting ivory stitching; a heated steering wheel, unique wood grain interior finish and piano-black switch panel accents. Both Limited and Touring trim models now feature standard Reverse Automatic Braking, High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive remains as standard fare across the model line.
The 2017 Subaru Outback occupies a similar footprint as its 4th generation predecessor, but provides more interior room. The Cargo area measures 35.5 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, while maximum capacity with the standard remote 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks folded is now 73.3 cu. ft. In addition, the load floor provided by the lowered seats lay flatter, and rear seatback release levers in the cargo area add to convenience.
Visually, the new Outback showcases a bolder, more athletic look with sharper, sculpted lines, with a new front fascia that blends Subaru?s signature hexagonal grille and bumper into a single, smooth unit. The aluminum hood reduces weight over the front wheels, which aids in steering response provided by the Electric Power Assisted Steering.
The Outback continues to provide 8.7-in. of ground clearance, which is higher than some SUVs, yet with low step-in height for comfort. Approach angle is 19.3 degrees, Departure Angle is 22.7 degrees, and the Breakover Angle is 20.0 degrees. New step-style doorsills have been integrated to allow one to stand firmly when securing objects to the roof rails with integrated retractable crossbars and tie downs. A power rear gate with memory height is available, and there is a Pin-Code Access located in the rear gate.
The Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring adds over 2.5i Limited the following: black side cladding with chrome insert; body-color exterior door handles with chrome insert; dark gray wheels and front grille insert; EyeSight? Driver Assist Technology (including High Beam Assist headlights and Reverse Automatic Braking system);
gloss-black finish switch bezels; a heated steering wheel; Java Brown perforated leather-trimmed upholstery with ivory stitching; a rear bumper cover;
Silver metallic with wood grain cabin trim; and Silver-finish roof rails with black end caps.
My test 20127 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring model sported the new Brilliant Brown Pearl exterior hue, which was nicely complemented by the Java Brown lather trimmed upholstery. The base sticker read $35,995. While the final price tag came to $36,870 after adding the Destination and Delivery charge.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring model provides a roomy interior, with space for 5 and their gear. Fuel efficiency is the highest in the model?s 20- plus year history.
Infotainment and connectivity are high quality, enhancing both the driving and riding experience, and this latest Subaru Outback is loaded with thoughtful, innovative features that deliver a higher level of versatility and functionality than ever before. The wider step door sills provide solid footing when loading and securing items on the roof rails, which feature cross rails that fold and stow longitudinally when not in use, thereby reducing drag and aiding in added efficiency. EPA estimated fuel economy, by the way is 25/32 city/hwy for the 2.5i-liter 4-cylinder.
The new Outback performs capably, both on and off road. The 2.5i Premium model is likely be the volume leader, as it is totally adequate in terms of acceleration and is capable of towing up to 2,700 pounds with a 200-lb trailer tongue weight.
The ride quality for the Subaru Outback Touring is firm, yet compliant, soaking up potholes and dips with ease and comfort. Handling attributes are ideal for on or off-road sojourns, with positive steering input and stable, road-holding capability with the revised and redesigned front and rear suspension geometry.
The Adaptive Cruise Control and EyeSight features are instrumental in collision avoidance, and will bring the Outback to a complete stop without driver intervention.
Bottom line, Subaru owners love them, illustrated by the fact that are more than enough Subarus in operation in the Northwest to qualify them as that region?s official vehicle. The 2017 Subaru Outback in any of its forms is a gem for those with active lifestyles, or for simply safe, dependable family transportation in comfort.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring
Base Price: $35,995.
Price as Tested: $36,870.
Engine Type and Size: 2.5i DOHC, 16-valve, horizontally opposed (BOXER) with Active Valve Control System and sequential multi-port fuel injection with multi-spray injectors and Electronic Throttle Control System.
Horsepower (bhp): 175 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 174 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: Lineartronic? CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) includes 6-speed manual mode and steering wheel paddle shift switches and X-Mode with Hill descent.
Drive Train: Front ? flat mounted engine / Symmetrical AWD with Active Torque Split and electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch, Standard driver-selectable X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases Active All-Wheel Drive engagement and uses enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control system to reduce individual wheel spin. Vehicle Dynamics Control with electronic traction control Active Torque Vectoring; Hill Start Assist; Hill Descent Control.
Suspension: Front – Engine cradle, MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double wishbone with subframe and stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted 4-wheel vented discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist, Brake Override and Electronic Hill Holder?
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport P 225/60 R18 A/S mounted on sculpted ?V? spoke Machined and Dark Gray painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 108.1 inches
Length Overall: 189.6 inches
Width: 66.5 inches with crossbars in position.
Height: 72.4 inches
Curb Weight: 3,856 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.1 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 25 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.