Subaru fans who are also real outdoor enthusiasts rejoice, because the next generation of the Outback is finally receiving some much-need off-roading equipment. Not surprising is the fact that symmetrical all-wheel drive comes standard. Ground clearance measures 8.7 inches, which is pretty impressive and matches the ground clearance on the upcoming Jeep Renegade, which is a trail-rated model.
The new Outback also benefits from an X-Mode that is geared at slow off-road driving, plus Active Torque Vectoring for improved traction when trail becomes slippery. Engineers also tweaked the traction control settings to make them more appropriate for crawling over rocks instead of through shopping mall parking lots. The changes also take advantage of the wagon’s automatic hill climb and hill descent systems, which helps the driver make ascents and descents with less risk involved, especially if there are other obstacles to consider while driving through hilly territory.
Two engine choices will be available for the 2015 model. The first is a 2.5-liter four cylinder good for 175 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque. The uprated engine is a 3.6-liter six cylinder that pumps out a potent 256 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are paired up with the only transmission offering, a Lineatronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has six faux-gear ratios and can be controlled via paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel. The CVT ratio is also altered versus other, more road-going Subaru models, again to be better suited for off-road conditions.
Despite all of these improvements, a Jeep Wrangler the Outback is not. Perhaps we will all revel in a video one day of a grungy hipster who doesn’t get this memo, but for now the improvements make the Outback a little more worthy of taking into the back country.
The 2015 Subaru Outback is set to release toward the end of 2014.