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2014 Subaru Outback Overview
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Legendary as the vehicle that put the Japanese automaker on the map some 20 years ago, Subaru’s Outback wagon enters the 2014 model year with only a few small tweaks differentiating it from its 2013 iteration. This affordable 5-seat, 5-door people hauler, significantly larger than its introductory offering, again boasts exceptional cabin room and 71 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seatbacks folded, and that’s not to mention its traditional standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD).
With the deletion of the 6-cylinder-powered base 3.6R version for 2014, the Outback lineup is pared to 4 powerplant-descriptive trims, the entry-level 2.5i, the midlevel 2.5i Premium, the high-end 2.5i Limited and the top-shelf 3.6R Limited. A further improvement over last year’s 2.5i Premium edition, by the way, is the added comfort of standard heated front seats.
Giving the various 2.5i versions their go is a variable-valve-timed (VVT), 173-hp 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder (flat 4) engine. Mated with either the standard 6-speed manual transmission that graces the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium or the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s delivered with the 2.5i Limited, this 6-banger lays down 174 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the CVT is optional for the pair of lower Outback trims and comes with standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Mileage estimates, meantime, remain 24 mpg city/28 highway for the stick-shift versions and 24/30 for CVT-toting trims.
Boasting some added vroom, the Outback 3.6R Limited again sports a VVT 3.6-liter flat 6-cylinder powerplant that puts down 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque when combined with the ubiquitous 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Mileage with this thirsty 6-banger, alas, drops noticeably to 18/25, but towing capacity remains 3,000 pounds with the available trailer hitch installed.
The full-time AWD system, meantime, again allows this handy wagon to cruise with a 50/50 power split between front and rear wheels, as it stands ready to instantly transfer torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when things get dicey.
Again for 2014, standard appearance features in the base 2.5i include 16-inch steel wheels, a roof rack and a rear spoiler, while creature comforts include cloth upholstery, full power accessories, simulated alloy cabin accents and reclining, split-folding rear seatbacks. Cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering return for 2014, as do air conditioning and Bluetooth hands-free calling, while entertainment continues to be presented via a single-CD player with 4 speakers and a USB port.
Moving up to the 2.5i Premium, look for such added bling as 17-inch alloy wheels, those new-for-2014 heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 6-speaker audio with satellite radio.
The feature-laden 2.5i Limited and its up-powered 3.5R Limited sibling each return flaunting leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, added leather and simulated wood cabin accents and a 440-watt premium Harman Kardon 9-speaker stereo.
Options for all 2014 Outback trims include rear-seat DVD entertainment, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a remote garage door opener, upgraded wheels and a WiFi hotspot for Internet access. The 2.5i Premium and above trims can additionally be equipped with such options as remote engine start, a power moonroof, hard-drive-based navigation with 7-inch touchscreen, and Subaru’s touted EyeSight Driver Assist Package that boasts adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking, as well as lane-departure warnings and a pedestrian detection system. Remote engine start is also available to the 2.5i Premium and higher trims, with the pair of Limited trims additionally eligible for an available rear-view camera, Subaru’s Aha smartphone apps and unique upgrades to interior and exterior appointments.
Finally, standard safety equipment aboard the 2014 Outback catalogue remains 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, active front headrests and front side-mounted airbags. Daytime running lights also adorn all Outback trims, as do a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. Additionally, the 2.5i Premium and higher editions boast standard front fog/driving lights, and again this year, all trims remain eligible for an available security system shock sensor.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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