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Subaru's redesigned Outback gets updated exterior styling, better estimated gas mileage, and new drivetrain, entertainment and safety technology for the 2015 model year. Like past versions, the Outback straddles the divide between traditional wagons and crossover SUVs and comes standard with all-wheel drive. It hits dealerships this summer and will be offered in Standard, Premium, Limited and 3.6R Limited trim levels -- the latter with a six-cylinder engine.
The 2015 Outback retains its predecessor's silhouette but new sheet metal and less body cladding gives its profile a smoother look. The Outback also gets new front-end styling that takes after the redesigned Subaru Legacy sedan. New headlight enclosures and a new hexagonal grille produce more cohesive styling compared to the prior car, where it seemed like different design cues had been forced together. The base of the windshield is 2 inches forward for greater rake, the hood is now made of aluminum for less weight and the 3.6R Limited gets high-intensity-discharge low-beam headlights.
Like its predecessor, the 2015 Outback has 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Subaru has revised the doorsills to enhance stability when securing items to the roof rack, and a power liftgate is newly available. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch alloy wheels are available.
The Outback is roughly the size of its predecessor, but Subaru says shoulder room, front and rear hip room, and rear legroom have increased. The cargo area now measures 35.5 cubic feet with the rear seat up, which is 1.2 cubic feet larger than before. Maximum cargo room with the backseat folded is 73.3 cubic feet, which is 2 cubic feet more than before. The Outback now has release levers in the cargo area for the standard 60/40-split folding backseat.
There's a new 6.2-inch touch-screen CD stereo with Pandora integration, iPod connectivity, an MP3 jack and Bluetooth streaming audio. An upgraded stereo features a 7-inch touch-screen, satellite radio, text messaging capability, iTunes tagging and two USB ports. Other available features include a Harman Kardon premium stereo, a navigation system, a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, heated rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery and a power front-passenger seat.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Outback is available with a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder or a 256-hp, 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder. Subaru says the four-cylinder gains a number of enhancements to improve efficiency and enable quieter operation. All versions of the Outback use a CVT that includes steering-wheel shift paddles that let the driver simulate gear changes.
Subaru says changes to the CVT that reduce friction, new active grille shutters on four-cylinder models and electrically assisted power steering result in better gas mileage. Four-cylinder models get an estimated 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the previous four-cylinder CVT's 24/30/26 mpg estimate. Six-cylinder models are now rated at 19/27/22 mpg, which is up from 17/25/20 mpg when the car was equipped with a five-speed automatic.
The Outback's all-wheel-drive system has an electronically controlled clutch to actively transfer torque based on driving conditions and wheel slip. Hill-descent control and hill-start assist are new. Other changes include suspension revisions for better handling and ride comfort, according to Subaru, and a new torque-vectoring system that can brake the inside front wheel for more neutral cornering. Four-cylinder models get larger brake discs and all versions gain ventilated rear brake discs.
Standard features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control. There's also a backup camera, side curtain airbags that deploy when a rollover is imminent and cabin and exterior lights that automatically turn on when the driver approaches the car. Newly available features include a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert and Subaru's EyeSight system. EyeSight uses cameras to provide adaptive cruise control, precollision braking and lane departure warning.
Courtesy of Cars.com
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.