The 2016 Subaru Outback makes a strong statement.
There are times when a gal wants to look capable and times when she wants to look helpless. When I’m behind the wheel of a car, I want to feel in control. So the all wheel drive Subaru Outback gives me that feeling of power; I can off-road with ease, or pilot my way through the cobblestones of Red Hook.
Who is this car for?
If you are more interested in loading a flat of perennials into your vehicle than buying the perfect pair of aubergine flats, then the 2016 Subaru Outback is for you. It’s a value vehicle,it’s loaded with safety features and gets awesome fuel economy for an all wheel drive SUV. As someone concerned with environment – as is Subaru, a sponsor of the National Parks and the proud recipient of a zero-waste moniker at its Indiana plant, where the Subaru is built – I loved that the Outback gets 28 miles per gallon.
Sure, a power opening sunroof is great – and the 2016 Subaru Outback has one. But that shade cover, the one you often forget to close until you’ve already turned the vehicle off? Not really so necessary. In the Subaru, you reach up and push the shade closed and you know what? That’s fine.
And that gas tank. Sometimes it is not so easy to figure out which side the gas tank is on, or how to open the locking cap. Subaru makes it a no-brainer for you; as you get into the car, there’s the gas tank icon. Oh – just pop this. There’s no hidden button or need to rely on anyone to help you find how to fill your tank.
One little surprise: this was the first new car I’d driven in a long time that didn’t have a push button start; you actually have to insert a key. Perhaps this is because most DIY-ers prefer to do things themselves?
I did a little spring cleaning the week I had the Subaru, and I filled the roomy trunk with outgrown clothes and toys that are cluttering my empty nest. The Outback has an automatic lift gate, so loading and unloading the truck was simple. And the trunk cover was simple to use and it hid my stuff, though my husband pointed out the irony of protecting items I was donating.
There are also roof rails if you need to bring along a kayak or canoe; the SUV is truly ready for adventure. And isn’t the “wilderness green” color cool?
Tech that could use an upgrade
The navigation system can’t be used by a passenger; there is no override when the vehicle is moving. The voice recognition system sorely tested my patience; it came up with wildly outrageous suggestions (when I said Scarsdale, it suggested Louisiana) and if you are driving within your state, you should be able to input an address without repeating the state; usually a GPS ‘finds’ you so you can just add a street address. This one did not and I found the navigation to be slow and unresponsive.
Audio gets the thumbs up
On the other hand, the Sirius XM radio is super easy to use; there are knobs for both volume and station changes, which makes finding tunes intuitive. There are also steering mounted controls so you can keep your eyes on the road. I appreciated the ease of using the knobs and voice control; like most people, I hate consulting the thick books that come with cars nowadays, preferring to figure it all out on my own.
Safety enhancements, on or off road
The Outback has just about every driver assist technology available: pre-collision braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and lane sway warning, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist. On the windy Bronx River Parkway, I got frequent warnings that I was leaving my lane, but it was just a warning light, which was helpful but not intrusive.
If all the safety precautions fail, the Outback has a free year of Subaru Starlink. This connected vehicle service includes automatic collision notification; if an airbag is deployed in your vehicle, Subaru sends a first responder. Starlink also offers emergency assistance, stolen vehicle recovery, and diagnostic reports of your Outback.
What I loved
- Feeling of control with all wheel drive
- Power moonroof
- Lots of advanced safety features
- Smooth ride no matter the terrain
What you need to know
- Base price $27,695; price for model we drove with power moon-roof, navigation system, and advanced safety features, $32,035
- Fuel economy: 33 miles per gallon the highway, 25 in the city and 28 combined
- 5 star government safety rating
- Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles basic and 24/7 roadside assistance
- 5 years / 60,000 miles powertrain
- 5 years / unlimited mileage rust perforation
Note: Subaru loaned me the Outback for this review; opinions and power are all my own.