New for 2017

2017 marks the debut of a new top-of-the-line Outback Touring trim, which includes every single available option and adds unique leather and exterior trim. Other improvements include standard aluminum-alloy wheels on all models. Meanwhile, the optional EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology package gets reverse automatic braking and automated high beam headlight control. 

The Path to Discovery 

The 2017 Subaru Outback is perhaps one of the most unique vehicles ever created. For starters, it's a midsize wagon that comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it a top choice for slick road conditions. It also benefits from more ground clearance than all but the most rugged SUVs, meaning you can venture off the beaten path without much worry (AWD will help here, too).

But the 2017 Subaru Outback isn't just a vehicle for the would-be adventurer; it's also very capable in and around town too, thanks to its excellent fuel economy, an abundance of interior and cargo space, and family-friendly features. Is it the best Outback ever made? Let's find out...

Performance

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder serves as the base engine for the 2017 Outback. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and generates 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque.

Earlier we praised the Outback's fuel economy -- and for good reason. The confident wagon features active grille shutters and electric power steering in order to boost fuel economy. As such, the Outback returns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway).*

If it’s extra power you crave, the Outback can get its motivation from an available 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that serves up 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. It is also mated to a CVT and returns an equally impressive 22 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).*

Naturally, all-wheel drive is standard on all Outback models. Likewise, all Outback models come with hill descent and hill start assist, making things a little easier on drivers in hilly areas. There's also an X-Mode that enhances the Outback’s off-road capability, which itself is aided by the Outback's 8.7 inches of ground clearance. 

Features 

The 2017 Subaru Outback seats five and offers the same level of utility as a full-blown SUV—all at a reasonable starting price of $25,645.* It’s available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 3.6R Limited, and 3.6R Touring. The numbers refer directly to engine type.

Positioned as the “base” model, the 2.5i comes well-stocked with all the features you could ever want—and then some. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rack rails, and full power accessories. Inside, the 2.5i comes with an elegant 6.2-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and four-speaker sound system, complete with Bluetooth® and smartphone support. The 60/40-split folding rear seats make storing extra cargo virtually effortless.

Step up to the 2.5i Premium and you get all the 2.5i’s equipment, along with fog lights and heated mirrors. Inside, upgrades include an eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and upgraded gauge cluster.  Other goodies include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and upgraded six-speaker sound system.  The touchscreen interface also expands from 6.2-inches to seven inches.

If it’s the finer things you desire, then the 2.5i Limited was made just for you. It features a host of additional upgrades from the already jam-packed 2.5i Premium, like 18-inch alloys, active fog lights that turn with the direction of the front wheels, a power lift gate, and a number of driver assistance technology, such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited also gets leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and a nine-speaker harmon/kardon® premium sounds system.

The 3.6R Limited gets all the content of the 2.5i Limited, xenon headlights, and an upgraded 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine.

The Premium and Limited trims can be further upgraded with navigation system technology added to the seven-inch touchscreen. They are also eligible for the Driver Assist Technology package that includes the EyeSight® suite of safety technologies, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, steering-responsive fog lights, and upgraded gauges. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems are included in the Premium version of that package.

Finally, all of the above can be had on the new-for-2017 Touring trims, both of which also feature their own unique exterior and interior elements.

Design

Handsome and high-riding: two descriptions that neatly sum up the 2017 Outback. In keeping with Subaru’s overarching new design theme, the Outback sports a large trapezoidal grille flanked by neatly integrated headlights and taillights.  

Returning fans will be pleased with the traditional fog lights, and despite the vehicle’s smart exterior, the Outback retains a number of more athletic – dare we say rugged – design touches, like extensive body cladding and roof rails. Overall, it’s a cohesive design that serves as the ideal evolution of the Outback’s already charming style.

While the Outback’s exterior is built to withstand even the most inhospitable climates, the interior is a welcome respite from nature’s wrath. The layout is smart, clean, and very hospitable. The new standard 6.2-inch touchscreen is a welcome addition to an already compelling package, and occupants are sure to enjoy the spacious front and rear quarters.

As with any utility vehicle worth its price, the Outback provides plenty of room for cargo. With up to 35.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat and 73.3 with the seatbacks folded down, owners should have no trouble hauling luggage, groceries, or even the family pet. There is also the added convenience of rear-seat fold-down levers in the cargo area for easier access.

Safety

With its symmetrical all-wheel drive and standard safety features, the 2017 Subaru Outback is as sure-footed as it is secure. In addition to front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and new seat cushion airbags, the Outback is outfitted with a standard rearview camera.

Higher trim levels give owners access to some truly innovative technologies, too. Subaru’s award-winning EyeSight® system protects occupants with a number of driver assistance technologies, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system. For 2017, the EyeSight® system has been enhanced with reverse automatic braking and automated high beam headlight control.

Additionally, EyeSight® can detect pedestrians and is able to apply the brakes if the driver takes no evasive action.

Verdict

The 2017 Subaru Outback is roomy and filled with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a Subaru. It’s a remarkably reliable ride that doesn’t sacrifice comfort for composure. In fact, the Outback doesn’t restrict itself to any type of road, and you’ll soon find out after driving one for yourself that neither will you.

For more information, or to test drive one for yourself, contact or visit Herb Gordon Subaru at 3161 Automobile Blvd, Silver Spring, MD 20904.

*EPA-estimated fuel economy. Actual mileage may vary.

**Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.

Image Credit: Subaru