Subaru sees wider appeal for Outback

Gen-5 model adds agility, interior refinements

The slope of the windshield has been increased.

NEW YORK -- The redesigned Subaru Outback is more agile, has better driving dynamics, more contemporary styling and better fuel economy than the model it replaces, said Tom Doll, president of Subaru of America.

Those features guarantee "it will appeal to a wider audience," said Doll.

The 2015 Outback was unveiled at the New York auto show where the first version of the crossover debuted 20 years ago. The fifth-generation Outback goes on sale in June.

Doll said he's convinced the Outback will outsell the current generation because more buyers are putting the brand on their shopping lists. The Outback and the smaller Forester are Subaru's top sellers in the United States. Which is No. 1 depends on the product cycle, he said.

Outback sales were flat last year at 118,049. Through March, Outback sales rose 3 percent to 28,926. The crossover is produced at Subaru's factory in Lafayette, Ind.

The 2015 uses carryover engines. The 2.5i has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine putting out 175 hp, and the 3.6-liter 3.6R has a six-cylinder Boxer engine with 256 hp.

Subaru said all of the trim lines have more standard features and new infotainment systems.

To give the Outback a more modern look, Subaru raked the windshield more, pulling it forward at the base. The new windshield position, new front partition windows and door-mounted wide mirrors help improve visibility.

The Outback keeps its 8.7-inch ground clearance but adds a step-style doorsill. A power rear gate with memory height is available, and is standard on some models.

Inside, Subaru added more premium soft-touch materials and thicker cushioning for the armrests and the center console. The instrument panel has been redesigned and made sportier looking. It features a standard 3.5-inch center LCD information display.

The Outback's proportions change slightly to improve interior room. The wheelbase grows 0.2 inch to 108.1 inches, overall length grows 0.6 inch to 189.6 inches and width grows 0.7 inch to 72.4 inches. The interior cabin room expands to 108.1 cubic feet, from 105.4 cubic feet.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@autonews.com -- Follow Diana T. on Twitter: @dianakurylko

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