The new-gen Outback boasts an SUV-like 8.7 inches of ground clearance, yet has a lower profile than other crossovers, easing the task of loading gear onto its roof.
Subaru customers tend to be outdoorsy, “active-lifestyle” types to whom opulence holds limited appeal. Strong sales -- Subaru is experiencing its fifth straight year of sales growth -- suggest that hard-plastic interior surfaces and lackluster navigation and audio systems are of little concern.
The 2014 Outback is offered with two engines. A 173-hp 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (“boxer”) four-cylinder engine powers 2.5i trims and is paired with either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT).