Review: 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Monday December 29th, 2014 at 12:1212 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

By David Colman

Hypes: Penurious Porsche
Gripes: Tiny, Slippery Radio Buttons

Only 2 automotive manufacturers build opposed 6 cylinder engines today. Subaru and Porsche. Because this unique design is by definition flat rather than vertical, it allows lower placement in the vehicle, which in turn assures a lower center of gravity. A lower CG in turn improves handling and balance. The entry price for any Porsche with opposed 6 power starts at more than $60,000 for the entry level Boxster, and soars to over $200,000 for a 911 turbo. But if you want similar engineering for much less money, opt for the 3.6R version of the Subaru Outback, which features a 3.6 liter “BOXER” 6 cylinder engine producing healthy doses of both horsepower (256hp) and torque (247 lb.-ft.). Think of the 3.6R Outback Limited, with its base price of $32,995, as the pauper’s Porsche.

2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Although you can order an Outback with the base 4 cylinder, 173hp engine for as little as $23,495, the 3.6R is definitely the way to go. By choosing the flat 6, you assure yourself of enough scoot to maximize passing opportunities beyond the capacity of the 4 cylinder motor. The flat 6 is coupled to one of the happiest Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) available today. Subaru’s “Lineartronic” CVT offers a spread of 6 pseudo gear sets that allow you to manipulate the power and torque output of the 3.6R engine to maximum effect. The drive train in this Outback affords gratifyingly instantaneous thrust when you select the appropriate simulated gear ratio from the 6 steps available. Newly developed active torque vectoring keeps each wheel churning at maximum effective speed.

However, such straight line zip would be worthless without corner taming suspension refinement. But Subaru has that eventuality covered as well thanks to an all new platform for the Outback for 2015 featuring standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive. Subaru products have long been the favorite choice of motorists living in inclement weather regions because of their AWD prowess. This Outback has absolutely no trouble pinning its power to the ground no matter how hard you crack the throttle of its rambunctious flat 6. A MacPherson strut front suspension works in consort with a double wishbone independent rear layout to provide reasonably crisp handling while maintaining enough road clearance (8.7 inches) to let you tackle outback roads in your Outback. Helping in this regard are a stout set of mud and snow rated Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires (225/60R18) mounted on special Limited edition 18 inch alloy rims.

2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

The 2015 Outback Limited is without question the most luxurious Subaru built to date. The first thing you notice inside the cabin is an abundance of soft touch surfaces wherever your hands come to rest. The perforated leather seats are a pleasure to fondle, but could do with more upper torso support. Particularly attractive is the genuine open pore woodwork that adorns the dash face and door panels. Unlike Subaru clatter boxes of yore, this Limited is regally silent and well insulated. An acoustically damped windshield along with new liquid engine mounts account for these welcome sounds of silence.

The new platform design, though only marginally larger than the one it replaces, yields dramatic gains in interior room, which increases to 108 cubic feet, of which 73 cubic feet can be dedicated to cargo. Slipping a full size bicycle through the hatchback of this Subaru is really a simple operation. First, you remove the tubular privacy screen from its location behind the rear seat by compressing a spring fitting. Flip the 60/40 split rear seats forward using a single latch outboard of each seat. Use your key fob remote to activate the automatic lift gate, then slip your bike into the vast rear cargo area which is neatly protected by a vast rubberized mat. Pushing a handy button located on the tailgate door shuts the lift gate automatically.

2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Life is thus easy with Outback. It’s faster than you think, more nimble than it looks, yet still every bit as practical and affordable as you’ve come to expect from Subaru. For 2015, this dependable companion has gotten better without getting bigger, and faster without getting thirstier. The virtues of Subaru’s clever wagon/SUV have long been a well kept secret among all wheel drive enthusiasts. Try the 3.6R Limited and you’ll find out why it’s so highly acclaimed by its loyal fan base.

2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

  • Engine: 3.6 Liter Boxer 6
  • Horsepower: 256hp at 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 247 lb.-ft. at 4,400rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 20 MPG City/27MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $36,040
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R Review

Friday May 4th, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Posted by: AKramer

By Alex Kramer


  • Potent 3.6 L 6-cylinder engine
  • Off-road capability of an SUV
  • Luxurious interior
  • Plenty of cargo room
  • Excellent value


  • On-road handling is disappointingly soft
  • Exterior design is a step backwards
  • Mediocre premium audio system

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For years Subaru has marketed its Legacy Outback as the SUV alternative for the outdoor crowd, with all the practicality and off-road capability of an SUV, but minus the bad SUV on-road handling. Which makes the fully redesigned 2010 Outback (the Legacy name has been dropped entirely) a bit of a head-scratcher, since it is bigger and more SUV-like in every way, from the increased height, width, and length, to the more SUV style appearance and ride. The increasing popularity of car-based crossovers must have convinced the engineers at Subaru that being an SUV isn’t that bad after all.

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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Review – A safe car for the storm of the decade.

Friday February 19th, 2010 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: Francois

2010 Subaru Outback visiting Bear Valley, CA

By Francis Cebedo


  • New double-wishbone rear suspension and other chassis enhancements deliver smoothest, quietest ride ever in an Outback.
  • 9 cubic feet more room over previous model
  • Ample hidden storage compartment under the rear panel
  • Excellent fuel economy at 22 city/29 hwy
  • Feels ultra safe
  • 6-speed manual
  • Reclining rear seats
  • Innovative parking brake release
  • Very comfortable travel car


  • Redesign is tall and unattractive
  • 170 hp engine feels underpowered
  • No turbocharged or diesel engine options
  • Very uninspired handling car
  • It’s a safe and practical car but the fun is less
  • Side mirrors do not fold back
  • The heated seats seem to completely shut off and on for long periods

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2009 Subaru Outback Review – the car that loves the outdoors, no matter the conditions!

Thursday March 5th, 2009 at 9:33 AM
Posted by: hollyrrr

2009 Subaru Outback
By Holly R.


  • Really decent acceleration in “sport” and “sport sharp” mode
  • Lots of room in the seats and back of the car
  • Drives great in off-road type conditions (grass, gravel, dirt), and handled a terribly stormy day (wind and sideways rain) with aplomb
  • Tinted windows were a nice touch both for security and curb appeal


  • No built-in Bluetooth®
  • Tinted windows limit outward vision


I’d rented an Outback on an out of town trip before, but that was before I started writing car reviews! I was curious about how it would stand up to a real test, and knew that if the weather sucked, the car would certainly not let me down. It was like the weather knew too… So I was able to test this car in some pretty crappy conditions. Excellent!

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Subaru Outback vs. Jeep Wrangler – Finding the better sand machine.

Friday September 19th, 2008 at 6:99 AM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

By Kurt Gensheimer

I stepped up to the rental desk at Norfolk International and asked for a Jeep. Any Jeep, so long as it had four wheel drive. The cheerful rental company representative, who looked like Edie McClurg in Planes, Trains and Automobiles presented me with a choice of three Jeeps: a Compass, a Grand Cherokee or a Wrangler. Now since the business, tax-writeoff justification end of my vacation was to pit a Jeep against my brother’s new Subaru Outback and run them ragged along the endless driveable beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, I needed the most capable Jeep available to really put the Outback through its paces. I slapped my finger down on the miniature picture of the Wrangler.

The representative smiled, handed me the keys and the paperwork. I signed a few documents and was just about on my way when she pulled out a huge red stamp and slammed it down on the rental agreement.

“Oh, you’ll need to sign this too, honey.” I looked at the stamp and all I could think about at that moment was Edie’s famous two word response to Steve Martin’s F-bomb tirade, “You’re f**ked.”

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2008 Subaru Outback – First Impressions

Friday September 28th, 2007 at 11:99 AM
Posted by: gmchan_66

2008 Subaru Outback

By Gary Chan

Pros and Cons

  • Solid structure
  • Quiet at cruising speed
  • Generous amount of storage
  • Feels heavy
  • Excessive engine noise when floored


Looking for an AWD wagon and the price tag of Audi A3 or Volvo wagon is a little steep for your pockets? Now that the Outback has been around for 14 years, its styling is toned down making it a viable option in this limited field. It’s got lots of storage, good historical reliability (at least since 2004), and good gas mileage. Try it, you might like it.

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