A 2015 Subaru Outback Is a Press-Proof Car
I often find the David Bowie/Queen song creeping into my head while driving these days. I am typically captaining our 2015 Subaru Outback to my daughter’s school, or to soccer practice, or to the grocery store, or the hardware store...you catch my drift. Cars 5 or 6 years old stick out like a sore thumb these days. The majority of automobiles on the road appear to be brand new, or darn close to it. With our second kid on the way I had been considering trading in our Outback for a new Ascent. Oh the many ways I was convincing myself that we needed a bigger vehicle with third row seating for all of our chores, excursions and travels. Not only was I feeling that pressure imposed by everyone else on the road in newer vehicles, but the appeal of a bigger, safer, more capable kid hauler and chore doer was real.
And then I started reasoning with myself. Do we really need a new automobile? Does it really need 3 rows of seats? Does it really have to cost close to $50,000? Why do I feel the pressure to upgrade when my Outback does everything reasonably well? All complicated questions to answer, but I did my best and I hope my journey will help you in your quest for a new car or truck.
With a new vehicle, you can be reassured that all the requisite safety measures are firmly in place. We may never know how Tiger Woods flew off the side of the road recently, but he can certainly attribute his lack of major injury to something more than luck. However, I have indeed also watched all of the NHTSA videos of my Outback getting demolished from all angles, and it passes with flying colors. It also accepts an aftermarket hitch for our bike rack and it has a rather functional roof rack when we need to load up all the gear for a big road trip.
But then I ponder the whiny 2.5 liter boxer engine and its spotty head gasket history, along with the continuously variable transmission that often forces me into the body of a 16-year old kid learning to drive manual. Yes, there are paddle shifters that actually do quite fine if you’re willing to put the effort in, but I don’t have a knack for finding the gas mileage that the “Lineartronic” CVT does. Maybe that’s just my heavy right foot and experience driving turbocharged sports cars prior to having kids...
And of course there is the infotainment system. As comical as this may seem, technology integration is a thing of brilliance and sophistication, and when done right can completely transform one’s relationship with an automobile. I can relate to the engineers and tech folks across the industry who are doing their best to provide this seamless experience, but it is a damn tough thing to keep up with, and a strong motivator to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
So my wife and I set off to test drive a Subaru Ascent, an experience that has seen a significant transformation in the last year (more on that in another article). This was our opportunity to see and touch Subaru’s latest offering, and to truly understand what was missing from our lives. Since a global pandemic apparently made people richer and more bored, there weren’t any 2020 models left on the lot. So of course we went straight for the 2021 Touring edition. The leather-bound captains chairs were beautiful, the panoramic moonroof allowed copious natural light if desired and Subaru’s EyeSight is really quite intuitive. The ride quality and handling was rather impressive for a symmetrical all-wheel drive SUV, and the little turbocharged 2.5 liter four-cylinder was spirited enough at low speeds and on the highway. Not to mention we were able to take our test drive without a salesperson aboard, so I did not hesitate to give it the proper beans.
In the end, we loved it. We briefly considered shelling out the dough and locking down a loan with fairly reasonable terms. But then we went back to our Outback. It doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but it does everything just fine. I have now convinced myself that this will be my daughter’s first car, or maybe even my second daughter’s first car. And don’t get me wrong, it’s only a matter of time until we get that Ascent. After all, David Bowie and Queen will continue whispering into my ear until we do.
Ross Gilbert reports Tesla news at Torque News. has had a lifelong interest in the automobile industry, growing up with an obsession for automotive news. As a typical gear head, he has spent many hours in the garage, working on cars. Gilbert covers Tesla, Electric Vehicles, trucks and automobile technology. Follow Ross on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for daily Tesla and EV news.