By Mike Hanley on April 23, 2014
The Subaru Outback has been a popular alternative to traditional crossovers for years. The redesigned 2015 model looks to further that appeal with a number of convenience features centered on the cargo area.
The new Outback's cargo area is only slightly larger than before. Thanks to a little extra width and reshaped interior pieces it now measures 35.5 cubic feet with the backseat up and 73.3 cubic feet with the split-folding backseat down. That's more than the Honda Crosstour's 25.7 cubic feet with the backseat up and 51.3 with it down, and it's similar to the Toyota Venza's measurements of 36.2 and 70.2 cubic feet. But there are more upgrades than just the extra room.
Subaru has added backseat release levers to the sides of the cargo area by the hatch opening. It's a feature that's been spreading among wagons and crossovers the past few years; they make it easy to expand the cargo space without having to walk around to the rear seat. The split-backrest is spring loaded, and the sections fold flat with the cargo floor when you pull the levers.
The liftgate incorporates two new convenience features. A power feature for the liftgate is newly available, and you can set how high it opens to accommodate your height — or the height of your garage.
There's also a new PIN Code Access system for Limited trim levels. Ford has offered keypad access for years, and Subaru's system is a variation on that idea. It uses just one button located under the overhang above the license plate. Once you've created a numerical code, you can use it to unlock the car without a key.
Here's how it works: If three is one of your numbers, you'd press the button three times, pause briefly, and then move to the next number in your code. With the system, Subaru says you can leave your keys in the car when you'd rather not have them, like on a run or bike ride.
To check out more of the changes to the 2015 Subaru Outback go here.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike