2012 Subaru Outback (Premium, Limited) review, specs, photos, features

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The Subaru Outback, the fourth-generation of the World’s First Sport Utility Wagon®, gains versatile new audio systems for 2012 and continues to offer a Mobile Internet option.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photoFind more new 2012 Subaru Outback pictures in our 2012 Subaru Outback photo gallery (15 photos)

Like all current Subaru model lines, the Outback features standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and earns a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Outback is available in 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder models and in three trim levels – base, Premium and Limited.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

Boosting value in the Outback for 2012, the Outback 2.5i base model now offers a new Alloy Wheel Package that includes 17-in. alloy wheels, fog lights and the All-Weather Package (2-stage heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer). Previously, the All-Weather Package was available only on the Outback Premium and Limited trim lines. The Premium models gain standard steering wheel Bluetooth® control switches.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

The 2012 Outback 2.5i models are powered by a 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, and the Outback 3.6R models are powered by a 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine teamed with a standard 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. When equipped with the Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission), the 2012 Outback 2.5i models achieve EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg city / 29 mpg highway / 24 mpg combined.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

New Outback Audio Choices for 2012
The Outback line offers two new audio choices for 2012. In the 2.5i and 3.6R Premium models, the new standard audio system includes AM/FM stereo, single-disc CD player with Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), iPod® control capability, USB port, 3.5mm aux. input jack and 6 speakers. In addition, the vehicle comes pre-wired for XM® / Sirius Satellite Radio, which is available as a dealer accessory and requires a subscription.

Newly standard for the 2012 Outback 2.5i and 3.6R Limited models and optional for the Premium models is a new harman/kardon® display-type audio system that includes all of the versatility and connectivity features in the Premium models’ new standard audio system (described in previous paragraph) and adds a 4.3-inch LCD display, HD Radio, standard XM Satellite Radio and plays through 9 harman/kardon speakers, including a subwoofer.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

Blending the Best of Car and SUV
Seventeen years ago, the original Outback established a template for many competitive crossover models that followed. The new-generation Outback further strengthens the melding of passenger car and SUV attributes that today’s crossover shoppers seek.

The new-generation Subaru Outback is smart-sized compared to other 2-row crossover vehicles, featuring a mid-size interior in an easy-to-maneuver and off-road capable wagon body. The Outback provides the crisp car-like handling and smooth ride of a wagon with the versatility of an SUV. The Outback’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance is higher than for many SUVs and crossovers while maintaining a low step-in height.

The Outback demonstrates Subaru’s mastery of vehicle packaging efficiency. The 107.9-inch wheelbase contributes to a smooth ride and generous interior space. Total passenger volume of 105.4 cu. ft. and maximum cargo capacity of 71.3 cu. ft. (with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded) rivals that of larger, heavier vehicles. The Outback also features a rear cargo area that is deeper and wider than in many small SUVs and easier to access through its wide aperture rear hatch. Rear seat legroom measures a generous 37.8 inches.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

Surefooted Handling and Safety for any Road or any Weather
Subaru is the only company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. This invaluable performance and safety-enhancing system distinguishes the Outback from crossover competitors, which generally offer all wheel drive only as an extra-cost option. The 2012 Outback model line employs three different versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, each tailored to the specific transmission. (See details on page 4 of this press release.)

All Outback models for 2012 are equipped as standard with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control functions. The electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver presses the accelerator pedal to pull away from a stop.

MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to an engine cradle, and the engine is attached to the cradle using hydraulic mounts. The cradle is designed to also enhance crash-worthiness in front. A double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, provides an optimal combination of ride comfort, handling agility, noise isolation and interior roominess.

The 2012 Outback models are equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), as well as the Brake Assist safety system that automatically applies maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

Choice of 4-cyl. and 6-cyl. Powertrains
The 2012 Outback 2.5i models are powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine teamed to a new 6-speed manual transmission or the available Lineartronic CVT. The CVT is standard in the Outback 2.5i Limited. The 2.5-liter engine, which is also available as PZEV-certified, delivers 170 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The i-Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) ensures a broad torque curve and smooth response at all engine speeds, while also helping to improve fuel efficiency.

Subaru’s chain-type CVT is the world’s first longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the lowest and highest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. The CVT continuously and smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range for improved fuel economy and performance. Because a CVT does not shift gears, the driver enjoys smoother performance in all driving situations. In the Outback models, a manual mode uses six pre-set ratios to allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle controls when desired.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

3.6-liter Boxer Engine: Premium Performance with Regular-Grade Fuel
The 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine in Outback 3.6R models produces 256 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 247 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. Notably, the 3.6-liter engine sustains at least 225 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, making the Outback 3.6R feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving. Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts optimizes power delivery across the engine’s speed range while helping to reduce emissions. Regular-grade fuel is recommended.

The specially tuned five-speed automatic transmission, combined with the high torque output of the 3.6-liter engine, helps make the Outback 3.6R responsive when driving in hilly areas by significantly reducing “hunting” between gears. The 5-speed automatic transmission also incorporates downshift “blipping” logic, which enhances transmission responsiveness.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key to Brand Identity
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2011 Outback line, each tailored to the type of transmission. In Outback 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute power a nominal 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either the front or rear wheels will cause the system to send more power to the opposite wheels.

Outback 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use Active Torque Split AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls power distribution in response to driving conditions. The Outback 3.6R uses the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) AWD system with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. The VTD system normally sends more power to the rear wheels (45:55) to enhance handling agility, and it can continuously adjust power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

Refinement, Comfort and Convenience
The four-dial instrument panel is augmented in all Outback models by a multi-information display with a trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. Seats are designed for long-distance comfort. The front seatback shape provides extra rear-seat knee room, and the front-seat cushion design allows more rear-seat foot room. The rear seat includes a recline feature in all models.

The 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i and 3.6R models are available in three trim levels – base, Premium and Limited. The base 2.5i features a long roster of standard features, among them steering wheel cruise control and audio switches, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with recline feature, electronic parking brake with Hill Holder System, automatic light function, overhead console with holder for sunglasses and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio jack.

Outback Premium models add additional amenities, including a 10-way power driver’s seat (with power lumbar support adjustment) and driver’s auto up/down window, leather-wrapped steering wheel with new Bluetooth control switches, instrument panel storage bin with door, ambient light for the overhead console, body-colored side mirrors and 17-in. alloy wheels (all 3.6R trim lines have 17-in. alloy wheels as standard). The Premium models also offer three option packages: the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer; the Power Moonroof Package with Rear Vision Camera, and the new-for-2012 display-type harman/kardon Premium Audio Package with Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability, HD Radio and XM Satellite Radio.

The Limited trim lines add to the Premium content standard Lineartronic CVT, perforated leather upholstery, dual zone automatic climate control, the new-for-2012 display-type harman/kardon Premium Audio Package, and a 4-way power front passenger seat. The Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with an 8-in. LCD display and rear-view backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming capability.

The available Subaru Mobile Internet system available for the 2012 Outback creates a Wi-Fi hotspot inside the Outback that connects 10 or more users for up to 150 feet around the vehicle. Operating on the 3G network and working with all Wi-Fi enabled devices, Subaru Mobile Internet provides users a safe, fully encrypted connection with download speeds averaging 400kbps-1.2mbps. Passengers can access the Wi-Fi capability while the Outback is in motion, but the vehicle must be parked for the driver to use it.

Exemplary Safety
The 2012 Outback is named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for its front, side and rear crash test performance and its standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system. Subaru’s Ring-Shaped Frame Reinforcement safety structure, proven over a decade in all Subaru models, forms the foundation for impact protection and occupant safety in the new-generation Outback. A new front subframe (engine cradle) helps improve front impact safety, and the Outback structure features extensive use of high-tensile strength steel.

2012 Subaru Outback photo2012 Subaru Outback photo

The 2012 Outback models include as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver’s distance from the steering wheel. The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection. Front seat frames provide enhanced protection against whiplash injury in a rear-end collision.

Find more new 2012 Subaru Outback pictures in our 2012 Subaru Outback photo gallery (15 photos)

New 2012 Subaru Outback specifications, photos and images courtesy of Subaru.

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