The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Subaru Introduces Third-Generation 2005 Outback Models

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2004 -- Subaru of America Inc., the only company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line, has introduced the fully redesigned, re- engineered third-generation Outback model line. New 250-horsepower 6-cylinder Outback 3.0 R models and the 250-horsepower intercooled / turbocharged Outback 2.5 XT models bring a dramatic performance infusion to the Outback line.

"By offering new high-performance, premium-content Outback models, Subaru is positioned to compete with the growing number and diversity of crossover vehicles," said Fred Adcock, Executive Vice President, Subaru of America, Inc. "And, quite simply, the Outback 2.5 XT is designed to be the ultimate performance crossover wagon."

Arriving at Subaru dealerships in spring 2004, the thoroughly revised 2005 Outback models are designed and equipped to compete with the growing range of crossover vehicles in the market, including luxury-brand models. The 2005 Outback model line includes the Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5i Limited models, powered by a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine that provides enhanced response for 2005. The 6-cylinder models include the Outback 3.0 R L.L.Bean Edition and flagship Outback 3.0 R VDC Limited. The Outback 2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited models are exclusively powered by a 250-horsepower intercooled / turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine.

With the development of this next generation Outback, Subaru strengthened and enhanced its "Best of Both" concept that spawned the original Outback. The melding of passenger car and SUV attributes has been further advanced to meet the demands of consumers shopping the crossover segment. Safety, handling, fuel economy and performance are improved by means of a longer wheelbase, wider track, lower center of gravity, and vehicle weight reduction by as much as 180 pounds. The vehicle ground clearance and command seating position have also been improved for 2005 Outback models.

Wheelbase of the slightly larger 2005 Outback has been increased from 104.3 inches to 105.1 inches and overall length has been increased by just under two inches. The pronounced wedge body shape conveys a strong and stable presence, accentuated by aerodynamic side ground effects, more pronounced wheel arches and redesigned protective side cladding.

The 2005 Outback is built on a new version of the company's proven Ring- Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure. All 2005 Outback models will 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. New 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. Active front head restraints can help reduce potential whiplash injury in a rear collision.

To mark the introduction of the 2005 Subaru Outback, Subaru will reveal product details to consumers on a new website, that showcases the brand's premium performance evolution.

High Performance In Two Versions

The 6-cylinder Outback 3.0 R models provide a linear power feeling that is characteristic of a higher-displacement engine. The intercooled / turbocharged 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder boxer engine that powers the Outback 2.5 XT models offers a more sporty and exciting type of engine performance. In addition, the turbocharged engine also offers outstanding performance at high altitudes, where changes in atmospheric pressure adversely affect the power output of naturally aspirated engines. Even with the increased engine power and performance, Subaru anticipates improved fuel economy across the line, subject to final certification.

A new 5-speed electronic direct control automatic transmission is standard on the Outback 3.0 R models. The Outback 2.5 XT offers a choice between a reinforced 5-speed manual transmission and the new 5-speed automatic. With the automatic, the SPORTSHIFT feature allows manual shifting control from the console-mounted shifter and, exclusive to Outback 2.5 XT models, steering wheel shift buttons, as well.

Chassis Designed for Performance, Ruggedness and Comfort

The 2005 Outback models retain the rugged, go-anywhere capability that Subaru customers want while delivering the crisp handling response and smooth, quiet ride comfort expected in a premium model.

A new, stiffer body structure makes greater use of aluminum and high- strength steel. The 4-wheel independent suspension features revised geometry to enhance handling and stability. The wider vehicle track, a lower center of gravity and the use of 17-inch wheels and tires on most models further enhance stability on the new Outback.

The rack-and-pinion steering system has been redesigned for quicker response, greater precision and improved feel. A 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is standard equipment on all 2005 Outback models.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key To Brand Identity

Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2005 Outback models, each tailored to the type of transmission. With the 5- speed manual transmission, the system distributes the power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the other set of wheels.

Outback 3.0 R models -- and Outback 2.5 XT models when equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission -- use a system called Variable Torque Distribution (VTD). VTD normally sends more power to the rear wheels to enhance handling agility, and it continuously adjusts the power distribution in response to driving and road conditions. Exclusive to the flagship Outback 3.0 R VDC Limited model is Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), an advanced stability system that controls VTD operation and integrates an electronic four-wheel traction control system.

Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5i Limited models will offer an optional 4- speed automatic transmission, with an AWD system that actively controls power distribution in response to driving conditions.

All-New Interior Reflects Premium Positioning

Flush surface treatments, a soft foam upper dashboard, soft foam door trim and aluminum side sill covers give the new Outback interior a premium appearance and ambience. The two-tone interior features cloth upholstery for the Outback 2.5i and Outback 2.5 XT models, and leather-trimmed upholstery for Outback 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and 3.0 R models.

Standard equipment is more extensive than in any previous Outback and includes an 8-way power driver's seat for all Outback 2.5i models, Outback 2.5 XT Limited and Outback 3.0 R models. Outback 2.5 XT Limited and Outback 3.0 R models also include a standard 4-way power passenger seat, and the front seats on all Outback models for 2005 feature standard four-stage heating. A dual- panel glass power moonroof is standard for Outback 2.5i Limited, 2.5 XT Limited and Outback 3.0 R models.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered near Philadelphia, the company markets and distributes All-Wheel Drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru is the only car company that provides Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. Subaru has been the best-selling import wagon in America for the past 20 years, based on R.L. Polk & Company new vehicle retail registration statistics calendar year-end 2002.

Larkin Hill: 310-763-0929