The Subaru Outback has outgrown its station wagon roots and now securely falls into the crossover/SUV category. Completely redesigned for 2017, the Subaru Outback quietly rolled off the assembly line and right into the winner’s circle. When Motor Trend named it the 2010 sport/utility of the year, people took notice. The Outback’s new styling paired with its car-like ride make this a versatile vehicle worth looking at.
The new Subaru Outback has lost its station wagon styling with an extra 4.1 inches in height, 2.0 more inches in width and a 2.8 inch longer wheelbase. At the same time, it’s close to an inch shorter than the previous model. It’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance is class-leading and with 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space, the dogs can happily come along for the ride. Increased room in the back seat ensures that human passengers will ride in comfort, too.
The Outback comes with either a 2.5 liter or a 3.6 liter engine available in a base, Premium or Limited trim level. New this year is a CVT (continuously variable transmission) that comes with 2.5i Premium and Limited models (a 6-speed manual is also available). The CVT performs well and even has paddle shifters to simulate manual gear ratios. The 2.5i engine delivers 170 hp with an impressive 22/29 mpg and most buyers will happily go home with this model. But for those who want more power for passing, mountain climbing and hauling, the 3.6R may be the best choice.
This year’s DOHC 6-cylinder 3.6-liter Subaru Boxer engine drives like smooth chocolate and still gets a decent 18/25 mpg. With 256 hp, the 3.6R 5-speed automatic effortlessly glides up hills or down the highway. Drivers at higher altitudes will appreciate the extra power of the larger engine.
The interior of the Outback looks capable and traditional for the most part. It has a new electronic parking brake and available navigation screen. Popular options include the all-weather package, dual zone climate control, bluetooth connectivity and 440-watt, 6-disc harman/kardon audio system. The one throw-back to the old station wagon days is the fake wood trim that comes in the higher-end models. Subaru’s comfortable new seats make up for the plastic wood trim.
With an MSRP of $22,995 to $30,995 (without optional features) the Subaru Outback offers a good mix of value and versatility. For environmentalists, Subaru also offers Outback models that qualify as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV). All Outbacks are built in a zero-landfill plant in Indiana, a concept that’s been slow to catch on in the U.S. For 2011 the Outback is due for $200 price increase and minor changes such as folding exterior mirrors.
Today’s buyer wants comfort, utility, reliability and high tech features at an affordable price. Subaru has managed to check all those boxes and more with the 2016 Outback. A few traditional Subaru lovers may mourn the passing of station wagon, but the popularity of the new Outback means it’s here to stay.
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With the current global economic scenario, prices are rising and depleting natural resources are fast becoming a growing concern. In response to the worldwide cry for efficiency, all major automakers have introduced smaller, more efficient car models which don’t guzzle as much fuel and make better use of the fuel they do sip. There have even been multiple instances of engine downsizing to combat stringent efficiency and emission norms which are being put in place in somewhat of a hurry. A number of compact hatchbacks and crossovers have spawned as a result. They bring with them everyday practicality with still managing to maintain exclusivity. The sheer number of choices today has turned the small car segment into a buzzing hive of activity.
However, the focus hasn’t just been on downsizing the engines of large cars and bringing in smaller cars. There is an equally high level of activity in the middle of the pack for many manufacturers. One of the highlights here is the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA class. Why is this such a significant model? It spells out the possibility of a whole new era of competition for Mercedes.
Engines and Variants:
The CLA class will be offered with the 1.6L petrol in two states of tune – 90kW (122 hp) and 200 Nm with the 180 badge; and 115kW (156 hp) and 250 Nm with the 200 badge. A new 2.0L petrol will also be available in two states of tune. The 250 badged model will have 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm with a more powerful 265 kW (355 hp) version set to arrive in the 45 AMG model. The CLA 45 AMG will also have the 4matic all wheel drive system for added stability, better traction and quicker acceleration in more demanding surface conditions.
The diesel engine lineup will have the 1.8L engine offered in two states of tune – 80kW (109 hp) in the 180 CDI and 100kW (136 hp) in the 200 CDI. The debut model however arrives with the top-end diesel engine – the 220 CDI – featuring an updated version of the proven 2.2L 4-cylinder engine which now makes 125kW (170 hp) from 3400-4000 rpm and 350 Nm of torque between 1400 and 3400 rpm; improving on its tractability across the rev range.
The transmission options on the new 2017 CLA class will be carried forward from the A and B class cars. A 6-speed manual transmission will be available in some markets while the new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will be offered as standard in most others. The paddle-shift equipped ‘7G-DCT automatic’ will add to the sporty character of the car and deliver a more engaging drive when the owner decides to get more involved in the action.
Pricing and Competition:
The CLA class priced in the range of $30,000 – $38,000 the CLA class will be the preferred choice for many buyers as against options like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and even base variants of the BMW 3 series. Buyers considering the top-end Skoda Octavia and even the Honda Accord will think twice before finalising on their purchase.
The CLA class has everything it takes to be a winner in evolving car markets. The combination of good power and low fuel consumption, high levels of refinement and passenger comfort together with modern entertainment and safety technology will put it high on the list of many buyers seeking an upgrade or a new car. Mercedes has a winner at hand!
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