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The 2015 Subaru Outback has made its debut at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), using the latest Legacy as its base. Set to appear in US dealerships in the summer, the new Outback is claimed to feature the most cabin space, the most capable chassis and the highest fuel efficiency in the model’s 20-year history.

The new car is only slightly larger than the outgoing model, being just 15 mm longer and 18 mm wider, with the wheelbase grown by 5 mm. Yet Subaru claims that cabin space has grown by as much as 76 litres to 3,061 litres, with boot space now at 1,005 litres (up 34 litres), or 2,076 litres (up 57 litres) with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down.

As expected, the Outback follows the new Legacy’s styling, with the hawk-eye headlights, trapezoidal grille and the more steeply-raked windscreen. In typical Outback fashion, black plastic moulding goes around the car, punctuated by large fog lights at the front corners, while large roof rails with integrated retractable crossbars line the roof. Step-style doorsills enable one to stand firmly whilst securing cargo to the roof.

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The rear of the Outback should prove to be an accurate preview of the yet-to-be-launched Legacy Wagon, and it will be available with a power-retractable tailgate (standard on the Limited trim) for the first time.

The interior has also been lifted from the new Legacy, with better materials than before. As with the Legacy, the Outback comes in three trim levels – Standard, Premium and Limited. Premium features a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an All-Weather Package (heated seats and exterior mirrors as well as a wiper de-icer) as well as a six-speaker infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, among others.

Limited trim throws in 18-inch alloy wheels, perforated leather upholstery, a memory function for the driver’s seat, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats, keyless entry and start and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

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Also shared with the Legacy are its pair of available powertrains – a 2.5 litre flat-four producing 175 hp at 5,800 rpm and 235 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, and a 3.6 litre flat-six (only available in Limited trim) developing 256 hp at 6,000 rpm and 334 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. Better aerodynamics and the Active Grille Shutter enable the 2.5 to achieve a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.4 litres per 100 km – which is claimed to beat some front-wheel drive versions of competitor crossovers – while the 3.6 attains 10.7 litres per 100 km.

Both engines are mated as standard to a Lineartronic CVT with six virtual ratios and paddle shifters, as well as Symmetrical AWD with Active Torque Vectoring and X-Mode lifted from the Forester, which provides enhanced off-roading capabilities along with Hill Descent Control.

Another page lifted from the Legacy’s spec sheet concerns the safety features, which includes new front seat cushion airbags that keep occupants in place in a collision, as well as the Rear Vehicle Detection System and EyeSight. The former (standard on Limited, optional on Premium) provides Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, while the latter (optional on Premium and Limited trims) enables Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.