What is the TFL Cliffhanger? It is one of the best ways we know to test an all-wheel-drive of four-wheel-drive vehicle. THe 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R is first to take on the challenge. TFL searched far and wide for a very steep and long stretch of off-road trail deep in the Rocky Mountain of Colorado.
This 200 foot climb has two sides to it: an even side and a gnarly side. The even side is on left as you look up the hill. It’s almost all dirt, a very steep stretch of loose dirt. This section is a test of traction and power. Tires are very important here, but – as you may know – TFL only uses OEM tires that come on the vehicles. In many cases, these tires are street oriented all-seasons. This was the case with the Outback. The trail is close to two miles above sea level. The air is thin and engines are severely down on power.
The gnarly side is on the right, and it adds tree roots, rocks, and dips in to the mix. This is an extreme test of traction, ground clearance, as well as suspension articulation.
We used the 2014 Ford Raptor to set the benchmark on both sides of the Cliffhanger. The Raptor had stock drivertrain, tires, and suspension. The newly redesigned Outback 3.6R was next. The boxer H6 produces 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, and the Continuously Variable Transmission puts the power to Subaru’s Symmetric AWD. It also has “X-mode” – a feature to maximize low speed traction.
Check out the 2015 Subaru Outback tackle both sides of the TFL Cliffhanger. Can it complete both climbs?
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been writing and reporting at TFL since 2011.