With the ability to swap driving modes on the fly, it makes the Outback’s performance go hand-in-hand with fuel economy. I never actually thought I’d be able to put performance and fuel economy in the same sentence, but there it is. Twice! The 245 hp engine really showed itself, particularly in Sport Sharp mode. In fact, “holy crap” was uttered several times when punching the accelerator. It was actually very surprising to have that much power in a wagon. But I like surprises.
The Outback performed quite nicely on the highway in dry conditions, and even in driving rain and a severe crosswind.
The first thing I did with the Outback was to take it to the parking lot where I took the DSF driving school last winter. I was curious about how an AWD vehicle would handle dirt and gravel and anxious to see if I could put it into a spin, requiring counter-steering to get out of. I was unable to do it. It “drifted” a few times when I had some pretty good speed, but felt really in control.
Also as noted, the weather conditions were less than perfect. I had to drive approximately 60 miles in the dark, driving rain, severe cross-winds, and horrible visibility conditions. The Outback really did an excellent job here. It felt in control. It never felt as though it was going to blow into the next lane, and I felt really, really SAFE in it. The AWD is always awesome, but the car really handles itself well in good weather, and more importantly, in BAD weather.
The car is gorgeous. It didn’t have the bulky body moldings that the older Outbacks used to have. The lines were clean, and the car was very stylish. The window tinting added to the beauty of the car, as it blended especially nice with the Harvest Gold Metallic paint. Subaru has an option for a two-toned paint job and I really feel like it does the vehicle an injustice. The solid paint job is really, really nice, and more than adequate in showcasing the car. The headlamps, tail lamps, door handles and such all blend together nicely. Nothing looks or seems out of place. The 17″ alloy wheels added a nice touch to this already top-notch looking Outback.
Overall, for safety, comfort, fun and function, the car is a really good value (at $32k). The addition of the navigation system adds $2k. The major ding I give it is the lack of Bluetooth, or even an option to have it installed. One would have to add an after-market Bluetooth, or use an earpiece in states that have adopted the hands-free law. I hope that Subaru corrects this in 2010.
For safety, the Outback has 5 stars in the Government Ratings for the following categories: front Impact for both driver and passenger, and side Impact for both driver and passenger. 4 star rating for rollover. With those ratings, plus the Symmetrical AWD, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbag system, front-seat side impact airbags and side curtain airbags and Tire Pressure Monitoring System, can you really put a price on your safety? One doesn’t need all the bells and whistles we had with our test car to know the Outback makes good safety sense, and that brings its value up in my opinion.
I thought the Subaru Outback was a really good vehicle. Given the slight dings, most things could be worked around, and I’d definitely not steer someone away because of those. Given it’s safety, driving and handling ability in less-than-stellar conditions, the comfort and the fact that you can carry a bunch of stuff in it, how could anyone go wrong in owning one? A vast array of owners from the family with kids, to the single active person, to the newly-retired couple would be more than happy (and satisfied) with this car.
|Official website for Subaru of America – www.subaru.com|
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