2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium Review
THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG
Model: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
Engine: 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four
Horsepower/Torque: 170 hp @ 5,600 rpm/170 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.9 in.
Length/Width/Height: 188.2 x 71.7 x 65.7 in.
Cargo volume: 34.3/71/3 cu. ft. (2nd row seat backs up/down
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Sticker: $27,780 (includes $695 destination and delivery and $2,490 in options (all-weather package, Harmon-Kardon sound system, Bluetooth)
The Bottom Line: Everything I disliked about the Impreza is good in the Outback. The Outback is a pleasant car to drive with a host of desirable features.
Subaru Outbacks are all over the Lehigh Valley and the Northeast. The popularity in the Lehigh Valley may be due to the presence of one of the most successful dealers in the country. In the Northeast it’s because the Subaru has all-wheel drive and is the vehicle of choice in poor weather.
While we didn’t have the opportunity to drive the Outback in anything more serious than a heavy rainstorm, we could see how its handling would be of use in bad weather. It’s not that the Outback tracks like a Hummer; it just inspires confidence.
The Outback’s engine is the same 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four that is used in the Impreza. In the Outback, however, it’s far less noisy, and is almost quiet. We had no trouble eat all getting up to speed and playing with the big boys on any road. In addition, when we took the Outback on a winding road, it accelerated quickly out of turns. This was the only time when the engine was slightly noisy, but it definitely wasn’t objectionable.
The 6-speed manual transmission was another thing altogether. Sometimes vague, I sometimes found fifth when I wanted third, fourth instead of sixth. I liked the fact that the gear you’re in appears on the instrument panel, but there is a slight time delay before it lights up. I’m certain an owner would learn the peculiarities of the gearbox in no time, though.
For comfort, there’s a “dead pedal located to the left of the clutch pedal so your left foot can stay out of trouble.
There’s a somewhat confusing “hand brake” located on the dash. You push the lever to engage it, pull to release. Not to worry, it releases automatically if you forget.
Cloth seats up front are heated and offer some semblance of side support. The rear bench is comfortable for two since there’s a high center hump that would cut into the center passenger’s leg room. There’s a fold-down arm rest in the rear with a pair of cup holders, and a cubby at the back of the center console for the rear passengers.
The rear seat backs have a unique release to fold flat; it’s at the base of the back. The cargo area itself has a rubber-like cover if you have to carry messy stuff. Under the cargo floor is a small hidden area, with the spare tire below this.
Instruments consist of an analog mpg gauge, tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge. At the top center of the dash there’s an outside temperature readout, digital fuel economy gauge, and digital clock.
Sound quality was good with an AM/FM/CD/AUX/Satellite radio.
For storage there are cubbies between the audio and HVAC areas of the center stack, and another at the base of the center stack. The Outback is equipped with two cup holders in the center console area. The console itself is a good size and doubles as an arm rest.
There are deep door cubbies with cup holders, and the door pulls have bottoms.
The smart steering wheel has controls for audio, cruise and Bluetooth. We liked the fact that the sun visors have extensions.
What is pleasant about the Outback is that there is no pretense about the vehicle’s being what it isn’t. It’s a nice small station wagon (there’s a temptation to call it an SUV, but don’t) that will get you through almost anything to get you where you want to go.
© 2009 The Auto Page Syndicate