Yesterday, Subaru unveiled its new Legacy sedan, a vehicle that is pivotal not just in its own right, but because it also forms the basis for the softroader stiltswagon seen here. It only makes sense that Subaru chose to unveil its new Outback here this morning, as the very first model debuted here in the Big Apple some 15 years ago.
Predictably, the all-wheel drive Outback's running gear remains pure Legacy, and as such, it has grown similarly. Interior volume is up eight percent thanks in part to a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase (which also adds nearly four inches of rear legroom) and a two-inch wider footprint. Despite these gains, Subie officials claim the 2010 model is actually shorter overall. It also rides a bit higher, with ground clearnce swelling to 8.7 inches. Not only is this growth part of a strategy to combat upsized family sedans from Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and Mazda, the move also allows the Outback to distance itself from popular Forester that also got biggie-sized with its last redesign.
The new model will be available in the buyer's choice of a 2.5-liter, normally aspirated flat-four giving 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque (backed by one of two new transmissions: a six-speed manual or Subie's "Lineartronic" CVT) or a 3.6-liter flat-six (256 hp and 247 pound-feet) paired to a conventional five-speed automatic. Regardless of which engine is specified, the fuel tank grows to 18.5 gallons (from 16.9), and regular fuel is all that's required.
Follow the jump for more, including Subaru's official press release, and check out the new Outback in our high-res gallery below.
As with yesterday's Legacy, the Outback appears to be more about providing solid, predictable product than surprise-and-delight, but one cool unexpected feature is the roof rack's integral cross bars. Instead of having to remove and stow the spars to reduce wind noise and potentially rattly bits, the rails actually swing-out into place only when called for.
Inside, the interior is the same as with the Legacy, which means that there's a new cliff-like instrument panel, along with new features that include an electric parking brake, ambient lighting and available toys like Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, USB/iPod ports, and a new voice-activated navigation unit.
Even if there isn't much sizzle here, we expect to continue to see Subaru's well-rounded, all-wheel-drive quasi-crossover to continue to outperform its ground-bound Legacy stablemate in the U.S. market, although it figures to face some stiff new high-end competitors in the form of the Saab 9-3X, Volvo XC60 – and potentially even a new Audi Allroad – when it rolls into showrooms later this summer.
SUBARU INTRODUCES ALL-NEW 2010 OUTBACK
AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
♣ Roomiest Outback Ever with New Levels of Comfort and Refinement
♣ Bold New Design Language Redefines Sport Utility Wagon
♣ New 6-speed Manual and CVT Transmissions for Outback 2.5i Models
♣ New 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-Cylinder Engine in 3.6R Models
NEW YORK, APRIL 8, 2009 – Subaru of America, Inc. introduced the all-new 2010 Subaru Outback® at the New York International Auto Show today. The fourth-generation of the World's First Sport Utility Wagon® is a roomier and more capable interpretation of the vehicle that launched the crossover trend 15 years ago. Distinguished by bolder and crisper styling, the all-new 2010 Subaru Outback delivers enhanced performance, comfort and economy with the introduction of an all-new chassis and the new Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission). Capability is enhanced with a segment-first swing-out roof rail and crossbar design and an improved 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
The all-new 2010 Subaru Outback is smart-sized compared to other crossover vehicles, featuring mid-size interior volume in an easy-to-maneuver and off-road capable wagon body. Subaru engineers have increased interior volume by almost 8 percent in a package that is actually shorter than the outgoing model. The wheelbase has been increased by 2.8 inches and improves rear seat legroom by almost 4 inches. A new rear double wishbone suspension improves chassis dynamics and rear cargo space. The 2010 Outback is 2 inches wider to improve passenger comfort, has more headroom and is more fuel efficient than the outgoing model.
Building on the tremendous success of previous Outback models, the 2010 Outback caters to a wide variety of customer tastes and needs. The Outback line for 2010 will include three 2.5i models powered by a revised 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine. The efficient Outback 2.5i models offer a new standard 6-speed manual transmission, or the available Lineartronic™ CVT. Both transmissions help to improve acceleration, response and fuel economy.
Three new range-topping Outback 3.6R models are powered by a new 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine teamed with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. Compared to the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine it replaces, the more powerful 3.6 has the same external size and uses regular-grade fuel, rather than premium as the 3.0 required.
Subaru is the only company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. This invaluable performance and safety-enhancing system distinguishes the Outback from crossover competitors, which generally offer all wheel drive as an extra-cost option. The 2010 Outback model line employs three different versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, each tailored to the specific engine and transmission.
Bold New Design and New Level of Interior Comfort
The 2010 Outback, while still clearly related to its predecessors, marks a departure in design toward a new, bolder look. The new Outback blends a sophisticated crossover design with SUV details. The upright grille features the Subaru circular badge and wing design as the focal point and is offset by dramatic hawk-eye headlamps. The new functional molded lower valence and side skirts hint at the Outback's improved capability and are more durable for off-road adventures.
The 2010 Outback also has a greater road presence with a wider track and expressive wheel arches. Ground clearance on the new model has been increased to 8.7 inches. As a new characteristic of the Outback, the D-pillars project a powerful SUV-like presence. The taillamps blend into the rear hatch, which highlights the more clearly defined beltline.
The 2010 Outback interior is not only more spacious, but takes another step up in refinement from an already-praised design in the previous model. The four-dial instrument panel is augmented in all Outback models by a multi-information display with trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. Richer looking appointments and details abound, including a new 3-spoke steering wheel. A new electronic parking brake (with electronic Hill Holder System) eliminates the traditional parking brake handle, freeing up space in the center console.
Seat comfort, long a Subaru strong point, is further enhanced in the 2010 Outback with new front and rear seat designs. The rear seat includes a new recline feature. The front seatback shape provides extra rear-seat knee room, and the front-seat cushion design allows more rear-seat foot room.
Right-Sized for the Times
The original Outback established a template for the many competitive crossover models that followed, and the new-generation 2010 Outback further strengthens the melding of passenger car and SUV attributes that today's crossover shoppers seek.
Built on an all-new platform, the 2010 Outback showcases Subaru's mastery of vehicle packaging efficiency. A 2.8 inch longer wheelbase, now 107.9 inches, contributes to a smoother ride and increased interior space. Total passenger room is increased by 8 cubic feet, now 105.4 cu. ft., and maximum cargo capacity (with the standard 65/35 split rear seatbacks folded) is up by 6 cubic feet to 71.3 cu. ft. The Outback also features a rear cargo area that is deeper and wider than in many small SUVs and easier to access through its wide aperture rear hatch.
Rear seat legroom is increased by nearly 4 inches to 37.8 inches. With a 2.0-in. increase in vehicle width, the 2010 Outback offers greater hip room (+3.5 inches in front, +1.3 in. in back) and shoulder room (+1.9-in. front, +2.4-in. in back).
Remarkably, the roomier 2010 Outback is almost one inch shorter than the previous model, due to reduced front and rear overhang dimensions. The new Outback is also four inches taller than the previous model, increasing headroom and cargo area height. The new packaging thus preserves the maneuverability, agility and parking ease that Outback customers highly value.
Surefooted Handling and Safety for any Road or any Weather
The new Subaru Outback improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform that makes for a smoother, quieter ride – still with crisp handling. Outback customers have long valued the way Outback models have balanced comfort with capability, and the 2010 Outback improves on both. Reduced front and rear overhang dimensions, combined with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, help enhance Outback's off-pavement maneuverability.
All Outback models for 2010 are equipped as standard with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control capability. The all-new electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver applies the throttle to pull away from a stop. Previous systems held the car in place for only a few seconds.
MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to a new engine cradle, and the engine is attached to the cradle using new hydraulic mounts. The new cradle is designed to also enhance crash-worthiness in front. A new double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, replaces the previous multi-link configuration to provide improved ride and handling. The enhancement of body rigidity and the new suspension design help to reduce levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Increased wheel travel and optimized suspension geometry improve ride comfort.
All 2010 Outback models are equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Brake Assist safety system is also available on all models. Significantly, the stiffer body structure and new suspension combined with higher profile tire ( 215/70R16 on base Outback 2.5i) yields a more comfortable ride without sacrificing handling agility. Models with 17-in. wheels likewise benefit from a higher-profile tire size, 225/60R17 compared to 225/55R17 used before.
Efficient New Powertrains
The 2010 Outback 2.5i models are powered by a revised 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, teamed for the first time to a new 6-speed manual transmission or the available new Lineartronic™ CVT. The CVT is standard in the Outback 2.5i Limited, where it is also equipped with a manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The 2.5-liter engine, which is also available as PZEV-certified, is modified for 2010 to improve performance, driveability, and economy. The engine delivers 170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. The i-Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) ensures a broad torque curve and smooth response at all engine speeds, while also helping to improve fuel efficiency. All Outback models for 2010 feature a larger fuel tank, now 18.5 gallons vs. 16.9.
Whether teamed to the new 6-speed manual transmission or the Lineartronic™ CVT, the roomier 2010 Outback provides quicker acceleration and lower fuel consumption than comparable 2009 Outback models. Either transmission helps make the Outback 2.5i models more responsive in everyday driving.
Subaru has adopted a chain-type CVT, the world's first longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. It employs smaller pulley cores, which helps make the unit more compact and can help provide better fuel efficiency compared to belt-type CVTs. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts.
The CVT smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range. Because a CVT does not "shift" gears, the driver enjoys smoother performance in all driving situations. The manual mode of the Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT offers the driver a more engaging driving experience by operating through six pre-selected steps. The driver can "shift" manually using steering wheel paddle controls.
New 3.6-liter H6 Engine: Premium Performance with Regular-Grade Fuel
The 3.6-liter H6 engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter H6, yet features the same external dimensions thanks primarily to a unique shortened connecting rod design. As a result, the new, more powerful engine maintains its excellent low center of gravity. The 3.6 Boxer engine produces 256 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of peak torque, compared to 245 hp and 215 lb.-ft. of torque for the previous 3.0-liter engine. Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves optimizes power delivery across the engine's speed range while helping to reduce emissions.
Not only does the 3.6-liter engine produce more horsepower and torque than the 3.0-liter unit, but does so using regular-grade fuel compared to premium required in the 3.0 engine. The specially tuned five-speed automatic transmission, combined with the greater torque output of the 3.6 engine, helps make the Outback 3.6R models more responsive.
New Level of Comfort and Convenience in All Models
Standard comfort and available luxury are increased across the Outback line for 2010. The base 2.5i model, for example, features standard steering wheel audio and cruise control buttons, a new electronic parking brake with electronic Hill Holder System, automatic lights-on function and auxiliary input audio jack. A standard multi-function display with onboard computer provides readouts for mileage/range and outside temperature.
Underscoring its versatility and attention to detail, the 2010 Outback comes standard with an innovative new roof rack system. Its integral crossbars swing into position only when needed. Stowing the crossbars in the roof rails when they're not needed helps to reduce a potential source of wind noise.
Outback Premium models add more amenities and offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a harman-kardon® audio system, a power moonroof, and the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Outback Limited models feature leather upholstery, a dual zone automatic climate control system, and a 4-way power passenger seat. Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth® connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio.
The Subaru Safety Story
The Outback, like all Subaru models, has consistently earned top scores in government and insurance industry crash tests. The 2010 Outback is designed to further raise the safety quotient. Subaru's Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure, proven over a decade in all Subaru models, again forms the foundation for crash protection and occupant safety in the new-generation 2010 Outback. A new engine cradle design improves front impact safety, and the 2010 Outback features greater use of high-strength steel.
The 2010 Outback models include as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver's distance from the steering wheel. The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection.
New in the 2010 Outback, high-strength front seat frames provide enhanced protection against whiplash injury in a rear-end collision. With the entire seat optimized for a rear-end collision, Subaru replaced the previous active front head restraints with a more comfortable design.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key to Brand Identity
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2010 Outback line, each one tailored to the engine and type of transmission. In Outback 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the opposite set.
Outback 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic™ CVT use an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control power distribution in response to driving conditions.
Outback 3.6R models use advanced Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. The VTD system normally sends more power to the rear wheels to enhance handling agility, and it continuously adjusts power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru makes the best-selling All-Wheel Drive car sold in America based on R.L. Polk & Co. new vehicle retail registration statistics calendar year-end 2007. In addition, Subaru boasts the most fuel-efficient line-up of all-wheel drive products sold in the market today based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy standards. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit www.subaru.com.
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