2001 Outback New Car Test Drive
Sustained, higher gas prices can take the wind out of SUV sales, causing buyers to consider their options. The search for sport-utility alternatives is leading many to look at crossover vehicles, and the Subaru Outback wagons are a prime example. Part small station wagon, part sport-utility, these hybrids make a lot of sense for a lot of people. They offer many of the virtues of an SUV-four-wheel drive and cargo capacity-while avoiding their vices-wallet-sapping gas mileage and daunting dimensions.
Subaru is no stranger to this turf. The company has a long history of building small, economical wagons and is a world leader in all-wheel-drive expertise.
For 2001, Subaru showcases its latest performance and technology in the new Outback H6-3.0 VDC. This new flagship model features an all-new 3.0-liter H6 six-cylinder engine, and benefits from a new VDC electronic stability control system. The net effect of all this new hardware is more power and control in a practical, well-equipped vehicle.
Completely redesigned last year, Subaru's Legacy-based Outback series features two new models for 2001. (Though it also carries the Outback name, don't be confused by the Outback Sport, which is a smaller, Impreza-based model.)
Returning to the lineup are the Outback Wagon ($22,895), Outback Limited Sedan ($25,995) and Outback Limited Wagon ($26,295). All three get bigger front disc brakes for 2001, along with some interior refinements; and a limited-slip rear differential is now standard equipment on both the Outback Wagon and Limited Wagon.
The 2001 additions to the Outback series are both upscale models, and come equipped with Subaru's new 212-horsepower six-cylinder engine. Based on the Outback Limited Wagon, the L.L. Bean Edition ($29,495) offers a package of exclusive comfort and appearance features and a no-cost, extended maintenance package (tire rotations and oil changes are covered for three years, at the manufacturer's recommended service intervals).
The Outback H6-3.0 VDC ($31,895) is the technology standard-bearer of the lineup. In addition to the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, the VDC uses the company's most sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, with all-speed traction control. VDC and L.L. Bean models come standard with automatic transmissions.