2010 Outback New Car Test Drive
The all-new 2010 Subaru Outback is the fourth generation of the unique sport/utility wagon originally launched 15 years ago. The Outback is a unibody, all-wheel-drive crossover vehicle made in Lafayette, Indiana.
Subaru vehicles address utility as a form of luxury, based on the idea that a functional tool is a thing of beauty. With the Outback, there is the assumption of active outdoor use.
The new 2010 Outback suspension, transmission and all-wheel-drive system are geared for control, comfort and stability on gravel roads and in inclement weather. All Subarus are all-wheel drive, aiming for sure handling and traction in marginal conditions. That may explain why they are most popular in the New England region, the Pacific Northwest, and mountain states. The engines feature horizontally opposed pistons, the so-called boxer layout that Porsche also uses. This results in strong torque for accelerating up hills while helping maintain a low center of gravity for improved handling.
We found the new Outback to be an exceptionally capable car on unpaved forest roads. Extensive driving on Montana's back roads revealed its tough, supple suspension could handle rough roads, and its superb all-wheel-drive performed well in all sorts of slippery conditions. Out on the open highway the Outback is smooth and comfortable and feels like a regular car.
Two engines are available, balancing efficiency and performance. Best government-rated fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 22/29 mpg City/Highway for the 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). For maximum performance, a 256-hp 3.6-liter six-cylinder is available, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Neither engine uses forced induction or turbocharging to achieve its rated output, and both run on regular unleaded fuel.
Four-wheel independent suspension is standard. The revised rear suspension for 2010 incorporates a double-wishbone design, which delivers a smoother ride and enables a larger rear cargo area.
The 2010 Outback redesign emphasizes improved cargo carrying, with enhancements like larger doors that swing open wider, and larger interior dimensions for more cargo room.
A number of new safety features have been added as standard equipment for 2010. These include front, side, and side curtain airbags, and electronic enhancements to improve stability and traction.
Possibly because the Outback is not exactly like anything else on the market, Subaru reports very high owner loyalty. As a result, new models are rarely dramatic departures from the Subaru tradition. More than 800,000 Outbacks have been sold since they were introduced.
The Subaru Outback is available with a choice of two engines, three transmissions, with Base, Limited or Premium trim levels.
Outback 2.5i models come with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission ($22,995) or CVT ($23,995). Premium ($24,295) and Limited ($27,995) models come with a higher level of standard equipment.
Outback 3.6R models come with the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission ($27,995). Premium ($28,995) and Limited ($30,995) versions are available.
An All-Weather Package ($500) adding heated mirrors, seats and de-icing equipment is optional or is included with the Premium trim.