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AutoBlog: First Drive: 2010 Subaru Outback has something for everyone

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Filed under: Wagon, Crossover, Subaru, First Drive, Off-Road

2010outback_review000_opt.jpg
2010 Subaru Outback - Click above for high-res image gallery

Before there was such a thing as a CUV, there was a jacked-up four-wheel drive wagon called the Subaru Legacy. A few special editions later, the Legacy Outback edition birthed the stand-alone Subaru Outback in 1995. The precedent was set, establishing the wagon as polymath, master of numerous disciplines: durability, capability, wide range, ease of use and maintenance on-road and off. The styling, however - well, you weren't really buying a Subaru for its styling. Autoblog went to Montana to drive the fourth-generation 2010 Subaru Outback, and all we needed was one look to realize there's finally a Subaru for the rest of us. Then we drove it, and it just got better. Follow the jump to find out why.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Jonathon R. Ramsey / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2010 Subaru Outback has something for everyone

First Drive: 2010 Subaru Outback has something for everyone originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 11:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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alright. i found myself at the subaru dealer today to kill some time. i wanted to look at the new legacy and i forgot this was new also.

ok, why is there even a forester anymore, and b- this thing is quite nice on the inside. i was shocked at this and the legacy as the pictures make it seem as though the interior is ghastly. the forester is even a terrible hell to sit in and drive and i was shocked to discover how much more upscale this is over the last gen legacy and the forester.

now, exterior styling is another issue. the legacy and outback both seem equal measures subaru 'quirky' plus genuine ugly and generic asian device at the same time. the outback in the particular seems less of a 'new england female' transportation icon and has evolved into a confused butch samurai sort of looking device that sort of rivals a bit of the tackiness of the aztek in my garage.

but unlike past subarus the new outback has a bit of machismo attitude to go with a japanese superhero cartoonish look to it.

the trunk is large, think volvo v70 sized. in fact, the whole interior is v70 sized. cavernous. i would have no qualms about ditching the t-rex for this, except it lacks a third row. its more accomodating than the whatever the big subey crossover is.

now it hits me. the forester will be the new england females poster vehicle now. and the outback becomes the suburban couple city slayer.

compliments to subaru on the brochures for 2010. Almost no one makes colorful substantial brochures anymore.

the outback gets great mpg with the new cvt but how will it hold up? the forester drives like crap so i hope this is a substantial improvement over that. Judging by the substance and heft of the interior and vehicle in general i predict this is a major upgrade over the forester.

its ugly but i think subaru hit paydirt here for a reasonable alternative to the plethora of huge heavy 3 row crossovers and the smaller more expensive luxo crossovers. the outback maintains a ruggedness that fluffroaders like the venza and murano lack. Yet it does not give off a trucklike aura.

legacy by the way has oodles more charisma and showroom presentation than the ugly as fk accord and the dumpy as heck camry.

it will be interesting to see how this subie stacks up to the japanese brand competition but to be honest IMHO its already at the top (will need to drive one to make sure). 23/31 with AWD and CVT and an overall presence that makes the accord, altima, galant, camry, mazda6, all seem like junk is quite impressive. again, need to drive one.

i hate to say it, but i am shocked that i have an initial liking to this vehicle despite the goofy looks and will have to test both the outback and legacy. I still think the fusion and taurus stack up well on the legacy and there are so many crossover choices but in lower trim levels the two new subarus offer fab value and really step it up for the marque.

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edit

looking through the brochure, the outback is AWD and only weighs about 3400 pounds. an AWD crossover only 3400 pounds. thats 900 pounds less than a new SHO. and about 1200 less than my super stout taurus x but still. any coincindence that it gets about 40% better mpg?

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took a 2010 outback 2.5 CVT out for a spin today.

pretty easy to sum up. pleasant vehicle. Very occupant friendly. Nice packaging, good visibility. The interior is top notch, even with cloth and plastics and touch points are nice. The dash and ergonomics are spot on and it feels like a nice cocoon. the gauges and radio are nice located. rear seat room is amazing and why this car is relevent now. cabin width is excellent also. ride height is spot on for a tall wagon (not as tall as a jacked up SUV).

i think the edmunds review i read of it was pretty close.

there is nothing scintillating about the drive of this vehicle. at the same time, its inoffensive, capable, and secure. it doesn't feel substantial, but it doesn't feel flimsy like the accord and other hondas do. the interior is incredibly quiet. the engine is loud from a dead stop and it lacks some zoom with the CVT. But it becomes quiet and does not drone and is fairly smooth since its a boxer. As far as CVT's go (i don't like em) it works well and was excellent in freeway on ramp acceleration. The paddle shifters work pretty good, for a CVT anyways. Its not a replacement for a true manual. I felt the whole car drag under the weight of the AWD but still it felt peppier than i thought it would. I think most buyers would prefer the 6 cylinder if they get this vehicle. The sales guy said a couple customers reported back their mileage already....mid twenties in town and over 32 on trips.

its a comfortable capable vehicle. the passenger cabin and vehicle size are the big draws to spark sales. I'd like to see a more engaging drive and a more substantial feel to the vehicle, but it is tight, quality made, and for the intended buyers no doubt will be quite satisfactory.

It doesn't inpsire passion, and its not junky like the forester is. Its a good midsize entry that will be an SUV replacement for those who don't need hulking vehicles but want something that is semi coddling.

now i am interested in seeing how an 010 equinox and a base venza compare in ride and drive.

Edited by regfootball
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