Winter still has not yet released its grip from Michigan, But in four Seasons Subaru Outback does not mind 1 bit, what as its Yokohama winter tires, all wheel drive, and lots of ground clearance. Senior Web editor Adalbert Balmer face some ominous conditions in his journey for the Chicago auto show, as forecasts predicting ten inches of snow during his trip.
Once he returned safely to his desk in Ann Arbor, Floraday reported: “In deep snow, the Outback is simply brilliant. I tackled what seemed to be at least a foot of snow at the entrance to the alley near my house, and the Outback easily slogged through it. Driving on completely unplowed pavement like the third lane of I-75 during a blizzard is no different than driving on dry pavement.”
But it was not all fun with winter games. When the roads are clear or just icy, Floraday continued, the car is not as good. The Yokohama winter tires cause the Outback to wander all over, And the complete lack to steering feel make my drive home from Chicago quite tedious. I have to make too many corrections to keep the car on course at speeds only in the 70-to-75-mph range.
After the trip, Floraday had mixed feelings overall: There is something very cool about the ideas of an Outback since it can pretty much do anything you may imagine, Aside from tow heavy trailers or haul extremely bulky objects. However, this Outback feels entirely too boring and generic for me to really enjoy spending time in it.
The new Outback is 1 of those vehicles that highlights how sharply typical Americans can differ from us enthusiasts in their preferences, said assistant editor David Zenlea. I find the previous-generation Outback (my mom owns a 2009) to be a much, much superior vehicle in the way it drives, and I think it already offered more than enough utility. But the sales charts indicate that this new model is far and away more popular.”
Technical editor Don Sherman is also lukewarm to the Outback: “Nicely executed interior. Well laid out, high-quality plastics, credible faux wood, perforated vinyl, and textured plastic that resembles metal. Plenty of room for five plus luggage. This hauler does fulfill much of the typical family mission.
“So this is a nicely oiled, highly practical appliance,” Sherman continued. “Unfortunately, the fun-to-drive gene is weak or nonexistent. Two specifics: the steering isn’t sufficiently precise to laser you down the road at cruise velocity; and immediately off-center, there’s a notch in the feel/effort curve when the power assist is triggered.”
We’ll see if the Outback fares any better once its all-season tires are reinstalled and the weather warms up.
2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
Base price (with destination): $31,690Price as tested: $35,541
OverviewBody Style: 4-door wagonAccommodation: 5-passengerConstruction: Steel unibody
PowertrainEngine: 24-valve DOHC flat-6Displacement: 3.6 litersPower: 256 hp @ 6000 rpmTorque: 247 lb-ft @ 4400 rpmTransmission: 5-speed automaticDrive: 4-wheelFuel economy: 18/25/20 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
ChassisSteering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinionTurns lock-to-lock: 3.2Turning Circle: 36.8 ftSuspension, front: Strut-type, coil springsSuspension, Rear: Control arms, coil springsBrakes F/R: Ventilated discs, ABSWheels: 17-inch aluminumTires: Yokohama Ice Guard iG20 (winter)Tire Size: 225/60R-17
MeasurementsHeadroom F/R: 38.7/39.3 inLegroom F/R: 43.0/37.8 inShoulder room F/R: 56.3/56.1 inHip room F/R: 54.5/53.9 inWheelbase: 107.9 inL x W x H: 188.2 x 71.7 x 65.7 inTrack F/R: 61.0/61.0 inCargo Capacity: 34.3/71.3 cu ft (rear seats up/down)Weight: 3658 lbFuel Capacity: 18.5 galEst. Range: 370 milesFuel Grade: 87 octane
Standard EquipmentStability controlABSFront, side, and side curtain air bagsTire-pressure monitoring systemAir-conditioningPower windows, mirrors, and door locksTen-way power driver’s seat; four-way power front-passenger seatHeated front seats, sideview mirrors, and wiper de-icerLeather-trimmed upholsteryTilt and telescopic steering wheelTrip computer
OptionsOption Package 08 (power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, auxiliary audio USB/iPod input, backup camera, Bluetooth audio capability), $2995Popular Equipment Group 1a (auto-dim mirror/compass, security system shock sensor), $326Sirius satellite kit, $461All-weather floor mats, $69
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