The 2010 Subaru Outback marks the latest generation of the model since its introduction in 1994 as a tougher version of the company’s Legacy. This time out, the Outback is a little bigger and sports a new, first of its kind CVT transmission paired to an all-wheel drive (AWD) system. It retains the relative comfort, extreme reliability and durability, and the all-around fun factor that the previous Outbacks have become known for.
The wheelbase of the new Outback has grown by 2.8 inches, it’s taller by 4 inches and it’s wider by 2 inches. The overall length, however, has been shortened by about an inch, but the increases in other dimensions make the interior more roomy than the previous model, including a welcome increase in legroom for taller drivers and passengers. Also, the ground clearance has been raised to an impressive 8.7 inches, meaning that this Outback could really be used to drive across the real Outback (albeit, not the rougher spots). The tires features a taller sidewall that increases drive comfort and makes the car more stable on less-than-friendly terrain.
There are two engine options, just like the previous model. The base model has a 2.5-liter flat four that has been revised over the previous generation, producing 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. This engine can be mated to the aforementioned CVT transmission that is mated to a variable clutch system. This chain-based design has an infinite number of gear ratios that provide for more efficiency. For those who like to have control over the transmission, you can either have a traditional manual tranny, or opt for steering wheel-mounted shifting paddles which will put the transmission into a six-step system of artificial gears. The other engine option is a 3.6-liter flat six. The engine provides a bit of extra power over the four-cylinder and is only available with a five-speed automatic transmission. The six-cylinder engine is a bit superfluous, though. The four-cylinder is more than enough for most any driver. Each engine option level has three trim levels; basic, Premium, and Limited.
The Outback rides on a revised suspension system that helps the car keep steady and improves the ride comfort. Don’t expect to be going around corners like a racer, but the suspension gives a nice balance of strength for rougher roads, as well as smoothness for cruising on the highway and around town (which, let’s face it, will be where most Outback drivers will be found).
The 2010 Subaru Outback features some nice upgrades over the previous generation of the model, but it doesn’t mess with the formula too much. This will definitely please fans of the brand, as the company is one of the best at tailoring their vehicles to their niche audience. Also, the Outback, and its little sister the Legacy, offer enough comfort and power to entice first-time Subaru owners to the fold.