I'm just one of those people who likes wagons, and need once a week extra room but don't need a typical sized SUV or a van for the rest of my driving. The Outback is pretty much a base model with a couple extra option packages, power seat, dimming mirror plus a host of standard equipment - certainly is a comfortable well designed car. Its ride is comfortable and fairly compliant. The base 4 cylinder isn't spectacular, but once up to freeway speeds is peppy. I'm averaging 27.9 mpg over the first 7,000 miles, 80% freeway and 20% city. I'd easily get over 30 on continuous 70+MPH drives. Great car so far.
Ride, comfort, excellent mileage for an all wheel drive car.
For what I paid, the interior is not quite up to a Jetta Wagon, for instance quality of materials, but it certainly doesn't look cheap or chintzy either. I probably would say to gear first gear with a little more pep off the line with an automatic...maybe the 5 speed automatic accomplishes this?