2010 Subaru Outback Wagon Review | Edmunds.com
 

2010 Subaru Outback Wagon

 
 

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Subaru Outback Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes
 

Review of the 2010 Subaru Outback

  • The all-new 2010 Subaru Outback remains an outdoorsman's choice, offering all-weather traction and even more interior space than before. Those in less rugged climes will find it an appealing alternative to conventional wagons and crossovers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious interior, crossover-besting cargo space, comfortable ride, simple controls on lower trims, commendable off-road performance for a wagon.

  • Cons

    Lacks agility, numb-on-center steering, awkward styling.

  • What's New for 2010

    The 2010 Subaru Outback has been fully redesigned. Changes include more interior room, more dramatic styling and new features.

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (241 total reviews)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Very disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Bought this car new off the lot and I have owned it for 1.5 years. From the very start I've had nothing but problems. Here's a list of issues: The GPS hard drive unit crapped out, entire unit replaced. Sun roof leaked twice in the first rains. Had to have new seals put in and buy a car cover. Sound system has been horrible from the start. At low volume the sound goes in and out in waves. Plastic seat casing along driver side seat kept popping off the track and then cracked. Passenger seat motor died, replaced. Check engine light keeps reappearing for gas cap (erroneously). Electronic e-break system keeps getting stuck engaged causing excessive wear. There's more but I'm out of characters.




An outstanding vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I have owned quite a few cars in my 45 years of driving and this is one of the best. It doesn't have the element of luxury my BMW's and Mercedes have had in the past but it is far and away the most trouble free and reliable cars ever. I have had it in storage since I bought it and used it briefly in 2010 driving from West Coast to the east but through, snow, ice and tornado's and incredible winds it was effortless. A quality automobile and although I love driving Beemers I hate taking them to the shop which is a constant. Subaru does it right and the 2010 redesign was an excellent example of fine engineering, while not the fastest definitely the safest and most reliable I have owned.



5 of 12 people found this review helpful

Blind spot and poor sight

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I've had this car on lease for over two years, it will be going back to the dealer. It's okay for around town driving at moderate speeds. On the highway I find the car exhausting to drive on trips longer than 30 min. The sightlines make me feel as though I am hurling through space. CVT delay is significant and the blind spots take away my confidence so I stay in the slow lane and rarely go over 65mph, which is not my normal style of driving. I live in the NYC area and am accustomed to aggressive driving and drivers. My boyfriend hates driving this car too, and being a passenger is no better. The design/windshield angle makes the passenger feel as though we are going to crash at any moment.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2010 Subaru Outback Review

What's New for 2010

The 2010 Subaru Outback has been fully redesigned. Changes include more interior room, more dramatic styling and new features.

Introduction

While the Subaru Outback may be named after the flat, desert center of Australia, its past iterations have been most popular in the snowy or more mountainous regions of the United States. Here, the Outback's standard all-wheel drive, rugged nature and general outdoorsy vibe fit right in with typical active lifestyles. However, wagons of any sort have limited appeal in other parts of the country, so Subaru has completely redesigned the 2010 Outback to draw in customers more inclined toward bigger crossovers. The results are mixed.

For one, the 2010 Subaru Outback is much bigger in nearly every dimension. While it may not look that much larger in pictures, park it next to a conventional car or wagon and you'll immediately notice the difference. The Outback is now quite similar to the Toyota Venza, which also bridges the gap between crossover and wagon. Not only does this provide a more visual distinction from traditionally uncool wagons, but it also provides a significant improvement in rear seat space (4 additional inches of legroom) and cargo capacity. Even bigger stuff can be strapped to the roof using the standard, adjustable roof rails that easily swing inward to serve double-duty as cross rails. It's a nifty feature that cuts down on the wind noise and air drag that go along with fixed cross rails.

Unfortunately, this added size means that the Outback has lost the relatively nimble handling that previously set it apart from traditional crossovers. It now feels tall and tippy when driving around corners, and numb steering doesn't instill much confidence either when heading through winding mountain passes. An increase in ground clearance (to 8.7 inches) has improved the Outback's ability to make its way through a field or rutted road undamaged, but for daily use the Outback is no more nimble on-road than the average crossover.

Despite its increased dimensions, the Outback has gained little weight thanks to the added use of lightweight, high-tensile steel. This makes life easier for the four- and six-cylinder "boxer" engines. The four has been mildly revised to improve responsiveness and is matched to a newly optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) that boosts fuel economy. The six-cylinder has also been revised, going from 3.0 liters to 3.6 liters, with horsepower increasing to 256 and torque going up to 247 pound-feet. Unfortunately, a turbocharged engine is no longer available -- the previous Outback's turbo engine helped compensate for the typical power drop in high-altitude environments.

For Subaru loyalists, the 2010 Subaru Outback provides more space and utility to aid in their day-to-day adventures. However, the side effects are disappointing handling, awkward exterior styling and the lack of a mountain-friendly turbo model. General-interest shoppers, meanwhile, will discover a vehicle that is less wagonlike than before and more like the countless crossovers now saturating the market. For either group, we're not sure there's enough of a differentiation between the Outback and Subaru's own Forester, even though the former has a higher-quality interior, a quieter and more comfortable ride, and a more carlike driving position. As such, we'd suggest driving the Forester, as well as the more elegant Toyota Venza. Wagons like the Volvo V50 and VW Passat could also be worth a look if you think the Outback has grown too big for its britches.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Subaru Outback is a five-passenger wagon available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 3.6R, 3.6R Premium and 3.6R Limited.

The base 2.5i comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, adjustable roof rails and cross bars, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, height-adjustable driver seat and a four-speaker stereo with CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, rear privacy glass, eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Optional on the Premium is an All-Weather package that adds heated side mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer and heated front seats. The optional Harman Kardon stereo includes nine speakers, a six-CD changer and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. The 2.5i Limited adds the All-Weather package, Harman Kardon stereo, CVT, a four-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather upholstery.

Equipment for the Outback 3.6R trim levels generally mirrors that of the respective 2.5i trims. Optional on all but the base 2.5i is a sunroof. Optional on the Limited models is a navigation system packaged with a back-up camera.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2010 Subaru Outback has all-wheel drive. The 2.5i models come with a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (aka "boxer" or "flat") four-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard on the base and Premium trims, while a CVT is optional on those trims and standard on the Limited. Manual-override shift paddles are included.

In performance testing, the 2.5i with a manual went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds. With the automatic, EPA estimates are 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Sticking with the manual drops those estimates to 19/27/22.

The 3.6R models come with a 3.6-liter flat-6 good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with shift paddles is the only transmission available. EPA fuel estimates are 18/25/20.

Safety

The 2010 Subaru Outback comes standard with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In brake testing, a base 2.5i came to a stop from 60 mph in a longer-than-average 133 feet.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Outback scored the top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Outback's increased size is noticed most inside. With the rear seat lowered, cargo capacity tops out at 71.3 cubic feet, which is a bit bigger than the Ford Edge, Subaru Forester and Toyota Venza. The enlarged backseat makes it a more compelling family vehicle, with plenty of legroom and a reclining seatback that make road trips friendlier for those riding in the back.

Compared to the last Outback, the 2010 edition seems to have slid a bit in terms of interior materials quality and design. There are a few more hard plastic trim pieces than before, but they are at least low sheen and fit well together. One notable improvement is simpler, easier-to-use audio and climate controls found on models without the optional navigation system. With navigation, the dash is notably different and is dominated by a large LCD screen. The dual-zone climate control system that comes with the Limited trim levels is naturally a bit more complicated than the manual unit, but the buttons are bigger and better differentiated than before.

Driving Impressions

With its increased size and concerted effort to be more of an SUV than a wagon, the 2010 Subaru Outback has lost much of its agility advantage over crossovers. Noticeable body roll and numb steering reduce the driver's confidence when tackling a winding road. The Outback used to be fun to drive -- this one isn't. However, ride quality is better than ever, sopping up bumps in a sophisticated manner that provides comfort without complete isolation.

The base 2.5-liter engine provides a punchy power delivery around town whether attached to the pleasant manual gearbox or optional CVT, which is one of the best on the market. If you're frequently carrying lots of passengers or cargo, the 3.6-liter six-cylinder is the better choice, and its increased torque makes it a bit more responsive than last year's smaller 3.0-liter engine.

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