Track Tested: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Track Tested: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i

2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Since its introduction for 1996, the Subaru Outback has had a cult-like following, and we mean that in the nicest way. It's the classic all-wheel-drive wagon -- not too big, not too flashy, but incredibly useful and rugged for its size. The redesigned 2010 Subaru Outback is still quite practical, but we think it might have gotten too big. We think it has become a full-on SUV. And we're beginning to miss the Subaru Legacy wagon.

This extra size and weight is apparent at the test track, where our 2010 Outback 2.5i tester handles and stops far more like an SUV than a wagon. We should note our test Outback was a bit of an oddball in terms of equipment -- a base 2.5i model with the six-speed manual gearbox and no options. Most 2010 Subaru Outbacks should have Subaru's Lineartronic CVT. As always, 2.5i indicates Subaru's normally aspirated, 2.5-liter, boxer four-cylinder.

Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i
Odometer: 859
Date: 8/18/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $23,690 (no options)

Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Engine Type: Horizontally-opposed four-cylinder
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2457cc (150cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,400 rpm
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 170 @ 5,600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 170 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): 11.6-inch ventilated disc with 2-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): 11.3-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Engine-speed-proportional, hydraulic-assist, power rack-and-pinion steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, double-wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P215/70R16 99S
Tire Size (rear): P215/70R16 99S
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: Conti ProContact
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 16-by-6.5-inch front and rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Steel
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,377

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.1
0 - 45 (sec): 5.7
0 - 60 (sec): 9.4
0 - 75 (sec): 14.4
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.9 @ 81.3
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.1
30 - 0 (ft): 33
60 - 0 (ft): 133
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 59.2
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.77
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 41.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.6
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.1

Acceleration Comments: With no chance of wheel spin, the best launch is pretty clutch-intensive -- slipping it from 4,000 rpm. Shift throws are on the long side, but gates are well defined and aren't notchy or reluctant. Power feels like it trails off in upper revs.

Braking Comments: The rear end gets light and wiggles a bit under full ABS stops. Good fade resistance and quiet ABS pump.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Good balance right on the verge of under- or oversteer. It was interesting that despite the nondefeatable stability control system, the Outback spun 90 degrees after passing the timers when I lifted off the throttle. Hmm. Slalom: Unlike the skidpad where the stability control seemed rather lenient, it was on full red alert in the slalom. Heavy-handed and probably a good thing, too. Turn-in is reasonably good, but the rear end is reluctant to follow. Tall and tippy is the feeling.

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