After having driven and fallen into total lust with the WRX version of the Impreza, I didn't know what to expect from the Outback Sport. Since it lacks the horsepower of its sibling, we expected less, and in that respect, the Subaru didn't disappoint. We just didn't expect it to be that much less. Our best run to the quarter-mile mark was a rather lazy 17.7 at 76.8 miles per hour. We got that time on our very first run and never improved on that time. Automatic shfting took place from first to second at the 6,200 pm redline and from second to third at 6,000 rpm. We took a sixth run to try and duplicate the street start and automatic shifting of the first run to see if the engine was getting heat soaked. What we found was that we could not get close to the time we had gotten on the first run, and that quite possibly the engine didn't work as well when it got hot.
Our braking runs were neither good nor bad. We generated the best 60 to 0 distance on the second run and the best 30 to 0 distance on the third run, showing that unlike the engine, the brakes worked better with a little heat. We experienced a fair amount of nose dive, but given the raised Outback Sport suspension, it was not bothersome. Stability was good with little movement in the lane while braking. ABS system noise was noticeable but not excessive. Overall a nice system for its front disc/rear drum setup.
As mentioned in the braking section, the Outback Sport comes equipped with a heavy-duty raised suspension, so it sits higher than the Impreza TS Sport Wagon or WRX versions. That raised suspension also allows more body roll and slower reactions to steering input. The longer suspension travel translates into slower times through the cones. This vehicle seemed to have grip that disappeared rather quickly, causing us to surmise that the tires were the root cause. One minute grip was there and then suddenly grip was gone, and then the tail would start to move. Not uncontrollable, mind you, just noticeable. A tight line through the cones was the best course of action. Neil G. Chirico