Handling, safety and stability are all as advertised. I waited until I had driven this car on unplowed back roads in a New England snowstorm to post this review, and I must say the car handled extremely confidently in conditions that I otherwise would have shied from in previous vehicles. There is a feeling of solidity while still retaining an edge of sportiness with this sedan, and because there are relatively few 4-door Outbacks out there, it is a unique driving experience. Although I would recommend this car, please be aware it is not without some mind-boggling minor design flaws that make one wonder what some of the engineers were thinking when they put the finishing touches on this baby.
I test drove this vehicle about 6-8 times comparing it to Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Acura, Nissan, BMW and each time the handling and "feel good" factor made the Outback the superior choice for me. My wife and I travel to the mountain states each year and can't wait to get into the Outback and put it through mountain roads at a good pace. We also have a Lexus RX 350 and we both barter to use the Subaru each week. If there is a hint of rain or severe weather, the Subaru is the automatic choice. Acceleration and the combined handling with the fuel economy is propelling this vehicle to compete with "all time favorite vehicle owned" for our house. A smart choice.
Having driven many of the Subaru wagons I thought I'd try this shorter version. Boy does it go. I think the AWD couple with the excellent handling will prove this model to be the best I have driven. Bring on the rain or snow.
This is my third new Subaru and there are noticeable improvements from model to model. The only real negative I see is a hesitation to accelerate. This is a real problem when coming onto a road past a blind curve or pulling onto a parkway with fast unforgiving traffic. Otherwise the car has amazing handling and is the best foul weather car I have ever driven in. It is a little closer to the ground than my 2000 Outback Limited offering excellent stability in the wind. I particularly liked the sport shift when I went over the 16% grade of the Sonora Pass in California this year - I really feel safe in this car under almost any condition. 19/25 mpg traffic/highway.