The 2012 Subaru Outback video review covers price, fuel economy, interior space, cargo capacity and its standard all-wheel-drive system. We also compare it to compact crossover SUVs and other wagons.
Pricing begins around $23,000 with a 4-cylinder engine. Six-cylinders start just below $30,000, but can top $40,000 when fully loaded. Our 2.5i Premium test car came in just over 30 grand, including the optional continuously variable transmission.
The Outback's interior looks attractive enough, but we were a bit let down by all the hard plastic. On the other hand, the audio and climate controls are straightforward and easy to use.
Although it's not an SUV, you'll be impressed by the rear head room and reclining rear seats. Fold them down and there's 71.3 cubic-feet, which is more than the Ford Edge.
In government crash testing, the Outback earned an overall score of four stars out of five, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated it a Top Safety Pick.
Two horizontally opposed engines are available. The base four-cylinder puts out 170 horsepower. Acceleration with the 6-speed manual is adequate, but slow with the CVT. On the upside, the latter pairing is thrifty at 22 city/29 highway and 24 mpg combined.
If you'll be hitting the hills, go with the six-cylinder and the extra power it packs under the hood. Fuel economy is average given its power and the Outback's size.
On pavement the ride is soft, somewhat at the expense of nimble handling. Still, there's a nice level of feedback to the driver. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, it's not afraid to venture off-road, either.
Northerners love the Subaru Outback because of its all-wheel drive, rugged build quality and utter usefulness. You'll like it because it can take you just about anywhere you want to go, without breaking your wallet wide open.