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2010 Subaru Outback - A More Fuel Efficient and Roomy Crossover

The Subaru Outback has always been a vehicle which caters to a wide variety of customer tastes and needs. It is essentially a wagon variant of the Subaru Legacy designed to be rugged and off road capable. Its off-road focus has made it popular with those who are looking for a little more than a wagon. With the 2010 model, it continues the tradition. The all-new 2010 Subaru Outback was introduced at the New York International Auto Show. The new model is improved with a roomier cabin and is a more capable vehicle. The Outback gets an all-new chassis and the new Subaru Lineartronic' CVT (continuously variable transmission) and is also built on an all new platform. Outback features a rear cargo area that is deeper and wider than in many small SUVs and easier to access through its wide aperture rear hatch. Reduced front and rear overhang dimensions, combined with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, help enhance Outback's off-pavement maneuverability. 2010 Outback provides quicker acceleration and lower fuel consumption than comparable 2009 Outback models. The Outback, like all Subaru models, has consistently earned top scores in government and insurance industry crash tests.

2010 Outback Power

Powering the Outback is a revised 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine. The efficient Outback 2.5i models offer a new standard 6-speed manual transmission, or the available Lineartronic' CVT. Subaru has adopted a chain-type CVT, the world's first longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. It employs smaller pulley cores, which helps make the unit more compact and can help provide better fuel efficiency compared to belt-type CVTs. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. Both transmissions help to improve acceleration, response and fuel economy. Three new range-topping Outback 3.6R models are powered by a new 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine teamed with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. Compared to the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine it replaces, the more powerful 3.6 has the same external size and uses regular-grade fuel, rather than premium as the 3.0 required. The 3.6-liter H6 engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter H6, yet features the same external dimensions thanks primarily to a unique shortened connecting rod design. As a result, the new, more powerful engine maintains its excellent low center of gravity. All Outback models for 2010 feature a larger fuel tank, now 18.5 gallons vs. 16.9.

Design of the Outback

The wheelbase of the Outback has been increased by 2.8 inches and improves rear seat legroom by almost 4 inches. While the new Outback resembles previous models, it marks a departure in design toward a bolder look. The upright grille features the Subaru circular badge and wing design as the focal point and is offset by dramatic hawk-eye headlamps. The new molded lower valence and side skirts have been made more durable for off-road adventures. With a wider track and expressive wheel arches, ground clearance has been increased to 8.7 inches. The taillamps blend into the rear hatch, which highlights the more clearly defined beltline. The roof rails integrate the twin crossbars on pivots, so that when not in use they swivel into line and reduce drag.

Driving the 2010 Outback

The Outback gets Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. This invaluable performance and safety-enhancing system distinguishes the Outback from crossover competitors, which generally offer all wheel drive as an extra-cost option. The 2010 Outback model line employs three different versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, each tailored to the specific engine and transmission. Capability is enhanced with a segment-first swing-out roof rail and crossbar design and an improved 8.7 inches of ground clearance. A new rear double wishbone suspension improves chassis dynamics and rear cargo space. The new Subaru Outback improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform that makes for a smoother, quieter ride, still with crisp handling. MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to a new engine cradle, and the engine is attached to the cradle using new hydraulic mounts. The new cradle is designed to also enhance crash-worthiness in front. A new double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, replaces the previous multi-link configuration to provide improved ride and handling.

Inside the Subaru Outback

The 2010 Outback is 2 inches wider to improve passenger comfort, has more headroom and is more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. The Outback interior is also more refined from an already-praised design in the previous model. This includes a new 3-spoke steering wheel and a multi-information display with trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. A new electronic parking brake eliminates the traditional parking brake handle, freeing up space in the center console. The seats are more comfortable with new front and rear seat designs. The rear seat includes a new recline feature. The front seatback shape provides extra rear-seat knee room, and the front-seat cushion design allows more rear-seat foot room. Total passenger room is increased by 8 cubic feet, now 105.4 cu. ft., and maximum cargo capacity is up by 6 cubic feet to 71.3 cu. ft.

Outback Premium models add more amenities and offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a harman-kardonĀ® audio system, a power moonroof, and the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Outback Limited models feature leather upholstery, a dual zone automatic climate control system, and a 4-way power passenger seat. Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio.


The all-new 2010 Subaru Outback is an easy-to-maneuver and off-road capable wagon. Subaru engineers have increased interior volume by almost 8 percent in a package that is actually shorter than the outgoing model. The new Outback is also four inches taller than the previous model, increasing headroom and cargo area height. The new packaging thus preserves the maneuverability, agility and parking ease that Outback customers highly value. Like the Legacy, stability control and an electronic parking brake with hill-holder feature are standard. A host of other tech features such as navigation, Bluetooth with streaming audio, heated seats, and windshield wiper de-icer will help make the Outback a good choice for many drivers. Overall, the Outback is leaning towards more of an SUV in many aspects, and certainly falls into the crossover category with its roomier cabin, higher ground clearance, and improved capabilities.

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