First Look: 2010 Subaru Outback

First Look: 2010 Subaru Outback

Interior ambience is no longer an Outback oxymoron

The 2010 Outback joins the 2010 Legacy in providing a much higher-grade cabin. The instrument panel is handsome, even elegant, with good ergonomics. A full complement of modern telematics, including what looks to be a first-rate nav system, a killer Harman-Kardon stereo, Bluetooth, and iPod connectivity, is available. The cabin is not only roomier but also much more comfortable than the current Outback's, with bigger, cushier seats for bigger, cushier Americans. (Not everyone who drives an Outback hikes every day.)

Bigger gas tank, better fuel economy, greater range

With an 18.5-gallon fuel tank and an expected EPA fuel economy rating of 21/27 city/highway, the four-cylinder Outback, Subaru says, will provide an effective range of 425 miles. The six-cylinder model likely will receive a 17/23 mpg rating.

Coolest new feature

The built-in roof rack is a little too bulky looking, but what's cool about it is the fact that the crossbars are stored in the side rails when they're not needed, which reduces wind noise and improves aerodynamics and thus fuel economy. They instantly unlatch and swing into place, spanning the roof, when they're needed to mount all the gear that Outback owners tend to have like kayaks, bicycles, skis, and the like. The new rack also fits existing Subaru rack accessories, which is understandably important to repeat buyers.

Pricing

Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but Subaru claims that it will be very competitive. The outgoing 2009 Outback ranges in price from about $23,000 to about $35,000, and we don't expect that to change much for the 2010 Outback.

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