New Car Reviews

Four Seasons Introduction: 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Long-Term 2010 Subaru Outback Update: Fall 2009 Array Miles to date: 0

Here at Automobile Magazine, we adore sports cars, hot coupes, and steroidal sedans. But real life reminds us that such dream cars aren’t always suitable when there are family members to be toted, mulch to be moved, rough roads to traverse, and bad weather to battle.

That’s where the newest member of our Four Seasons fleet – the Subaru Outback 3.6R Premium – comes in. It’s not as fast as our 4S Nissan GT-R or as flashy as our BMW 750Li, but the Outback should provide excellent utility and versatility, not to mention comfort. Our top-of-the-line Outback has a $35,541 price tag, a full $11,851 more than the most basic Outback model, the manual-transmission 2.5i. Our 3.6R’s tariff includes $3851 worth of options. The priciest package adds a moonroof, voice-activated navigation, a backup camera, an auxiliary audio input, and Bluetooth audio streaming – all for a steep $2995. We also added Sirius satellite radio ($461), an auto-dim mirror/compass and security-system shock sensor ($326), and all-weather floor mats ($69).

Standard powertrain features on the 3.6R include a 256-hp, 3.6-liter flat-six, a paddle-shifted five-speed automatic, and, like all new Subaru vehicles, symmetrical all-wheel drive. Every Outback 3.6R also comes with a lifted suspension, a roof-mounted luggage rack, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, Bluetooth phone connectivity, leather seats, and eight cupholders (!).

Some of those in our office might have preferred a turbocharged Legacy wagon like our lovely 2005-model Four Seasons example. But when Subaru redesigned the Legacy/Outback for 2010, the company chose to separate the models, so the Legacy is now offered exclusively as a sedan while the taller, more rugged fourth-generation Outback comes only as a wagon.

Will the Outback’s higher ride height hobble its handling abilities? Or will we fall in love with its ruddy Subie spirit? We’ll keep you updated throughout the next twelve months with our 2010 Outback.

2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Base price (with destination): $31,690
Price as tested: $35,541

Body Style: 4-door wagon
Accommodation: 5-passenger
Construction: Steel unibody

Engine: 24-valve DOHC flat-6
Displacement: 3.6 liters
Power: 256 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 247 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive: 4-wheel
Fuel economy: 18/25/20 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.2
Turning Circle: 36.8 ft
Suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Control arms, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Ventilated discs, ABS
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum
Tires: Continental ContiProContact (all-season)
Tire Size: 225/60TR-17

Headroom F/R: 38.7/39.3 in
Legroom F/R: 43.0/37.8 in
Shoulder room F/R: 56.3/56.1 in
Hip room F/R: 54.5/53.9 in
Wheelbase: 107.9 in
L x W x H: 188.2 x 71.7 x 65.7 in
Track F/R: 61.0/61.0 in
Cargo Capacity: 34.3/71.3 cu ft (rear seats up/down)
Weight: 3658 lb
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal
Est. Range: 370 miles
Fuel Grade: 87 octane

Standard Equipment
Stability control
Front, side, and side curtain air bags
Tire-pressure monitoring system
Power windows, mirrors, and door locks
Ten-way power driver’s seat; four-way power front-passenger seat
Heated front seats, sideview mirrors, and wiper de-icer
Leather-trimmed upholstery
Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
Trip computer

Option Package 08 (power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, auxiliary audio USB/iPod input, backup camera, Bluetooth audio capability), $2995
Popular Equip Group 1a (auto-dim mirror/compass, security system shock sensor), $326
Sirius satellite kit, $461
All-weather floor mats, $69