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2010 Subaru Outback

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2010 Subaru Outback Review

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The 2010 Subaru Outback is the perfect anti-SUV. No larger than most mid-size cars, the all-wheel-drive Outback has become one of the best selling wagons in America; it is also a favorite of those needing the off-road capabilities of a large SUV, but not the accompanying lofty fuel bills and hard-to-park mass. New from the ground up, the fifth-generation Outback remains true to the original concept yet achieves major improvements in the areas of interior room, fuel economy and flexibility. As with all Subarus, the Outback comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a proven system that allows this rugged wagon to conquer the toughest terrain and deepest snow.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for an economical wagon with an emphasis on safety, features, fuel-economy and true off-road capability, the Outback is pretty much your best bet.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a third-row seat, tow heavy loads or prefer the car-like styling of the Volvo XC70 or Toyota Venza, the new Outback probably won't be a good fit.

What's New for 2010

Not only does the 2010 Outback sport a rugged new look, it offers a host of improvements. Among the most notable is a new continuously-variable transmission (CVT) on four-cylinder models, a new 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, an additional four-inches of rear-seat legroom, a clever roof rack with pivoting cross rails and an available DVD navigation system allowing music streaming via Bluetooth connectivity.

Driving the Outback

Driving Impressions If maximum fuel economy takes precedence over quick acceleration, the 2.5-liter four with the CVT is your best bet. With 170 horsepower on tap the engine has to work a...

bit to move the Outback. Once up to speed the CVT finds and holds the engine's maximum torque and horsepower, providing the best acceleration and fuel economy mix. The CVT does take some getting used to as there are no discernable gear shifts such as are common to a traditional automatic. The standard steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, however, allow the driver to select and hold "gears" as with a manual transmission, thus making passing and merging maneuvers a bit quicker. With a projected 29 miles per gallon highway and a new 18-gallon fuel tank, the Outback can cruise over 500 miles before refueling. As for the Outback's driving characteristics, it demonstrates an impressive sedan-like feel, especially surprising considering the car's high center of gravity. The steering is precise and predictable and interior sound levels are much improved over the 2009 Outback.

CVT Automatic
Subaru's take on this fuel-saving transmission uses a metal band as opposed to a rubber belt, which it claims will improve durability and longevity. The Subaru CVT includes a manual shift mode that mimics the shift points of a manual transmission without the need for a clutch pedal. Best of all, the CVT is expected to return an estimated 22 city and 29 highway, which is better than the six-speed manual.

Electronic Parking Brake with Hill Holder
Not only does this feature free up more space on the center console, it incorporates an electronic hill holder that, on inclines of more the five percent, holds the vehicle in place until the driver steps on the accelerator.

2010 Subaru Outback Details
2010 Subaru Outback photo Interior

One of the biggest complaints heard by previous Outback owners involved the car's tiny back seat. The new model addresses this concern by adding an additional four inches of legroom and nearly three inches of headroom. During our test drive, we comfortably fit three six-foot-tall adults in the back seat and still had space between their knees and the front seat backs. Wider front seats and a reclining rear seat further improve occupant comfort, while upscale models offer power driver's-side lumbar support and leather seating surfaces. The addition of a dash-mounted electronic parking brake allows Subaru engineers to remove the center-console handbrake handle, creating more space for water bottles and latte cups. Models equipped with automatic transmissions also feature steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Exterior
2010 Subaru Outback photo

The all-new 2010 Outback is a radical departure from the model it replaces. Gone are the sleek lines, car-like styling and handsome two-tone wheel arches. What's in is a more SUV-like appearance, with thick plastic cladding on the doors, rocker panels and front bumper, as well as larger headlamps and pronounced fender arches. The 2010 Outback is nearly three inches taller and two inches wider than the 2009 model, yet overall length actually shrinks by one inch. Last year's frameless windows are replaced by fully-framed glass, a design that improves body rigidity and reduces wind noise. The rear door openings are much larger, allowing easier entry and exit. Up top is a clever new roof rack with folding cross rails that can be tucked away to reduce wind noise and drag, while down below 8.7-inches of ground clearance assures the new Outback can tackle just about any off-road condition.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Outback 2.5i features a six-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, six airbags – including front side-impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags – and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, steering wheel controls for the audio and cruise control, rear wiper/washer, remote keyless entry, electronic parking brake with hill-holder feature and the swing-away cross-rail roof rack. The Premium model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat with power lumbar support, fog lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear privacy glass. To this the Limited trim adds leather seating, four-way power passenger's seat, the All Weather Package (heated seats, side mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers), the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission, dual-zone automatic temperature control, a 440-watt harman/kardon stereo with six-disc CD/WMA/MP3 changer and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. Six-cylinder models feature the same equipment, but replace the CVT with a traditional five-speed automatic.

Optional Equipment

Most options are offered according to trim. Base models offer a few dealer-installed items including Bluetooth phone connectivity, exterior puddle lights, cargo organizing systems and fog lights. The Premium models offer a power sunroof, the All-Weather Package (heated seats, mirrors and wiper de-icers) and the 440-watt harman/kardon audio system, while the Limited trims offer a power sunroof and a voice-activated navigation system featuring music streaming (streams music to the car's stereo from a compatible Bluetooth-enabled device), an eight-inch view screen and a rear backup camera. Other stand-alone options include Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, iPod integration system, Media Hub Kit that adds a USB connector, remote start (automatic transmission only), a trailer hitch and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with built-in compass.

Under the Hood

Subaru offers two horizontally-opposed boxer engines in the Outback. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers 170 horsepower, which may not be best in class but does generate enough muscle to provide satisfactory performance. Equipping this engine with the CVT automatic will produce the best fuel economy, but the six-speed manual is a better choice from a performance standpoint. If fuel economy is not a top priority, the best choice for the Legacy is the six-cylinder, which provides much better acceleration and passing power than the four while delivering slightly worse fuel economy (18/25 vs. 22/29).

2.5-liter Boxer four
170 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 22/29 (automatic)

3.6-liter Boxer six
256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

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2010 Subaru Outback Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 246 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

excellent value compared to similar vehicles

By on Friday, August 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value compared to other small/mid sized suvs"

Cons: "Few interior color options."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my 4th Subaru. Safety, reliability and versatility of the brand has been consistent (I drove a small Ford for 11 years between 3rd & 4th Subaru). Mileage is very good: spring through fall, I'm getting 33mpg, sometimes better, at 65-70 mph. The car hauls everything from 6' friends, bikes and kayaks to yard waste and tree limbs. No effort flat folding rear seats allow that versatility. It's a great riding vehicle."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle - comfortable, carries a lot

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Driver's seat adjustable to every person"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best vehicle I ever owned. Assembled in America, huge cargo area when back seats are down, comfortable, warm in the Winter, cool in the Summer, and high off the ground."

3 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Really Love our first Subaru Outback

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty but rugged, yet classy, and fun!"

Cons: "Rear camera in mid dash, instead of the rear view."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"No, it is not a Jaguar, but it handles very well indeed. Slightly hesitant to get up and go when pushing it to merge on the freeway, it will get with the program within 2 seconds, and go for it with the best of them! We have never felt the need to refer to this vehicle as "a boat" nor any other bulky derogatory remarks, it is as much like a car as it can be, in actions and in feel inside, while offering me the space for my dogs, groceries, or Big Box store hauls. We love the tech options, the blue tooth, the rear view camera. We have never used the rear view mirror buttons, so those are superfluous to our lifestyle, obviously. I LOVE the outdoors package, or maybe it was called the weather package, with the sturdy floor mats, back of seats and back bed covers, is awesome, and the interior is in GREAT shape 2 years later. We also really depend on it's "higher than a sedan" ground clearance, it gets me through the flooded roads other cars have to back out from, and in muddy areas it has been great every time. Handles reliably in bad weather in Texas. So far it has never let us down! My only real negative, is that they have the rear view camera down on the mid dash, as opposed some other manufacturers whom place it in the rear view mirror. I have used both, and the rear camera view in the rear view mirror is far more user friendly and functional, to allow you to look around the vehicle and at the rear camera safely and effectively, while backing up. This is their one major failing, in my humble opinion."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great Car, especially in bad weather or long road

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,523

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fit, Finish, Quality, Power, Firm Controlled Ride!"

Cons: "Wish back lift gate was a two part system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been a great car, never back to the dealer for anything, firm but smooth ride, fantastic seats in this Limited edition. Lots of room, even with the seats all the way back. very useful roof rack design with disappearing cross rails, Great stereo! Just well thought out. Dependable and very agile in snow or bad weather. Sunroof could be bigger, but not a deal breaker"

16 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Excellent car for our needs

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Pros: Fuel efficient Smooth ride and quiet Excellent handling Excellent in snow Good looking interior, shows quality"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Bought brand new. Best new car purchase choice

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All. Plenty of room, great in winter conditions"

Cons: "Haven't found any yet"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Has passed my expectations. Right now I average 30-33 mpg summer driving and 28-30 in the winter. Heated seats are fantastic along with dual controls and remote start. I have not had a need to utilize the top cargo; however, impressed with how much I can haul in the trunk/hatch area and better when seats are folded down. Nothing less that 12 bags of mulch. Saved me from having to drive my truck, which doesn't come close to the fuel efficiency. The only things I'm not impressed with is the tire sensors, but that's with any vehicle and not specific to my Outback."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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