An ideal midsize alternative to a conventional SUV, the 2012 Subaru Outback matches a refined driving feel with room for five and the security of standard all-wheel drive. Now in its fourth and by far roomiest generation, this rugged, go-almost-anywhere wonder wagon continues to win new fans for Subaru on the strength of its well-rounded personality and impressive fuel economy. There still aren't a whole lot of wagons to choose from the U.S., and the Subaru Outback stands out as the best wagon in terms of resale value.
Motivation for the 2012 Outback comes from two well-proven engines, both featuring Subaru's signature horizontally-opposed design that lowers the center of gravity to help improve handling. Outback 2.5i models are fitted with a 170-horsepower/2.5-liter four-cylinder that returns 29 mpg on the highway when fitted with the available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). For those needing a bit more muscle, the 3.6-liter flat-six in the Outback 3.6R delivers its 256 horses though a five-speed automatic and still delivers 25 mpg out on the open road.
Even in base form, the Outback's spacious, well-appointed cabin welcomes all with its user-friendly design and comfortable, supportive seats. While Premium and Limited trims add more luxury and convenience touches to the mix, all versions of this versatile Subaru hauler boast an extensive suite of safety features and the ability to carry 71.3 cu ft of cargo with the rear seat folded.
Complementing its exceptional real-world utility with equally notable affordability, the 2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i starts at just over $24,000 with the 2012 Outback 3.6R opening slightly above $29,000. Those figures are thousands below the price of entry for the Audi A4 2.0T Avant and BMW 3 Series Wagon, the Outback's prime rivals in this residual-value arena.