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The Subaru Outback receives a fairly significant mid-cycle refresh for 2013. Chief among the changes are a modified body structure and suspension, which result in less body roll and reduced interior noise. Additional refinements include new audio systems, a restyled front end, and a new 4-cylinder engine that is both more powerful and fuel efficient.
The 2012 Subaru Outback offers a wide range of equipment among its six trim levels. The popular mid-level Premium wagon models add an improved 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone and wireless audio streaming plus an iPod connection. The clever standard roof rack with foldaway crossbars is mildly revised.
For 2011, Subaru adds folding side mirrors to all Outback models and makes XM Satellite Radio part of the harman/kardon audio system. New features include a rear vision camera with 3.3-inch rearview mirror display (part of the Power Moonroof package) and mobile Wi-Fi device that turns the Outback into a rolling hotspot capable of accessing the internet up to 150-feet from the car.
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.
The 2009 Subaru Outback drops the L.L. Bean trim, while a new Special Edition package is offered on the base car consisting of heated front seats, a power driver's seat, windshield wiper de-icer, heated side mirrors, fog lights, a limited slip rear differential and 17-inch alloy wheels. A new 440-watt harman/kardon stereo is standard on all models except the base 2.5i.
The 2014 Subaru Outback is somewhat like a wagon and perhaps more like an SUV. To practical buyers it offers the spacious interior and versatility of a more-or-less traditional midsize SUV, with driving attributes and fuel efficiency more in line with a wagon. But perhaps its strongest virtue is the all-weather capability delivered by its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. If Subarus are known for anything, it's their well-deserved reputation for dealing with just about any weather condition Mother Nature can toss their way. Other vehicles might offer most of what the Outback delivers, and may be more engaging to drive or present more stylish faces, but the Subaru's all-around proficiency on good days and bad gives it a unique spot among its competition.