2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i a ‘Swiss Army Knife on Wheels’ – Ruge’s Subaru

27 Sep

Images courtesy Subaru

If I were told today to choose only one vehicle that I would drive for the rest of my life – not knowing what the rest of my life would entail – that vehicle might very well be a Subaru. And tempted as I would be to pick something like the WRX STi or BRZ, in the end my decision would probably be the Outback.

Billed as the “world’s first sport utility wagon,” the Subaru Outback offers a range of features that would cover most driving situations I might be faced with in the future. Perhaps my being an Eagle Scout tilts my decision towards that of “being prepared” or maybe my age is telling me to weigh all possibilities and trust instincts based largely on experience.

Either way, I think I would prefer the Subaru Outback, a sort of “Swiss Army knife on wheels.”

I recently spent time with the latest edition of the now fourth-generation model outfitted with the 173hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder horizontally opposed “boxer” engine backed by CVT gearbox with steering wheel paddle shifters. (Those of you preferring to handle the gearshifts yourself can opt for a manual slushbox behind the 2.5 engine.) And, being a Subaru, of course there is the symmetrical all-wheel drive that I (and so many others) love so dearly.

Seems every time I receive a Subaru model from the press fleet squadron I go out of my way to find driving conditions that would trip up most daily drivers but Subies always manage to shine like a new penny.

Getting back to the recent 2013 Outback tester, we enjoyed all the amenities afforded by the Limited package it arrived in. This includes leather seating, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, XM Satellite radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof and the outstanding harman/kardon 440-watt nine-speaker audio system.

Outback models still have only two rows of seating but five adults will ride in comfort in this vehicle. This is the roomiest Outback ever and rolls on a very stable platform that is scarily smooth and well balanced. It also features some of the best ground clearance in anything closely resembling a wagon.

Road manners are always minded and the new Outback provides one of the most comfortable driving experiences of any utility-something on the road today.

The powertrain combination is deceptively smooth four a four-banger and fuel economy is a very acceptable 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. All things considered though I still would rather opt for the 3.6-liter boxer six that Subaru offers on this platform, gladly trading the added “oomph” for a few ticks off the gas gauge.

Perhaps the biggest news in the 2013 Outback is the debut of the Subaru’s new EyeSight driver assist system that integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and braking and lane departure warning.

A pair of forward-looking cameras straddling the rearview mirror feed information to a computer to identify vehicles, obstacles, and traffic lanes and below 19 mph will even bring the vehicle to a complete stop if the driver fails to brake in time. Another cool function of the Eyesight system is alerting the driver when heavy traffic in front begins to move again and the driver is not reacting accordingly and will also reduce throttle response when it detects the vehicle approaching upcoming traffic too quickly and the gas pedal is still being pressed.

Pretty cool stuff if I do say so myself.

Pricing for the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited we tested begins at 29 grand and change with our test model rolling in at $33,830 thanks to the added option package that includes voice-activated nav, power moonroof, and EyeSight.

If I were told the Subaru Outback would be the last car I would ever drive I would not be disappointed, not one bit.

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