Regular listeners to my show know that I recommend the Subaru Outback a lot. Oh sure, it is great where the weather is rainy or snowy a lot, but the truth is, it is just a great crossover SUV no matter where you live.
The 2013 got even better with a new engine, a new suspension system, and a refreshed look that included new headlights and grill among exterior changes that give the Outback a more rugged look.
Although the old engine and the new engine are both 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, the new engine has more horsepower and gets better fuel economy. This new engine is rated at 173-horses and comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that make it feel like it has over 200 horses easily. Acceleration is strong and smooth. There is a V6 available also.
My tester is the Limited model which gives you leather interior, all power, Blue Tooth, heated leather seats, power driver’s seat, Harman Kardon stereo system, and a whole lot more. It is a beautiful Red Pearl with tan interior that is very nice. It has an amazing amount of cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded down.
For me, the attraction to them is the Subaru powertrain and all-wheel drive system. All Subarus use the boxer engine and that starts the symmetrical layout as the left side of the engine is the same as the right side and it is longitudinally mounted (crankshaft goes from front to rear). The transmission is also laid out longitudinally and two identical axle shafts emerge from the transmission housing, one on each side to drive the two front wheels. The driveshaft emerges from the rear of the transmission as usual to drive the rear wheels.
There are no external parts, axles or shafts on either the left or right to offset the symmetry as there are in other all wheel or four wheel drive systems. The entire drivetrain is along the center line of the vehicle and balances the weight and power distribution on both sides. The end result is superb handling in bad weather, and superb performance on good road surfaces.
Something new for 2013 Outback is the Eyesight system. This is an advanced safety system that includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, and lane sway warning. All of this is set from the steering wheel controls. Most systems like this work on radar, but Eyesight uses two cameras mounted at the top of the windshield.
Eyesight comes in option package 20 for $3940 which also includes power moonroof, navigation system, voice activated controls, rearview handling, and upgraded stereo. For all those features, plus the Eyesight system, that’s a bargain.
Subaru took a great SUV, tweaked it, and made it even better. It drives great, the handling is superb, it’s quiet, and now it is more fuel-efficient without sacrificing horsepower. I liked it before, I like it even more now.
What I liked most: Handling and the new engine for 2013.
What I would change: I like the cargo space, would prefer a little more backseat room.
MSRP: $29,095 base, $33830 as tested.
Fuel Economy: 24 city/30 highway.
Warranty: 3 years/36000 covers everything. 5 years/60,000 on the powertrain.
2013 Subaru Outback in a few words: A great SUV got greater.