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2010 Subaru Outback Fan Questions Features Rating, We Explain

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2010 Subaru Outback

2010 Subaru Outback

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Never let it be said that users don't read our reviews with an eagle eye. Reader Keith Siegel shot us a note this morning, asking the following question:

I was surprised to see a score of "8" for Features in your 2010 Subaru Outback review. The only negative was the failure to offer memory seats for driver/passenger. If that was the only noted feature that wasn't offered, shouldn't it have been awarded a "9"?

Good question, Keith. Our reasoning is that other vehicles in the crossover category offer a wider set of features, albeit some without the practical versatility of the Subaru or at a higher price.

Our ratings are comparative, although Features isn't just matching one vehicle's list against another's. We look at anything functional that doesn't directly affect comfort: storage cubbies, how the seats fold, etc.

Price also factors into Features rating. In our 2010 Subaru Legacy review, Subaru's $20,000 base model sedan earned a "9" for features because it's better equipped than competitors at that level. The Outback costs more and competes with pricier vehicles, so it has to be measured accordingly.

The base Toyota Venza, for instance, includes dual-zone climate control and a steering wheel that not only tilts and telescopes (as does the 2010 Outback's) but has audio controls built in. We rated its Features at "9".

While the 2010 Volvo XC60 is $15,000 pricier than the 2010 Outback, it includes HD Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio with six months' service, and a large moonroof. Moreover, the XC60's first three years or 36,000 miles of maintenance are included at no extra cost. There, too, Features got a "9".

We rate the 2010 Outback highly on value for money, but it's worth noting that the lowest-cost $22,995 Outback 2.5i model doesn't even have electric seats. Most Outback buyers are likely to end up spending the better part of $30,000 to get the Premium or Limited level, providing a set of features comparable to competitors.

Frankly, Subaru has never been particularly aggressive in fitting new features to any model. It wasn't until 2006 that any Subaru offered a navigation system; the high-volume Outback didn't get it until this year.

Meanwhile, other 2010 Outback features like Bluetooth and a USB port are offered even in economy compacts like the $14,000 2010 Kia Forte. So they hardly set the Outback ahead of the pack.

2010 subaru outback 022

2010 subaru outback 022

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Comments (3)
  1. A navigation system has been available on the top end models of the Outback since MY 2006. It was available on the Outback XT and the LL Bean editions.
     
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  2. John, let me get this straight... Are you saying that if Subaru offered a $26,500 "base" model Outback with dual zone climate control it would be rated higher? I'm struggling to find the logic here. With both the Legacy and Outback lines Subaru offers far more value in its base trims than anything on the road. With AWD, unsurpassed safety and a good list of standard features AND now meeting or exceeding the FWD competition's fuel economy ratings how can you not recognize "the little guy"?
    As for "Our ratings are comparative, although Features isn't just matching one vehicle's list against another's. We look at anything functional that doesn't directly affect comfort: storage cubbies, how the seats fold, etc." then why are you not praising Subaru for offering their trick folding roof rack when virtually all of the CUV competition offers roof rails as an option/accessory? Same with the trunk mat on the Outback, surely an extra cost accessory on the "other guys". Having spent some time working for both Toyota and Subaru I think the reference to the Venza is ludacris. There is not a single Toyota model, save for maybe the Prius, that offers class-leading value - period.
     
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  3. John, are you guys really doing your homework? I am!
    First, my 2008 LL Bean (which I traded yesterday for my new 2.5 Limited) had a navigation system, as Phil pointed out, above. Second, in an era where so many manufacturers are knocking themselves out building hybrids, Subaru has built a large model that vies for gas mileage with some of its competitors' cheapest, lowest-rated-for-safety autos. And with standard all-wheel drive. In my mind, those features alone blow everything else out of the water.
    Granted, the car isn't perfect (the directional side mirrors aren't offered this year at any price) but I think it should rank at the very top of its class because it stands out for comfort AND economy.
     
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