SUN MOUNTAIN, Wash. — Subaru's signature series of crossover wagons has been revamped for 2000, with all the right improvements. The Outback sedans and wagons are stiffer, roomier and more powerful than before, and that means for the upscale crowd that hates SUVs but still wants versatility, the Outback has all the right stuff.
When you drive the luxurious Outbacks, you might forget that Subarus used to be the darlings of postal employees and college students everywhere looking for cheap transportation. Indeed, it was just a few years back that Subaru decided to play up its best technology and turned its whole lineup onto all-wheel drive.
At the same time, they created the Outback brand, which pretty much saved the company in the U.S. by giving a popular face — Paul Hogan’s — to the tech-savvy but decidedly niche nameplate. And Outback has spread. Today, Subaru offers a compact Outback Sport based on the Impreza wagon, an Outback wagon (our subject here), and a pair of high-zoot Outback Limited vehicles, a sedan and a wagon.
With all its recent sales success, it’s no wonder the 2000 mods to the Legacy-based Outback are evolutionary. The styling is not markedly changed, but under the skin are more power, a refined drivetrain, a revised four-wheel independent suspension, a comfortable interior and dual airbags. A longer wheelbase translates into better ride and more interior room.
Thriving on attitude
This is a car that thrives on attitude — one of dependability and go-anywhere capability. Power comes from a twin-cam 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (the largest that Subaru delivers to our market), with output of 165 horsepower and excellent torque numbers too. (The Legacy GT sedan also carries this powerplant.) All-wheel drive is standard, a feature that is becoming more prized for its safety with each passing year. A manual transmission is standard, while a four-speed automatic is optional.