2001 Subaru Outback Photo
Quick Take
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Oh, the glamorous life of an auto reviewer. Take Subaru's spanking-new VDC Outback wagon, for instance. Here I am with three inches of snow on the ground and more falling in mushy clumps as I stuff the cargo hold with a New Year's weekend worth of essentials for a trip for five to the mountains. Mind you, I'm surrounded by girls in this Title 9 family of mine, ranging in age from 9 to 46.

Because I sleep under the spec sheets, I knew I had about 34 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat in use. The girls obviously divined that there would be almost 69 cu ft if the rear seat were folded — never mind that three of 'em would have nowhere to sit.

So there you have it: I'm stuffing about 70 cubes of kit into a 34-cube sack, never once being allowed to rest one of those precious, giant, overstuffed Adidas bags on the snowy, slushy ground.

I'm not even out of the driveway before my right arm reaches involuntarily into the backseat to begin the tell-tale paternal flail that seeks contact with the nearest available bickering face. Yes, I mentioned to the wife, a picture of our three grumpy gals sardined into that backseat with the tower of luggage perched precariously overhead would make a darned good Christmas card for next year.

Clampett sensibilities

Normally, Subaru's distinctive Outback—the first of the "sorta-SUV"wagons—stands a jaunty 7.3 inches off the ground. This day, it hadAssumed a Beverly Hillbillies posture, with the rear of the car sagging under the burden of all those flip-flops, tank tops, hair dryers, and curling irons. There were Jersey plates on the back, so the idea did at least cross my mind that some embittered Nashville native might take a pot shot at this car full of presumed Yankees in search of a winning pro football team.

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