2011 Subaru Outback Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
Thanks to the longer wheelbase and higher roof, the Outback is significantly more spacious than the previous version (prior to 2010), especially when it comes to back seat legroom. Front seats in the 2011 Outback have copious amounts of legroom, while tall adults will find plenty of legroom and headroom in the back seat. There's no third row, however if you're stepping out of a crossover SUV like a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, you're going to find just as much useful interior space.

There's enough passenger space for five adults in the 2011 Outback. The back comfortably seats six-foot-tall passengers even with the front seats pushed all the way back, and the 60/40-split rear seatback not only folds flat but also reclines. The tailgate opens down to a 33.9-inch liftover, and the high roof and upright sides give a wide opening that even fits two dog kennels side by side. When the rear seats are folded, cargo volume is 71.3 cubic feet; with seatbacks up, it's 34.3 cubic feet.

Carrying people and stuff, in all sorts of combinations, is what Outbacks are all about, in fact. The new roof rail system was designed to ensure that existing third-party roof accessories—from bike racks to storage boxes, kayak mounts to ski holders—would fit on the redesigned rails. And inside, plenty of cubbies provide space for all the little stuff.

While the 2011 Subaru Outback isn't as tall and imposing as other utility vehicles, its exceptionally roomy interior and good ride quality show the benefits of its lower-profile design.

Although the 2011 Subaru Outback can't be considered a luxury, or even premium, vehicle, it does offer materials and build quality that are entirely appropriate for the price point. The interior feels a bit basic, even on our dressed-up limited, with some hard, scuffable plastic in places that are going to show it—like the center console and lower door panels—but it's right in line with what you'd expect in a built-to-be-used family vehicle.

While engine noise could be kept better under wraps, the Outback doesn't allow a lot of wind or road noise on board. The unique roof-rack design in the Outback can very easily be folded back into roof rails, so that when they're in use they cause turbulence.

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