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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
“Nearly 13 more cubic feet of cabin room”
“We comfortably fit three six-foot-tall adults in the back seat”
Kelley Blue Book
“The Outback is a quiet cruiser overall”
Subaru’s versatile wagon, the Outback, never looks particularly cramped from the outside, thanks to its elongated profile. However, one ride in the backseat of an ’09 Outback Subaru is enough to keep you from ever wanting to take a road trip in the quirky Subie. Thankfully, Subaru addresses all of the previous Outback’s comfort issues with the forthcoming 2010 Subaru Outback, and in the process, they create a much quieter, more refined, and more versatile vehicle.
Park a 2010 Subaru Outback next to any previous-generation Outback and you’ll immediately notice that the latest iteration is significantly larger. In terms of actual volume, Autoblog says the 2010 Subaru Outback’s “extra height and width were almost directly translated into nearly 13 more cubic feet of cabin room, with larger front seats providing more head, shoulder and hip room.” Car and Driver reviewers quickly recognize “the new car’s extra 2.0 inches of width mean that front occupants no longer will spend trips bumping elbows,” and other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com appreciate the extra space up front.
However, while the additional inches of space in every direction are welcome up front, the real improvement comes in the rear, where the 2010 Subaru Outback is significantly more comfortable than its predecessor. Kelley Blue Book reports that they “comfortably fit three six-foot-tall adults in the back seat and still had space between their knees and the front seat backs.” Autoblog once again busts out the rulers, and they proclaim that the new Outback Subaru gets “an increase by four inches of rear legroom and two additional inches of toe room under the front seats.” In addition to the extra room, Motor Trend raves that the back bench seat is incredibly comfortable, “thanks to the addition of adjustable-rake backrests.”
The 2010 Subaru Outback doesn’t have a dedicated trunk, but its rear cargo area has grown along with the passenger space. Autoblog says that the dimensional increases in the 2010 Subaru Outback combine to “add a shade less than one cubic foot of extra cargo room over the current car with the rear seats up, and a tad less than six cubic feet with the rear seats down.” As part of its near-complete redesign, Subaru engineers shift some of the suspension bits that underpin the Outback Subaru, and the result, according to Car and Driver, is “a more usefully shaped cargo hold.” Inside the passenger space, Autoblog finds that Subaru once again listens to consumer feedback and makes the “center armrest cubby…larger.” In addition, they note, “the cabin has been filled with bins, and the front visor has a ticket holder.” The rear seatbacks also feature a 60/40-split, and the seats feature one-touch folding.
Although the 2010 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. ConsumerGuide appreciates that the Outback Subaru’s “interiors are finished with quality materials and show attention to detail.” Road & Track covers Subaru’s quality progression for a while, and they note that “Subaru continues to work on the quality of its interiors, and once again it’s a strong step forward in terms of quality.” The one major materials gripe comes from Autoblog, where the editorial staff feels that when the perforated leather seats are “paired with the perforated leather inserts in the doors, it just began to look like everything had holes in it.” As for build quality, Subarus are among the most reliable vehicles on the road today, and there’s no reason to believe that the 2010 Subaru Outback won’t hold up to the rigors of daily driving, year in and year out.
One complaint that has plagued Subaru for years has been the presence of an excessive amount of wind noise. One of the primary culprits was the frameless door design, which left the windows unframed when the doors were open. For the 2010 Subaru Outback, Subaru changes up its door design, and Automobile Magazine reports that the resulting Outback “is a quiet cruiser overall.” Autoblog points out that the Outback Subaru’s new roof rack design plays a role in cutting down wind noise as well; “the crossbars can be retracted so [that] they sit flush with the roof rails, then extended when you need to carry something,” which keeps the out of the airstream when they’re not needed.
The 2010 Subaru Outback continues to climb the quality ladder, and extra rear-seat legroom marks a huge improvement over last year.