Five Reasons Why The 2010 Subaru Outback Is A Better Family Car Buy

March 17, 2010
The hottest segment in the family car market right now without question is car based crossovers. What makes a crossover different from an SUV (allegedly) is that they are usually based on car platforms while SUVs are based on truck platforms. Whatever differences there may be between an old-school SUV and a new age crossover one thing is clear. No SUV or crossover gets very good gas mileage and they all have high centers of gravity which negatively affects their handling.

So what can a family man or woman do if the idea of being just another crossover buyer makes you feel like just another sheep following the proverbial herd? Why not go back to an automotive idea that was really popular when your parents first had you? Yes, the good old family station wagon may be your wisest family car option nowadays.

One of the finest family cars on the market today is not exactly your traditional mommy wagon, however. The decidedly different Subaru Outback has been sold here in the United States for many years now and it has a loyal cult of owners. Do they know something you don’t? Here are five great reasons to buy a 2010 Subaru Outback as your next family car over a crossover.

The four-cylinder Outback with CVT automatic gets 22 city/29 highway: Although you can get a six-speed manual with the base 2.5 liter 170 horsepower/170 pound feet of torque 4-cylinder engine that may be unwise as it is so perfectly mated to the new CVT automatic. How many vehicles do you know of with full time all-wheel drive that can match the Outback’s fuel economy numbers and still have enough passing power to manage high speed freeway overtaking maneuvers? If the base 2.5 liter engine isn’t powerful enough for you, however, there is also the option of a 3.6 liter 265 horsepower/247 pound feet of torque six-cylinder that gets 18 city/25 highway with a five-speed automatic.

All Outbacks come with full-time all-wheel drive: Most crossover-type vehicles offer the looks of an all-wheel drive vehicle but are really just front drive vehicles in drag. What is the point of looking that butch and macho if you are going to skid into the first available snow bank when you hit a patch of ice?

The Outback’s lower center of gravity allows real driving fun: Although the Subaru has an impressive undercarriage ground clearance of 8.6 inches (better than many SUVs) its center of gravity is very low. Part of the reason is because Subaru only offers boxer engines which have horizontally opposed cylinders meaning they can be mounted lower in the car. This and the fact that the Subaru rides lower than most SUVs or crossovers means car like driving fun.

The cargo area is huge and rear seat legroom is generous: While Outbacks have always been known for having huge cargo areas the latest 2010 models are the first to have really roomy back seats. There is so much legroom that even people over six feet should have no trouble getting comfortable. Cargo capacity with the rear seats up is 34.3 cubic feet while with the seats folded it grows to a whopping 71.3 cubic feet.

It’s affordable, well built and performs well in crash tests: With basic level four-cylinder models starting at just over $20,000 the Subaru Outback really can be an affordable all-wheel drive buy for a family on a budget. Even if you get a fully loaded Limited 3.6R six-cylinder model with navigation, leather, premium audio and a moonroof the cost is just north of $34,000. Do be aware however that it is recommended you pick your Outback in either Premium or Limited forms as that is the only way you can get the essential 440-watt nine-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system. The standard unit only has  four speakers and is really inadequate for anything other than listening to AM radio.

The 2010 Subaru Outback is also very safe as it has been chosen as a “Best Pick” by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The interior of the new 2010 Outback is also a real step up for Subaru as a company. It is full of lovely organic shapes and all of the materials feel durable without being too utilitarian in appearance. Now if Subaru could just put this interior in the drab Forester.

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