Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Outback car test drives subaru reviews
Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Outback car test drives subaru reviews
2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R. Click image to enlarge
First Drive: 2013 Subaru OutbackManufacturer’s web site
Subaru Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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2013 Subaru Outback

The name Outback is as synonymous with Subaru as the name ‘Lakers’ is with Los Angeles. And just as you’d be hard pressed to find a lake in Los Angeles, you won’t likely stumble across an outback in Japan (aside from the steakhouse franchise stores going by that name). Geographically incongruous names aside, the Outback has been a big deal for Subaru over the past 19 years; through September they have sold 5,143 units to date in Canada in 2012, twice the volume of its sedan platform-mate, the Legacy.

To keep the Outback selling well, Subaru has given it a refresh for 2013. Four-cylinder Outbacks receive the new, more efficient 2.5L boxer-four engine that debuted in the 2011 Forester, as well as a new, second-generation ‘Lineartronic’ CVT. Suspension calibrations have been tweaked to reduce body roll by 40 percent according to Subaru and the front end gets revised styling, which consists primarily of larger fog lights and a new grille. Inside, new convenience and audio features are available, highlighted by the newly introduced EyeSight driver-assist system.

Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Outback car test drives subaru reviews
2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R. Click image to enlarge

Eyesight is Subaru speak for their proprietary safety system that enables pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure/drowsy driving warning. Earlier this year Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony covered the technical details of the Eyesight system in depth, so rather than rehash the same specifications, I’ll skip straight to the real world results. Eyesight is the most intuitive lane departure system I have every used. It never once gave a false lane-departure warning and only went off when I purposely simulated a lane-wander on the highway. I wish all systems were calibrated this way, as far too many subscribe to the marketing jingle of ‘Buzz Early, Buzz Often’.

The GPS unit was also one of the better units I have tried and features intuitive controls with nice features like, when planning a multiple-destination route, the ability to re-order the destinations. In typical Subaru tradition, the radio was not class leading, but better than I have sampled in other Subies. Behind the wheel, sightlines are great and the commanding view all around really feels like a big car raised up rather than a crossover. I know that is what this vehicle really is, but it is interesting that Subaru achieved that perception for the driver.

I couldn’t get completely comfortable in the front seat of the Outback, but both I at 6’1″, and my wife at 5’2″, could easily find a suitable driving position. The rear seats feel more comfortable than the fronts and legroom is generous. The trunk is spacious and deep; capable of holding 857 L or 2,019 L with the rear seats folded down. For reference, I fit a rolled up 8’ x 10’ rug in the vehicle and still had over a foot of clearance to the dashboard.

 

 

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