Unlike here in the Philippines were we get 90% of the entire Subaru model range, in the US the only large wagon solution is in the new Outback. The new Legacy is only offered in a sedan in the US. Where it is important that we get diversity in our vastly smaller local market, in the US it is more important that the Subaru model ranges are more distinct to appeal to the much larger market where the Outback has had its most successful sales since its introduction there back in 1995.
Essentially the Outback is a mildly recalibrated and redefined version of the exemplary current Legacy wagon that we enjoy. The pseudo-metamorphosis of the Legacy for broader duty has surprising results. The driving dynamics through seemingly modest changes by changing the rolling stock to taller, less aggressive rubber on 17” wheels, raising the car about 3.5” combined with the appropriate steering and suspension retuning produced a completely different driving experience.
Where the Legacy GT feels very connected to the road and only mildly less aggressive compared to an STi, the Outback wafts around like it uses air suspension reminding me of how the old Cadillac’s used to drive minus the excessive wallow. The five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system used are also the same units in the Legacy which uses a variable torque distributing planetary gear setup with electric control and a 45:55 rear-biased torque split for optimum handling and all terrain adaptation. The more comfortable seats and slightly more luxurious interior appointments again compared to the Legacy GT wagon further enhances the relaxed driving experience.
The Outback is fairly larger than the Forester in both interior space and exterior dimensions but is still not as tall, yet it still boasts an impressive and useful 8.7” of ground clearance for trailing deeper off-road and effortless city driving. If the Outback isn’t electronically speed governed it would stretch it legs to a higher 230 km/h top speed, but in the US this extra speed is as useful as an 8-track audio system.
Once again, Subaru has created a very compelling alternative, I just wish it looked distinctly more unique. Thank goodness we get the Legacy GT wagon though so we have the choice.
Specification – 2011 Subaru Outback 3.6R
Engine: Flat-6, 3621cc, dohc 24V, Sportshift 5-speed AT
Max power: 256 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 247 lb ft @ 4400 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 7.3 sec.
Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 18 mpg City & 25 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 35,198.00
+Long list of standard equipment, effortless, well-rounded
-Needs to look even more unique compared to the Legacy GT wagon
C! RATING 9.0/10