Monday, November 9, 2015

Used Car Review - Subaru Outback (2010-2015)

This unusual car caught Myk Belmonte, and wonders how this car survived this long.

2010-2015 Subaru Outback

Success is one word in which the party (singular or plural form) enjoys the fruits of their labor with demand for it is huge. This is true in the automotive industry, especially that cars are successful in different aspects like practicality, price, and reliability. Some, don't succeed in a multitude of reasons and cost them a lot. The featured car here became a runaway success and had a group of fans in one part of America.

Back in the early 90s, Subaru faced declining sales in the US due to the fact they lack an SUV offering, which was hot stuff back then. With no money for development (the Forester was light years away), Subaru took the Legacy wagon and added some body cladding and lifting the height in the process. The result: it saved their US operations while offering an alternative to big truck based SUVs back then. Australian and Japanese introductions followed suit, as well as a limited edition Legacy Sport Utility Sedan, not related but a similar concept to it. So successful it went on to be available in the succeeding generations.

Launched alongside the fifth generation Legacy, the Outback equivalent arrived locally. It utilized a larger engine, a first for its nameplate.

Value and Costs
Those who want the versatility of a wagon while retaining SUV skills and Subaru's driving dynamics can rejoice, you can obtain one for as low as P700,000 while latest models with the chunk of their warranty will cost you in the P1.5M range. Unlike the Forester or its sedan counterparts, Outbacks are rare in the second hand market so better look carefully on the unit you are eyeing.

Maintenance costs are similar to its sedan counterparts in the same category, especially for those with larger engines. However, expect higher fuel costs due to the presence of an all wheel drive system and a large engine displacement. Good thing is that dealer service is top notch.

Exterior and Interior
Compared to the previous generation, the Outback gains more ground clearance but losing the frame-less window concept in the process. Do not fret though, the cladding remains while making the vehicle look muscular and brute. It may look too plain for some, especially when parked beside European rivals that offer more image and prestige.

Going inside will give occupants a seating position that smacks between an ordinary sedan and a legitimate SUV. Interior cabin resembles the Legacy, which evokes a luxurious cocoon while having an outgoing image. For a vehicle that pictures out of tough adventures involving light off-road, leather seats and wood panels come standard, as well as an unconventional electronic parking brake.

Turbo engines aren't available anymore in this generation, rather two naturally aspirated gasoline movers and a diesel powerplant is available. Philippine market models utilize a EZ36 3.6 H6 (boxer type) belching out 245hp at 5,600rpm and 350Nm at 4,400rpm. This engine can pull the vehicle without strain, even if it's in full load.

Driving Impressions
Some say wagons are plaid and boring as vanilla ice cream, but Subaru wants you to debunk this notion. A secret switch called the S-Drive allows you to drive conservatively, fun but moderate (Sport), or hardcore level (Sport+) and exploit the car's chassis and abilities. Handling is similar to a car, not a hulking SUV plus ride quality is topnotch.

There is a reason why the Outback sold well: a height similar to an SUV, drives and rides like a car, and fuel consumption isn't wallet draining. People in Colorado and New England wouldn't be wrong in this car, and also you. If you prefer your ride low but with the skills of a larger car (without feeling one), this is a sensible pick. No diesels available here, so head to the Europeans if you want one though.

The Good:
  • Drives like a car
  • SUV capabilities
  • Luxury car interior
The Bad:
  • Fuel consumption of an SUV
  • No diesel like other rivals
  • Somewhat expensive maintenance
The Pick: 3.6R

Engine: 3,629cc EZ36 H6 gasoline
Power: 245hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 4,400rpm
Fuel Consumption: 4-6km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear double wishbone

Price (New): P2,390,000
Price (Now): P700,000-P1,500,000
Rivals: Audi A4/A6 Avant, Volvo XC70
On Sale: October 2009-2015

Subaru Greenhills - (02) 727-3687

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