2010 Subaru Outback at 2009 New York Auto Show

  • Competes with: Toyota Venza, Volvo XC70, VW Passat, Saab 9-3
  • Looks like: Subaru’s new design was meant for the Outback, not the Legacy
  • Drivetrain: 170-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with six-speed manual or CVT, or 256-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder with five-speed automatic; all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late summer 2009

While the just-released 2010 Subaru Legacy may look a bit awkward in the design department, the all-new 2010 Outback appears much more refined even though it features the same lines and styling. Maybe the company started with the Outback and tried to adapt that design to the Legacy sedan. Whatever the case, the new Outback has a roomier interior, new engine and transmission choices, and improved gas mileage.

Passenger room grows by 8 cubic feet overall, while cargo room grows by 6 cubic feet. Check out the photos below to see how wide the cargo opening is, as well. There’s also 3.9 more inches of rear legroom. Speaking as a current Outback owner, that will be welcomed. Subaru says headroom has increased, but doesn’t say by how much. The car is 4 inches taller than the outgoing model, and despite the increased interior room it’s 1 inch shorter in overall length.

There will be just two engine choices for the 2010 Outback, down from three from 2009 and three offered in the Legacy sedan. What gets the axe? The turbocharged four-cylinder in the 2.5 GT. Instead, there will be the base 170-hp four-cylinder engine and a new 3.6-liter six-cylinder good for 256 hp. Subaru hasn’t released official mileage figures yet, but does say they will be improved over the outgoing model.

The 2010 model also sports 8.7 inches of ground clearance, up from 8.4 inches in the 2009 model.

There will also be three trim levels available for each engine option. Both the 2.5 and the 3.6 will get a base version — 2.5i and 3.6R — plus Premium and Limited trims. All Outbacks come with all-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc brakes, stability control, cruise control and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. 

There are more photos below.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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