EXPERT REVIEW

Mother Proof's view


Winter time. I love it, but it’s a difficult time for me and most moms I know. When the weather’s bad and the kids aren’t in school, day care, or at a kind neighbor’s house, what do you do with them?

Sometimes I have so many kids and things hanging on me, off me, and around me that I start to go a little nuts. My personal space is violated consistently and starts to wear on me after a week of being inside the house more than out.

Since we can’t go outside and play for more than 10 minutes at a time in these frigid temps, the best way to cope is to go for a drive. I’m in my seat, the kids are in theirs (strapped in nice and tight) and we can all just listen to music and be non-invasive. Even better, if I do it after the sun goes down I can cruise the neighborhood and look at all the lights that are up. Instant happiness from the backseat of an Outback.

This car has so many luxury items that I almost prefer being in it to being at home! Heated leather seats, a giant sunroof that extends to the back seat, nice wood and metal trim and details, 6-disc in-dash CD changer that fits all my holiday music, good cup holders, compartments, and heated mirrors and windshield wipers all add comfort and an ambience I don’t initially expect from Subaru.

In addition, all-wheel drive, front, side, side curtain airbags and a turbocharged engine make this baby fun, and S-A-F-E. The computer and navigation system is easy to use, except for the screen that pops up every time I turn on the car telling me to not use the system while the car’s in motion. I have to press the “Agree” button every time. I agree, I agree, I agree, okay! Now stop asking me!

I also like the good gas mileage. It won’t win any awards, but I take an average of 20 miles per gallon in this hot little number. I know I’m talking about a station wagon, but it sure is fun to drive.

It doesn’t hurt that there’s a large cargo space with a rubber liner on the floor, protecting the carpet. And the passenger space in the Outback is pretty generous. All four of us can sit comfortably in it. Granted my husband can’t exactly sprawl, but he fits better in this car than most. So we can all have our personal space respected, but if I need to reach back to hand off a binky or give my son high five for spotting a volcano (any hill with a point at the top), I can (only when the car is stopped, of course).

So what don’t I love about the 2006 Subaru Outback? When I attempt to remove the plastic cover to get to the LATCH connector, the whole housing slides out, and I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to happen. So instead of the nice, finished insert being there, I have a gaping hole around the LATCH connecter. No matter what I do, I cannot separate the cap from the housing without injury or discomfort. Not good!

Also, the center seat in the back has a nice big hump in it. Quit giggling. I mean it’s arched a bit so you can’t put a booster or car seat there without it wiggling all over the place.

My last complaint is the perforated leather. I only use the best-sealing sippy-cups in this car for fear of unclean-able spills. Just like you, it’s rare that I have any those in my arsenal at any point in time. Would someone please make a truly leak proof sippy cup!

But trust me when I say that I love this car. Whether it’s schlepping us and all our Christmas shopping from the mall, or cruising back roads looking for tacky inflatable Santas and snowmen, the Subaru Outback saves me from the winter doldrums. And I can tell you, this human jungle gym appreciates all the help she can get!

LET’S TALK NUMBERS LATCH Connectors: 2 Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore

SENSE AND STYLE Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

*for more information on the Subaru Outback 2.5 XT and its safety features visit www.cars.com.

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