About as good as it gets.
March 7, 2019
I can find no significant fault in this car. We already owned a Honda Odyssey, which remains the ultimate 4 -6 passenger road trip car that can also fit 4' x 8' sheets of plywood; for this purchase, we wanted something much smaller, but not too small, or too low. The Outback fit that bill perfectly. Handling is extraordinary. Since we don't expect to tow anything with this car, we got the 2.5 liter engine, which, while not a thrilling powerhouse, felt significantly peppier than its Honda and Toyota competitors. The Continuously Variable Transmission(CVT) manages power with silky smoothness akin to an electric motor. Some subtle features make it seem more powerful than it is, e.g. when at highway speeds and the left turn signal (to pass) is put on, the car smoothly downshifts without any change in car speed, to insure more power is available for the maneuver. Road and wind noise at highway speeds is remarkably comfortable. Controls are simple and intuitive. Adaptive cruise control works at least as smoothly as I could do with the gas pedal myself, including a smooth drift to a full stop. Lane assist provides just the right amount of nudge to keep you in lane without making you feel you've lost control. The heated rear seats are easily as comfortable as the front, and seating position throughout is extremely comfortable. Slight, and forgivable cons: at low speeds, the whine of the CVT is annoying (undetectable at high speeds); driver-reachable storage is a bit meager (for an otherwise ideally road-trip capable car), exacerbated a bit by the necessity to keep the dashboard clear due to avoid glare to Eyesight cameras; the GPS screen and voice instructions are excellent, and the little additional screen in front of the driver is great, but the input interface is awful compared to just about any Garmin unit, though far less awful than most built-ins, and the lock-out of the touch screen while in motion is particularly annoying, especially since the voice controls don't do quite the same things as the touch screen. Overall, there is no car at any price that we wish we had instead; though I look forward to the day when these become primary electric.