By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 30, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2010 Subaru Outback. It competes with the Toyota Venza and Volvo XC70.
<v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Dave Thomas with cars.com. Today we're gonna look at the 2010 Subaru Outback. It's all new for this year.
It's bigger, it gets better fuel economy, and we're going to look at all the changes from the previous generation. It just so happens we have a previous generation Outback here. It's my personal car. The 2010 definitely feels like a more substantial vehicle than the outgoing generation, even though it's only about 50 pounds heavier. Why is that? Well, it's about two inches taller, about two inches wider and it has pillared doors, which makes a huge difference. Obviously, the one change everyone's going to notice right away is the styling. The 2010 is a little bit busy in my opinion and at one place you're gonna notice that is a front end. If you look closely, it kind of looks like the last generation, but maybe on steroids because the headlights are bigger, the grill has a lot more going on, and it might be a little bit much for some buyers. One cool new feature are these innovative roof racks, which when you don't need them, fold away to the side so your aerodynamics are better and you get better fuel efficiency. When you do need them, it's a really simple process. It's one latch you pull out, they swing over and then pop in and these also have rubber on the bottom, so if you miss and slide it won't scratch your paint. The old Outback had a pretty simple interior and the new one, it's a little busier, a little more complex, kind of like the exterior. Now this limited trim model has wood trim. The base model has kind of a fake metal trim and they both have this separate different kind of fake metal trim in the center. Even if you don't have the navigation system, you still get this kind of sheen metal look and a lot more buttons than the old one. Now there are a lot of improvements on the interior. Namely, the padded center armrest is much nicer, much more comfortable. Same with the armrest on the side doors. You are missing the big hand grasp from the old Outback, which I really liked. Now the big benefit of the extra size of the 2010 is you get a lot more interior room too. You have more hip room more shoulder room and while leg room isn't much improved it's okay, because they've changed the seating position. You're kind of sitting upright whereas in the old model you would kind of be slung back like you're driving a car and there's tons of head room. There's actually more headroom in this Outback than there is in Toyota's Venza, which is a competitor. Now that you sit higher like in an SUV, the new Outback actually rides more like an SUV than the old model, which is much more car like. But that's not bad because the ride is a lot quieter and a lot smoother as well. They do sacrifice some handling chops that the old model had this one doesn't but the steering's very precise and it definitely outshines other cars in the class like the Toyota Venza. Cargo room was never a problem in the old model, but you still get more of it for the 2010, about six more cubic feet and it is definitely bigger and more spacious, a little taller. I fit a huge armchair in here over the weekend. Fit great. Now one big problem is you can't lower the rear seats from the back anymore. Before there was a latch on the top of the seat, you just leaned in, hit it and pushed them down. Here you can tell it's even a little harder to lean in. So now you have to walk around the side and use the same lever that you recline the to seats with to fold them down. It's a big pain if you're in a crowded parking spot. The 2010 is definitely more SUV than the old generation was station wagon. That's not really a bad thing. And since you get such an improved vehicle with all these changes for very similar prices, I'm kind of thinking of trading mine in. <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.