By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 1, 2010
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Subaru Outback. It competes with the Toyota Venza and Audi A4.
(upbeat music) <v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. (upbeat music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com. With me is the 2011 Subaru Outback. This is a car that has been around in some variation since the 1990s. And it was redesigned for the last year.
It's a bigger, softer car than it was before. And that's been a combination that's worked out pretty well for Subaru, actually. We'll cover the car's appeal and talk about a couple options that maybe aren't worth getting. (upbeat music) So the big theme here is size. The new Outback's about a couple inches both wider and taller than its predecessor. And overall passenger volume is up almost 10%. Pretty good numbers. And I've got plenty of room here to spread out in the front seats. The optional leather seats in our test car are both supportive and comfortable. That's a good thing. My only real sort quibble here, being about six feet tall, is that I don't have enough thigh support. This seat could come out a couple inches more. Right now, my knees are kind of just sort of hanging in the air. (upbeat music) Cabin materials are okay. There's some nice looking sort of brushed silver trim here along the dash. It looks upscale. The wood trim looks really plasticky. It's kind of over lacquered, sort of a mess on that front. You could make the case that in a utilitarian car like the Outback, you're not really getting it for its luxury features. Which is good, 'cause speaking of which, you should skip the navigation system. We don't really like it. It's got kind of dated looking graphics and there aren't actually any physical keys here for your radio station presets. Meaning that when you actually go there, you have to go away from the map view to see what your music is. You can surf presets, obviously, with the steering wheel audio controls, but it doesn't work for satellite radio, if you're gonna get that option too, because the satellite radio buttons here only go up to your next station, not to your next preset. Kind of lame. Definitely a system worth skipping. Get a handheld unit if you need it. (upbeat music) A lot of that extra passenger volume goes to the rear seat where you're looking at about four inches of extra leg room here versus the old Outback. Again, nice high seating position, plenty of room, and a decent amount of thigh sport, considering that this is a back seat, not a front seat. The seats recline a few degrees. They actually reclined quite a bit here, which is nice for your passengers. And they also fold down like the seats in most wagons and crossovers do. With them down, you're looking at a little over 71 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume. That's a number that beats both the Honda Accord Crosstour and the Toyota Venza, with their seats folded. Not a bad setup. Certainly plenty of room to throw in a few golf clubs there, play a couple games. (upbeat music) (trunk slamming) So here's the kicker. The Outback has outsold both the Venza and the Crosstour combined this year. What's the secret? Well, it rides pretty comfortably, but it's still a lot of fun to drive. Our tester's 3.6 liter six cylinder moves out pretty quick, but the four cylinder Outback actually starts just over $23,000. That's much more affordable than both the Venza and the Crosstour, which are positioned as kind of premium offerings. Throw in the Outback's excellent reliability and good crash test ratings, and, well I got to say, case closed. Looks like wagons are making a comeback and Subaru is leading the charge. (upbeat music) <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog, kickingtires.net.
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