This should be the official Colorado State Car
The Subaru Outback isn't sexy, but it's still got what you want
There are cars out there that get the blood boiling, the envy running, the drool dripping: the BMW 650i convertible, Mustang Shelby GT350R, the Audi R8. But most of us can’t afford them because they're both too expensive and don't meet the needs of our lifestyle. Sure, we’d love to do the sexy and not have to settle for the family car, but the truth is, most people have the utilitarian vehicle they can afford in terms of both money and necessity.
The Subaru Outback is not the sexy. But it just might be the absolute best Colorado vehicle anyone could have. There’s value; the Outback starts at $25,000. There’s safety; the Outback is AWD, and has the highest 5-Star safety ratings for crash and rollover in the business. There’s high utility value; it’s a wagon-y SUV, so there’s room for all the gear for all of the great outdoor adventures that Coloradans love. There’s economy; this 2.5i engine is rated 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway. And there’s durability; just look around wherever you go in Denver and Colorado and you’ll see Subarus everywhere, including many that have been on the road for 10 years or more and are still going strong.
And here’s the thing no one seems to understand: This Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited is fun to drive and is filled with all of the luxury amenities that people have come to expect from cars labeled “luxury.” Here’s my point: Okay, it’s not a reach dream car, but it is a solid, well-built, great performing, versatile, comfortable vehicle that, all things considered, is the best buy on the market for the money. You get a lot or the money up front, it will handle the mountains for skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing or whatever, a nice bike rack makes it bicycle central, it’ll fit your family, take you to work, handle the winter weather with ease, serve as a great road-trip vehicle, and last you for years and years with minimal maintenance.
The engine here, and in the base model as well, is a 2.5-liter flat four putting out some 175 hp. It’s no speed demon, but I drove it all over with passengers and I never once felt that it under performed. The Outback handles city streets quiet well, and the acceleration on the highway – even going up the mountain – is excellent. The brakes are great, and the car, at any speed, handles very well. It feels very safe and sound.
Where it really comes to life is inside: standard leather trimmed seats – quite comfortable – and all of the technology we’ve come to expect in luxury cars. A 7-inch screen is the centerpiece of a CD/HD radio (with Sirius XM)/iPod capable sound system, which, of course, also features Bluetooth hands-free phone.
There are plenty of apps for Pandora, iHeart radio, and adaptive cruise control that automatically keeps the distance on the highway for safe driving. All of this in a spacious interior that is extra quiet and just feels like a luxury car.
On my test-drive model they added a $3,090 option package that included a nice power moon roof, and voice activated navigation, audio and HVAC. The package also included the EyeSight Driver-Assist System, with pre-collision braking, steering responsive fog lamps, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and pre-collision throttle management. For another $402 they added a 120v power outlet, $437 for remote engine start, and $874 for a rear bumper cover, splash guard kit, all weather floor mats, rear seat back protector, and dimming mirrors with blind spot monitoring.
The standards on the Limited include a power rear gate with memory (adjustable for the height of yourself and/or your garage, rear cross traffic alert, and roof rails with cross bars and tie downs. And, of course, a back-up camera.
This Outback also has very easy to use climate control – and it works great – and all of the controls for the radio/apps/USB/AUX/Bluetooth, etc. are all very intuitive to use.
You get all of this – AWD, luxury, modern technology, nice room, a quiet ride, handling – for a base price of $30,695 on the Limited (the base model, with the same engine, starts at $24,995). They added on the aforementioned packages, and a destination charge of $850, for a bottom line of $36,148. (There is a 3.6R model with a larger, 256 hp 6-cylinder that carries a base price of $33,395). A mid-$30s versatile vehicle with all that is here is a steal in today’s market.
The Subaru Outback – in any configuration – should be adopted as the Official Colorado State Vehicle. It’s not sexy, but all things of life considered, it is the best buy in the market.
RATING: 4 WHEELS PLUS THE SPARE (OUT OF FOUR)