Subaru was having a little bit of trouble moving Legacy wagons in the mid-90s, so it raised the ride hight and added a little body cladding. The Outback was born, and since then it’s gone to replace the entire Legacy wagon line in the U.S. Since Subaru used the New York Auto Show to premiere the production version of the new Legacy sedan, then it’s no surprise the Outback was right there too.
The engine lineup is straight out of the new Legacy. There is a choice of the 170 hp 2.5-liter boxer four or the 256 hp 3.6-liter boxer six (the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in the Legacy is skipped.) The new outback is wider, longer and taller than its predecessor, and offers the same distinctive “cat eye” look of the Legacy sedan.
Full breakdown in the press release after the jump.
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, today announced the world premiere of the all-new Outback (U.S. specifications) at the New York International Auto Show (press days on April 8 and 9, open to the public from April 10 through 19). The new Outback will be introduced in the U.S. market as the 2010 Outback.
Since its debut in the U.S. in 1994, the Outback has earned a solid reputation as a unique crossover vehicle that blends the refined comfort, handling and convenience of a passenger car with the rugged off-road capability and versatility of an SUV. Featuring Subaru’s core technology, symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), along with FHI’s original Horizontally- Opposed (BOXER) engine, the Outback is tagged as a Sport Utility Wagon® and is a major contributor to Subaru’s U.S. sales.
Distinguished by crisp new styling, the fourth-generation Outback features a roomier cabin and an expanded luggage/cargo compartment. And with the introduction of an all new chassis and the new Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission), the new Outback delivers enhanced performance, comfort and environmental considerations. From its reputation for reliability and driveability to higher fuel efficiency by Subaru’s advanced technologies, the Outback offers its occupants new levels of on- and off-road peace of mind.
With body size and design features appropriate for the U.S. market, the new Outback has a greater road presence. Subaru engineers now offer occupants the roomiest cabin and cargo area and a more comfortable ride, and enhancements to conveniences that have characterized all of the Outback’s generations.
The new Outback is 50 mm wider and 105 mm higher than the previous model, and with ground clearance increased to 220 mm and a wider track, the vehicle projects a greater road presence. Front and rear overhang dimensions have been shortened by 90 mm and overall length by 20mm, but wheelbase has been increased by 70mm, which allows for greater rear seat legroom.
Access to the rear cargo area is facilitated by a wide aperture rear hatch. Maximum cargo capacity has been increased and now provides easy accommodation of four large suitcases.
Clearly inheriting the dynamic crossover styling of its predecessors, the bolder and more distinctive silhouette of the new Outback projects a greater road presence.
The upright grille is placed more prominently and in a higher position on the front end, which imparts to the vehicle a more SUV-like look. The distinct, three-dimensional shape of the headlamps, with square fog lamps positioned at both ends of the bumper, imparts a sharp, stable feel to the front face.
The new Outback also makes its road presence known by its ample bumper and distinctive side moldings as well as in its expressive wheel arches that embody power running through the AWD system.
The D-pillars, re-envisioned to project bolder lines for this model, point to the Outback’s origins in the world of SUV design. The rear end of the vehicle, which seamlessly blends larger combination lights with rear garnishes painted the same color as the body and bumper, gives an impressive sense of volume.
Underscoring its SUV-like versatility and accentuating its height, every Outback is outfitted with a newly redesigned roof rack. This innovative system stows its integral crossbars in the roof rails when they’re not needed, which helps to reduce a potential source of wind noise.
Moldings around the windows accentuate the sleek design of cabin area with a quality feel.
A new interior design echoes the dynamic exterior lines and shapes and creates a more spacious cabin with a sense of quality.
The new instrument panel, accentuated by sharp edges, creates the impression of more laterally-opened space in the front.
A sense of powerful presence and fine quality is expressed in the center console shapes and in the decorative hairline finish on the surfaces of the console.
The incorporation of a new electronic parking brake eliminates the need for a side brake lever and creates more space for the center console. The center console features two-cup holders arranged side by side, and the console box and arm rest are enlarged to provide more inside storage space.
Both front seats excel in comfort and support, and their stitched fabric emphasizes the Outback’s sporty look. A 10-way driver’s seat, with power lumber support adjustment, and 4-way power front passenger seat are available on premium-grade models.
A newly-designed 3-spoke steering wheel provides a sporty feeling and comes with audio and cruise control buttons. Steering wheel paddle shifters are featured on models with automatic transmissions and Lineartronic™ CVT.
The four dials on the instrument panel are outlined with aluminum-steam-plated meter rings, and, for immediate reading, their illuminated backgrounds are always on. A multi-information display with average-MPG indicator is located in the center of the dashboard.
Engine and transmission
The new Outback is powered by improved Boxer engines that provide outstanding fuel economy. Two engine types are available in the U.S. market.
Employing a resin-based intake manifold, the engine is now lighter in weight and improves low speed range torque. Additionally, better fuel economy is achieved through engine cooling performance improvement in an engine head. Optimizing the specifications of its catalyst, the engine offers outstanding exhaust gas control.
3.6-liter DOHC engine
Featuring the same external dimensions as the earlier 3.0-liter engine, the new 3.6-liter engine is compact and lightweight.
The Active Valve Control System (AVCS), which incorporates variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves, optimizes power delivery across the engine’s speed range while helping to reduce emissions. Not only does the 3.6 engine offer greater performance than the previous 3.0-liter unit, but it does so economically by using regular grade fuel. The 3.0-liter engine required premium grade.
The Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission) offers superb driveability and fuel economy. Lineartronic™ CVT
The 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine model is equipped with a chain-type CVT, the world’s first* longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. (*Claim based on Subaru research.)
Chain-type CVTs boast higher torque delivery capacity and lower friction, helping provide better fuel efficiency than belt-type CVTs. The Lineartronic™ CVT employs smaller pulley cores, which makes the unit compact. And due to the significant size difference between the smallest and largest pulley core diameters, the CVT provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios, helping to keep the engine operating in its most efficient range.
With a perfect balance of torque delivery and engine revolutions, the Lineartronic™ CVT provides smooth acceleration with a linear feeling in response to the accelerator pedal.
The manual mode of the Lineartronic™ CVT, which a driver can choose to engage, uses six pre-selected steps that allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle controls. The shift response is always quick and smooth, comparable to the conventional sports AT models.
Fuel economy is improved through the reduction of friction and weight in the AT unit.
For the first time in the U.S. market, the six-speed manual transmission is offered with the 2.5-liter Outback model. The new 6MT provides excellent fuel economy and improved driveability, as well as quieter rides in high-speed ranges, thanks to its wider ratio coverage.
A new engine cradle design not only helps reduce noise and provides more refined ride and stability but also improves front impact safety.
The engine is mounted to the cradle frame, no longer installed on the chassis. The cradle system supports the engine on four mounts that utilize cushioning rubber filled with liquid material. By situating the engine in precise relation to the torque roll axis of the power unit, the cradle system helps reduce vibration.
The MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to the new engine cradle, further improving steering response and handling and adding to overall rigidity. By changing the layout of the stabilizers with increased diameter, roll rigidity is enhanced. This keeps the stroke in line and improves ride comfort.
A new double-wishbone rear suspension is mounted to the sub frame. All suspension links and the rear differential are also mounted to the sub frame via bushes, while the link bushes and shock absorber mounts are optimized to suit the new model. Those enhancements have significantly lowered overall noise levels.
The 2.5-liter models feature standard 16-in. wheels with 215/70R16 tires. Premium-grade models are fitted with 17-in. alloy wheels with 225/60R17 tires. On the Outback 3.6-liter models, 17-in. alloy wheels with 225/60R17 tires are standard.
All models are equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), which is augmented by Subaru’s Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Further control is offered by Subaru’s Brake Assist safety system, which is available on all models.
A new electronic parking brake eliminates the traditional parking brake handle and allows for more storage space in the center console. An electronic Hill Holder System in the parking brake is automatically activated if the vehicle stops on any hill with a slope of more than 5%.
Also standard on all models is Subaru’s exclusive Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, which further enhances stability and traction control capacity by optimizing the control time.
Use of high-tensile steel in critical body parts contributes to weight reduction and higher overall rigidity. The engine cradle design enables more efficient impact absorption, while keeping the body dimensions and weight virtually unchanged from the previous model.
The hood is fitted with gas springs for greater ease of operation.
In the event of front impact, the engine cradle frame folds inward and causes the power unit to slide downward, thus creating greater zone of protection for the cabin space. In combination with Subaru’s Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure, which is designed for efficient absorption of impact, front impact safety has been significantly improved.
Two impact beams have been added in each of the front and rear doors. With an optimized layout of its inner components, the door provides enough crushable space between its panels to afford another level of protection to the vehicle’s occupants.
Despite a shorter overhang, energy produced on rear impact is effectively absorbed through optimized frame construction.
All models feature front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that insure additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect both the presence and weight of the front passenger and the driver’s distance from the steering wheel. And for optimal protection of occupants, the system determines deployment strength of front air bags. The side airbags and curtain airbags are enlarged to further enhance passenger protection.
Newly designed high-strength front seat frames and energy-absorbing headrests provide enhanced protection against whiplash injury in a rear-end collision.
Headlights are governed by an automatic lights-on and -off function that responds to specific driving situations.
A 60/40 split fold-down rear seat is equipped with a reclining mechanism.
A cup holder inside the rear seat armrest comes standard.
Premium grade models offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a Harman-Kardon® audio system and a power moonroof with a tilt-up and slide mechanism.
The 2010 Outback, while clearly related to its predecessors, marks a departure in design toward a new, bolder look. The new Outback blends a sophisticated crossover design with SUV details. The upright grille features the Subaru circular badge and wing design as the focal point and is offset by dramatic hawk-eye headlamps. The new functional molded lower rocker and side cladding convey the Outback’s improved capability and are more durable for off-pavement driving.
The 2010 Outback also has a greater road presence with a wider track and expressive wheel arches. Ground clearance on the new model has been increased to 8.7 inches, among the best of all crossover vehicles available, yet still with a more comfortable step-in height than traditional SUVs. As a new characteristic of the Outback, the D-pillars project a powerful SUV-like presence. The taillamps blend into the rear liftgate, which highlights the more clearly defined beltline.
Right-Sized for the Times
The original Outback established a template for many competitive crossover models that followed, and the new-generation 2010 Outback further strengthens the melding of passenger car and SUV attributes that today’s crossover shoppers seek.
Built on an all-new platform, the 2010 Outback showcases Subaru’s mastery of vehicle packaging efficiency. A 2.8-inch longer wheelbase, now 107.9 inches, contributes to a smoother ride and increased interior space. Total passenger volume is increased by nearly 8 cubic feet, now 105.4 cu. ft., and maximum cargo capacity (with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded) is increased by 6 cubic feet to 71.3 cu. ft. The Outback also features a rear cargo area that is deeper and wider than in many small SUVs and easier to access through its wide aperture rear hatch.
Rear seat legroom is increased by nearly 4 inches to 37.8 inches. With a 2.0-in. increase in vehicle width, the 2010 Outback offers greater hip room (+3.5 inches in front, +1.3 in. in back) and shoulder room (+1.9-in. front, +2.4-in. in back).
Remarkably, the roomier 2010 Outback is almost one inch shorter than the previous model, due to reduced front and rear overhang dimensions. The new Outback is also 2.3 inches taller than the previous model, increasing headroom and cargo area height. The new packaging thus preserves the maneuverability, agility and parking ease that Outback customers highly value.
Surefooted Handling and Safety for any Road or any Weather
The new Subaru Outback improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform that helps yield a smoother, quieter ride – still with crisp handling. Outback customers have long valued the way Outback models have balanced comfort with capability, and the 2010 Outback improves on both. The reduced front and rear overhang dimensions, combined with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, help enhance Outback’s off-pavement maneuverability.
All Outback models for 2010 are equipped as standard with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control functions. The all-new electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver presses the accelerator pedal to pull away from a stop. Previous systems held the car in place for only a few seconds.
MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to a new engine cradle, and the engine is attached to the cradle using new hydraulic mounts. The new cradle is designed to also enhance crash-worthiness in front. A new double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, replaces the previous multi-link configuration to provide improved ride and handling. The enhancement of body rigidity and the new suspension design help to reduce levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
The 2010 Outback models are equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and, new for 2010, the Brake Assist safety system that automatically applies maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.
Significantly, the stiffer body structure and new suspension combined with a higher profile tire (215/70R16 on base Outback 2.5i) contributes to the more comfortable ride quality without sacrificing handling agility. Models with 17-in. wheels likewise benefit from a higher-profile tire size, 225/60R17 compared to 225/55R17 used before.
The 2010 Outback 2.5i models are powered by a revised 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, teamed for the first time to a new 6-speed manual transmission or the available new Lineartronic CVT equipped with a manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters. The CVT is standard in the Outback 2.5i Limited.
2010 line-up: 2.5i with a 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, and the new 3.6R powered by a 256-hp 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine
The 2.5-liter engine, which is also available as PZEV-certified, is modified for 2010 to improve performance, drivability, and economy. The engine delivers 170 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 170 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The i-Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) ensures a broad torque curve and smooth response at all engine speeds, while also helping to improve fuel efficiency. Whether teamed to the new 6-speed manual transmission or the Lineartronic CVT, the roomier 2010 Outback provides quicker acceleration than comparable 2009 Outback models. Either transmission helps make the 2010 Outback 2.5i models more responsive in everyday driving.
All-New Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Subaru has adopted a chain-type CVT, the world’s first longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the lowest and highest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. The CVT continuously and smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range for improved fuel economy and performance. The payoff is in significantly improved fuel economy – to 24 mpg (EPA combined rating) up from last year’s rating of 22 mpg combined.
Because a CVT does not shift gears, the driver enjoys smoother performance in all driving situations. The selectable manual mode of the Lineartronic CVT uses six pre-selected ratios to allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle controls.
3.6-liter Boxer Engine: Premium Performance with Regular-Grade Fuel
The 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter Boxer, yet features similar external dimensions due primarily to a unique shortened connecting rod design. As a result, this larger-displacement, more powerful engine maintains its excellent low center of gravity while improving power delivery and significantly improving the driving experience. Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves optimizes power delivery across the engine’s speed range while helping to reduce emissions.
The 3.6 engine produces 256 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 247 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,400 rpm, compared to 245 hp at 6,600 rpm and 215 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm for the previous 3.0-liter engine. Notably, the 3.6 engine sustains at least 225 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, making the Outback 3.6R feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving.
Not only does the 3.6 engine offer greater performance than the previous 3.0, but does so using recommended regular-grade fuel compared to premium recommended in the 3.0. The specially tuned five-speed automatic transmission, combined with the greater torque output of the new engine, helps make the Outback 3.6R more responsive when driving in hilly areas by significantly reducing “hunting” between gears. The 5-speed automatic transmission also incorporates improved downshift “blipping” logic, which helps transmission responsiveness.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key to Brand Identity
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2010 Outback line, each one tailored to the type of transmission. In Outback 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the opposite set.
Outback 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use Active Torque Split AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls power distribution in response to driving conditions.
The Outback 3.6R uses the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) AWD system with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. The VTD system normally sends more power to the rear wheels (45:55) to enhance handling agility, and it continuously adjusts power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.
The 2010 Outback’s interior is not only more spacious, but takes another step up in refinement from an already-praised design in the previous model. The four-dial instrument panel is augmented in all Outback models by a multi-information display with trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. Seat comfort, long a Subaru strong point, is further enhanced in the 2010 Outback with new front and rear seat designs. The rear seat includes a new recline feature. The front seatback shape provides extra rear-seat knee room, and the front-seat cushion design allows more rear-seat foot room.
The 2010 Subaru Outback is available in three trim levels – base, Premium and Limited.
Standard comfort and available amenities are increased across the Outback line for 2010. The base 2.5i, for example, features new standard steering wheel cruise control and audio switches, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with recline feature, new electronic parking brake with Hill Holder System, automatic light function, overhead console with holder for sunglasses, and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio jack.
Outback Premium models add more new amenities, including a 10-way power driver’s seat (with power lumbar support adjustment) and driver’s auto up/down window, leather-wrapped steering wheel, instrument panel storage bin with door, ambient light for the overhead console, chrome exhaust tip, body-colored side mirrors and 17-in. alloy wheels (all 3.6R trim lines have 17-in. alloy wheels as standard). The Premium models also offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a power moonroof, a 440-Watt harman/kardon® audio system with Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability, and the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
The Limited trim lines feature standard perforated leather upholstery, dual zone automatic climate control, the harman/kardon audio system, and a 4-way power front passenger seat. (The Outback 2.5i Limited also has the Lineartronic CVT as standard.) The Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with an 8-in. LCD display and rear-view backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio capability.
The Subaru Safety Story
The Outback, like all Subaru models, has consistently earned top scores in government and insurance industry crash tests. The 2010 Outback is designed to further raise the safety quotient. Subaru’s Ring-Shaped Frame Reinforcement safety structure, proven over a decade in all Subaru models, again forms the foundation for impact protection and occupant safety in the new-generation 2010 Outback. A new front subframe (engine cradle) helps improve front impact safety. The 2010 Outback also features greater use of high-tensile strength steel.
The 2010 Outback models include as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver’s distance from the steering wheel. The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection.
New in the 2010 Outback, redesigned front seat frames provide enhanced protection against whiplash injury in a rear-end collision. With the entire seat optimized for a rear-end collision, Subaru replaced the previous active front head restraints with a more comfortable design.
What does the press say about the 2010 Subaru Outback
"It only took a few minutes behind the wheel to realize the palpably positive impact these changes have wrought. A stronger, stiffer unit body and new front/rear subframes complement the rest of the Outback’s "right-sizing" changes to create a package that’s smoother, quieter, better controlled, and more comfortable than ever." (MotoTrend)
"As we ascended dirt and gravel roads en route to the Continental Divide, we were now thankful for the Outback’s resolute steering isolation. Also, the vehicle’s high-strength-steel structure, all-new engine cradle and rear subframe, and new double-wishbone rear suspension all work in perfect harmony to smooth out ruts, washboards and loose stones." (InsideLine)
"Look for the name "Legacy" anywhere on the new Outback and you won’t find it. But that lack of badging is as much effort as Subaru puts toward obscuring the Outback’s heritage. The Outback is a Legacy wagon with a slightly raised ride height, taller tires, a new grille and slightly more muscled bodywork." (PopularMechanics)
"It will certainly attract the brand’s usual characters; but much more importantly, it has character. It’s not a lozenge with cladding – it’s a properly designed vehicle with significantly contrasting planes, lines and details. So much so, in fact, that our first reaction to it was, "That’s a good looking car." Outside of the mid-90s WRC Imprezas, that’s a line we’ve yet to uttered when discussing a Subaru." (AutoBlog)