The Subaru Outback is an crossover wagon, also described as a sport utility wagon, that originally debuted in 1995. The vehicle has been through three generational designs. The current design was first introduced for the 2005 model year. Crossover wagons that directly compete with the Outback include the Kia Rondo, Dodge Magnum and Volvo V50. In Japan, the Outback was previously known as both the Legacy Grand Wagon and Legacy Lancaster.

The Subaru Outback was designed to provide the utility of a station wagon, while offering the appearance of an SUV. Up until 2008, a sedan body style was also available. In 2005, the 3rd generation received a freshened look with enhanced exterior and interior details. The facelift features a sleeker, less rugged look that incorporates tapered lines and a fastback roof. In 2008, additional changes were made to the hood and fender. A new grille was also added. Current dimensions for the vehicle include a length of 188.7 inches, width of 69.7 inches and height of 63.2 inches.

The interior of the Outback offers enough room for up to five passengers. The dashboard is accented with high-quality materials that give the vehicle a solid, upscale appeal. The rear seat may be a little cramped for three passengers, with rear headroom of 39.1 inches and rear legroom of 33.9 inches. True to its wagon design, the Outback offers plenty of storage, with 66.2 cubic feet of cargo volume.

Subaru Outback Trim Levels

The Subaru Outback is available in five trim levels – 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition, 2.5i Limited, 2.5XT Limited and 3.0R Limited. An L.L. Bean Edition model was discontinued after the 2008 model year. The base model comes standard with features such as air conditioning, cruise control, height-adjustable driver's seat, power accessories, split folding rear seat, stereo system with CD/MP3 player, remote keyless entry, rear defogger, automatic-off headlights, theft-deterrent system, roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The 2.5i Special Edition adds heated mirrors, power driver's seat, 440-watt stereo system, 12-volt power outlet, roof rail crossbars and 17-inch alloy wheels. For a bit more luxury, the 2.5i Limited includes leather seats, sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control and 6-CD in-dash CD changer.

The 2.5XT Limited builds on the 2.5i Limited with features such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power front passenger seat and exterior hood scoop. Rounding out the lineup, the 3.0R Limited tops out with faux wood accents, leather steering wheel with mahogany trim and electroluminescent gauges.

Subaru Outback Performance

The 2.5i Subaru Outback trims come standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft. of torque. A turbocharged version of the same 2.5-liter engine powers the 2.5XT Limited with 243 horsepower and 241 lb-ft. of torque. The top-of-the-line 3.0R Limited gets the royal treatment with a 3.0-liter V6 that muster 245 horsepower and 215 lb-ft. of torque. All trims are available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5i trims and 2.5XT come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Subaru Outback Safety

The Subaru Outback is available with dual front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, active head restraints and daytime running lights. The 2009 Subaru Outback adds stability control as a standard feature. As with most current [Subaru]] vehicles, the Outback garnered high crash test scores. The NHTSA awarded a perfect five stars in all but the 4WD rollover category, for which the Outback received four stars.

The 2009 Subaru Outback is a carryover from 2009. The 2009 Outback is sold in 5 different trim levels, each featuring all-wheel drive. The 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition and 2.5i Limited are all equipped with the same 170 horsepower, 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine that also provides 170 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard equipment on each of these three trims except for the Limited, which sees the optional 4-speed auto as its only gearbox option. Fuel economy for the 2.5 liter engine comes out to 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

The 2.5XT Limited is outfitted with a 243 horsepower, turbocharged edition of the 2.5 liter engine found in the lower trims. With 241 lb-ft of torque, this version of the Outback is quite quick, and buyers can choose from either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 18 miles per gallon around town and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. A 6-cylinder version of the 2009 Outback is also available, the 3.0R Limited. A 5-speed automatic transmission manages 245 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque generated by a 3.0 liter engine. Fuel mileage for the 3.0R Limited is 17 miles per gallon in stop and go traffic and 24 miles per gallon on the highway.