The 2013 Subaru Outback earns an above average Total Car Score for the Midsize SUVs & Crossovers segment.
Subaru’s popular Outback sport/utility wagon (the maker’s term that seems to mean “not quite a SUV but more than a crossover”) gets a facelift for 2013, with revised headlights, grille, front bumper and fog lights.
Underneath that fresh front end there’s a new engine in the 2.5i models that’s more powerful than the outgoing powerplant -- with better low-end torque delivery to make the Subaru feel more responsive -- and also more fuel efficient. EPA testing shows the 2.5i, when backed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), hits 30 mpg on the highway. (The Outback’s other engine choice, a 3.6-liter six-cylinder, returns unchanged.)
Subaru has developed a new EyeSight driver assist system and is making it available as an option on all Outback models. EyeSight offers adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-departure warning systems using a stereo camera rather than radar, making the system more affordable, says Subaru.
Other enhancements for the new model year include revisions to the Outback’s body structure, suspension and steering to give it better handling and a smoother ride. A Special Appearance Package bundles leather upholstery, pushbutton start and a 10-way power driver’s seat with unique exterior trim.
The current version of the Subaru Outback is mid-way through its fourth generation, and these sheetmetal and powertrain revisions are likely to be the biggest changes the Outback will see until it is thoroughly redesigned in a few years.
The 2013 Subaru Outback is a five-door five-passenger sport/utility wagon that is available in three trim levels and with a choice of two engines.
Outback 2.5i models are powered by a revamped 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (or “boxer”) engine that produces 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in base and Premium models, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional in those models and standard in Limited versions.
Outback 3.6R models have a 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer engine that sends 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque through a conventional five-speed automatic transmission. Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard across the Outback lineup.
The Outback 2.5i in base trim is equipped with 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, power accessories, a tilt/telescope steering wheel and an AM/FM/CD audio system with Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and a USB port. Upgrading to the Premium trim brings 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a powered driver seat and an upgraded sound system. Limited 2.5i models feature an all-weather package with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed upholstery and a Harmon-Kardon nine-speaker audio system.
Standard 3.6R models are equipped like 2.5i Premium models, with 17-inch wheels and foglights, while the 3.6R Limited version shares equipment with 2.5i Limited models.
A new option for both 2.5i and 3.6R models is Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system with pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure and sway warning and adaptive cruise control. Touch-screen navigation, a power moonroof, a rear view camera and special appearance packages are also available as options.
The EPA finds the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i with the CVT is the most fuel frugal, returning 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Manual-transmission 2.5i models get 21/28/24 mpg, while 3.6R models return 18/25/20 mpg.
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