Most people will hardly find it believable that a sport utility vehicle can return 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, but that is the gas mileage you will enjoy from the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i SUV wagon! This all-wheel drive vehicle is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with your choice of a six-speed manual transmission or CVT. Don’t expect a ton of acceleration or passing power though as this engine produces a meager 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. What sets the 2.5i apart from others in this segment is its unique symmetrical all-wheel drive system. It’s efficient, durable, and stable and sends power simultaneously to all four wheels for maximum traction control. As for handling, it does offer less body roll than last year’s model thanks to a stiffer suspension. Steering is responsive, but if you do a lot of off-road driving then one of the six-cylinder models would be a better choice.
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• Audio - The standard audio system comes with four speakers, in-dash CD player, MP3 playback capability, iPod integration, USB connection and auxiliary audio input. Most will want to upgrade to the Premium model, simply for the better sound system.
• Bluetooth - Never miss a call or risk the safety of your passengers and others on the road with Bluetooth telecommunications. Send, end and receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.
• SiriusXM - All new Outback 2.5i vehicles come with a four-month subscription for hundreds of commercial-free music, talk radio and sports channels.
The 2.5i has been a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for three years in a row and the 2013 model is hoping to make it the fourth year. It received a “Good” rating in front, side and roof-strength protection crash tests. It is equipped with six airbags and a unique ring-shaped reinforcement frame provides high-impact protection. Just a few safety features include:
• Vehicle dynamics control
• Brake assist
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• LATCH child rear seat system
• Inside trunk release
• Rear vision camera
• Adaptive cruise control
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
• Traction control
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
• Dusk-sensing headlamps
• Stability control
• Engine immobilizer
• Rear door safety locks
• Remote antitheft alarm
The 2013 2.5i has a fun wagon-like design with clever roof racks, fold out crossbars and 16-inch alloy wheels. It is available in 11 great colors, and there is a ridiculously long list of accessories you can add for customization, such as bike mounting clamps, 16-inch aluminum wheels, ski attachment mounting clamps, splash guards and body molding kits in various colors.
Seating for five is provided with plenty of leg and headroom, and this includes the backseat. Plus, the rear seat reclines for increased comfort. The seats are supportive and covered in cloth, but don’t expect the use of high-quality materials here, because you will not find them. There is a lot of hard plastic used on this trim. The layout is nice enough, but simple. You can’t help but feel as though you have stepped back in time a little when you slip behind the wheel.
The Outback 2.5i offers plenty of cargo space. In fact, it is even more spacious than Ford Edge. Behind the rear seat is 34.3 cubic feet, while total capacity behind the front seat is 71.3 cubes.