When acceleration and off-road performance matter as much as having access to all the bells and whistles, the 2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited SUV Wagon is really the only option. It is powered by a 3.6-liter DOHC six-cylinder engine and five-speed adaptive electronic transmission to deliver 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph is achieved in 7.3 seconds and towing capacity is 3,000 pounds, both of which are pretty impressive. Although fuel economy won’t kill you at the pump, this all-wheel drive vehicle is definitely below average, returning 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Ground clearance is 8.7 inches, so it can tackle rough terrain and snow accumulation with ease and manages to provide a smooth ride, thanks to the four-wheel independent suspension. The speed-sensing power steering is a bit vague, but the vehicle is still a breeze to park and maneuver in tight spaces, as it has a small turning circle of only 36.8 feet.
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• Audio - An impressive 440-watt Harman Kardon audio system is standard. It features nine speakers, subwoofer, amplifier, SiriusXM satellite, USB port, HD radio, auxiliary jack and Bluetooth audio streaming.
• Navigation - This optional GPS navigation system will help you find your way using a 7-inch touchscreen. Have access to maps and directions at your fingertips.
• SiriusXM - Those adding on that navigation system get not only SiriusXM satellite, but also NavTraffic and NavWeather as well.
• Bluetooth - Send, end and receive calls simply by using the controls on the steering wheel. This lets you keep your eyes on the road.
When it comes to safety, the 2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited has a lot to offer. Although braking is poor, taking 126 feet to stop from 60 mph, it does get top scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in roof, side and front protection. EyeSight™ driver assistance system is optional, which provides lane departure, sway warning, pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise control. Other safety features worth mentioning include:
• Collapsible steering column
• Ring-shaped reinforcement frame
• Rollover sensors
• Vehicle dynamics control
• Brake assist
• Remote anti-theft alarm
• Rear door safety locks
• Engine immobilizer
• Stability control
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Front seatbelt pretensioners
• Traction control
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Adaptive cruise control
• Rear vision camera
• Inside trunk release
• LATCH child rear seat system
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
The exterior styling certainly is not flashy, but it will definitely turn a head or two as people try to figure out if it is an SUV or a wagon. Body-colored handles and mirrors, a front underguard, triangular headlamps, roof rails and 17-inch six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels all add to the charm.
The interior of the 2013 Outback 3.6R Limited will delight and disappoint all at the same time. On the positive side, there is more than enough head and leg room in both rows for even tall passengers. Yes, even adults will be comfortable in the back, unlike many other SUVs. The rear seat even reclines for maximum comfort. The leather seats are supportive, but some buyers will wish there was a cloth option. As for the styling, saying it is simplistic would be generous. Boring is a better term for it. Also, in this higher trim, controls are a little fussy.
There is plenty of cargo space in this vehicle. Behind the rear seat, you enjoy 34.3 cubic feet, even with a full house. If you need to haul more cargo, fold the rear seat down for 71.3 cubes.