The great acceleration and superb off-road capabilities of the 2013 Outback 3.6R SUV Wagon will be appreciated by any adventure and outdoor-lover. Powered by a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, zero to 60 mph is achieved in a quick 7.3 seconds. This trim receives a standard five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters to deliver 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Towing capacity is decent too at 3,000 pounds. The Outback 3.6R will tackle uneven trails or slippery inclines with ease, thanks to it generous 8.7-inch ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. Don’t worry about trying to maneuver in between trees at your campsite either as its small 36.8 feet turning circle will let you squeeze in there with ease. The two biggest complaints are that the steering is a little vague and fuel economy is slightly below average, returning 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
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While you do get the large engine in the Outback 3.6R, the increased price sure does not give you much in the way of technology and entertainment features. About the only features you will enjoy include:
• Audio - A very weak four-speaker audio system will hardly impress most drivers. It includes an in-dash CD player, auxiliary jack, USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming.
• Bluetooth - Buttons on your three-spoke steering wheel allow you to send, end and receive calls without taking your eyes off the road, or fumbling with your device.
• Auto-dimming Mirror - This optional feature will automatically dim your mirror when lights from a vehicle behind you are blinding. It features a compass and homelink as well.
The Outback 3.6R is definitely a vehicle made with safety in mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a “Good” rating for roof, side and front crash tests. However, when braking was tested, it took 126 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is long for a vehicle in this segment. An advanced airbag system and ring-shaped reinforcement frame help to keep occupants safe. Other features include:
• Vehicle dynamics controls
• 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
• Seatbelt pretensioners
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Stability control
• Engine immobilizer
• Rear door safety locks
• Remote anti-theft alarm
At first glance, Outback 3.6R looks like a wagon, but then you realize it is a little larger. The exterior manages to offer a nice blend of sport and simplicity. Roof rails, triangular headlamps, rear window wipers, privacy glass and 17-inch six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels offer plenty of highlights.
The interior likely will not get you too excited. Your choice of off-black or ivory cloth blends with a lot of hard plastic and an outdated dash to make you feel as though you are in a vehicle decades old. That being said, eight cup holders and thoughtfully placed controls will be appreciated. Another thing that will be appreciated is how much space there is inside this cabin. Even tall passengers will find they have plenty of head and legroom in both rows and the rear seat even reclines for optimal comfort.
Even with five passengers, you will enjoy 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. Fold that seat down and you get 71.3 cubes, which is more than a larger vehicle, like the Ford Edge.