By reinventing the crossover category in 1995, Subaru hit the jackpot with the Legacy-derived Outback model. All-wheel-drive and SUV-like road clearance on a medium-sized wagon with decent creature comforts couldn't have been more of an appropriate choice for a family in the search for an all-rounder. It was introduced in a somewhat humorous manner with the help of Australian actor Paul Hogan (known from the "Crocodile Dundee" movies and his famous "slip another shrimp on the barbie!" phrase), who was the car's "spokesperson" in its very first commercial.
As with almost every other Subaru, the Outback's main feature resides in its intelligent use of "Symetrical All Wheel Drive", which in the minds of many is right up there with Audi's "quattro" system. We shouldn't of course forget the horizontally opposed cylinders for its engines, which give a good compromise to the height of the car's center of gravity. The car we tested is part of the 2003-2006 (in 2006 it received a facelift) generation for the Outback, and, despite its age it had a rather decent (read: small) number of kilometers on it.
The 3.0 R spec engine was the top engine in the line-up at the time, and apart from a navigation system the car was equipped with a fully loaded trim. This made the vehicle to qualify both as a practical (jacked up) wagon as being somehow luxurious. Being the top-engine, Subaru outfitted the Outback 3.0 R only with the five-speed automatic transmission, leaving no choice for the WRX Sti drivers who desire a car for the holidays (read: no manual transmission available for this spec).Continue reading