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What If... Subaru Made Soccer Moms Happy With an STI Version of the Outback?
Let’s face it, fast station wagons are cool. It’s awesome to say this in 2022, seen as how SUVs and crossovers have proven to be way more desirable than wagons during the past decade. Of course, horsepower is the cure to end all automotive illnesses, and some of these wagons today are really sick, albeit in a good way.

What If... Subaru Made Soccer Moms Happy With an STI Version of the Outback?

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Ask Audi, they’ve been making these types of cars for a long time. In fact, one might consider the RS2 Avant to be a true pioneer in this segment, seen as how it paved the way for rivals such as the Volvo 850 R, successors like the RS4 and RS6 Avant, plus all the AMG and M-badged competitors that eventually followed.

Alas, we’re here to talk about a different type of station wagon, one that walks a fine line between two different worlds. It’s the latest-generation Subaru Outback, which premiered back in 2019 at NAIAS featuring revised visuals and a solid 8.7 inches (220 mm) of ground clearance, which is better than you get in most conventional crossovers and SUVs, like say a Ford Escape or even the Explorer.

As an overall package, the Outback is a heck of a car. It’s supremely practical, it’s comfortable, it’s rugged and it’s capable of meeting a wide range of automotive needs – even with regards to performance, at least to some extent. That’s where the 2.4-liter turbocharged flat four unit comes in, with its 260 hp (264 ps). You can only get this engine alongside one of the XT-spec variants, which are priced from around $35,000.

But what if you could do more for Outback customers in the United States? And I’m not talking about discounts here, but rather a hypothetical STI variant of the Outback. This isn’t as outlandish as you might think. Remember the Forester STI from the early 2000s? Maybe you don’t, because it was only sold in Japan, but it shows that Subaru won’t shy away from making a performance-oriented crossover.

In order to help you picture this hypothetical Outback STI model, our friend Joao Kleber Amaral came up with these exclusive illustrations, featuring multiple colorways and quite a few noticeable visual changes, compared to what the actual Outback looks like.

First, that ground clearance factor I was raving about earlier is all but gone. Second, we have the typical STI hood, a new front fascia, STI badging, tinted windows and larger diameter wheels than the ones you usually get on the real-life Outback. Furthermore, keeping the body cladding was important, since it’s a big part of this vehicle’s visual identity.

As for what could be hiding underneath the hood, let’s say you could have your choice of any past Subaru power units - you can let us know in the comments section about said choice. Personally, I’d go for the STI S209’s 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four with its 341 hp and 330 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque, although there was that limited edition Japan-only TC380 WRX STI, with 380 hp. Yeah, you know what, let’s go with that one. The more power the better.

Seen as how the most expensive Outback XT model you can buy today is the Touring XT ($40,645), our make-belief Outback STI would probably cost somewhere around $50,000 to $55,000. You could talk me into more, but I don’t think you could price it as high as the undoubtedly faster STI S209, which used to cost around $64,000.

One thing that I am sure of is this car would be a lot of fun to drive, whether you’re just going to pick up the kids from school, or canyon carving in the hills somewhere.

 
 
 
 
 

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