2009 Subaru Outback Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The Outback's utility is the most impressive. With its standard all-wheel drive system, the Outback can not only handle light off-road duty but also all sorts of foul weather conditions. The two available engines on the Outback also give it some zip.
- "On the road, the Outback rides smoothly and feels sure-footed around corners. Taken off-road, it can scamper up a rutted hillside with more gusto than just about any crossover SUV, and it's an excellent companion in snowy climates." -- Edmunds
- "Whether it's snow and ice, gravel or dirt roads, the Outback is unfazed." -- Cars.com
Acceleration and Power
The Outback is reasonably powerful, especially in its V6 engine and turbocharged four-cylinder engine incarnations, but it won't be mistaken for a high-performance sports car. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that creates 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged version of the four-cylinder engine creates 243 horsepower and 241 pound-feet of torque, while a 3.0-liter V6 makes 245 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. The base engine garners its share of praise, but the turbocharged 2.5 is the favorite. There are a number of complaints about the Outback's various transmissions.
- "The normally-aspirated 2.5-liter boxer engine produces enough power to suit most non-enthusiast drivers. It also offers the best fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "[The V6 is] strong and smooth." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Unfortunately, the Outback's automatic transmissions still leave much to be desired, as they sap power by upshifting too early." -- Edmunds
Handling and Braking
The Outback offers a ride that more closely matches its car-like underpinnings than its SUV-like styling. All-wheel drive helps the Outback handle well, and reviewers like the steering and brakes.
- "[The Outback] rides more firmly than a traditional family sedan, [but is] always controlled and never harsh." -- Consumer Guide
- "[The Outback has] a moderately firm ride and very good cornering ability and reactions to driver inputs." -- The Auto Channel
- "[The Outback] rides smoothly, is balanced on the highway and offers a plush ride in the city, despite its off-road machinery." -- Forbes
- "[The Outback] requires more brake pedal pressure during a panic stop, [but] braking performance overall is fine." -- Cars.com
Of all the Outback's features, its all-wheel drive system is most often singled out for praise.
- "Subaru's legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive is standard, as is the ability to go just about anywhere four wheels can travel." -- Kelley Blue Book.
- "I've driven it on modest offroad trails (legit ones, not just off-pavement), and it can handle more than the vast majority of buyers would put in its way." -- Cars.com