2009 Subaru Outback review

A longtime Cars.com favorite, the Subaru Outback remains a versatile, desirable model whose greatest shortcoming is that it's no longer unique. Along with competing wagons like the Volvo V50 and XC70 and Volkswagen's Passat wagon, it now faces small crossovers like the Toyota Venza, too. This has happened gradually as the SUV market has moved away from bulky, truck-based SUVs toward lighter, more refined unibody models that are more fuel- and space-efficient yet retain the attributes many buyers have come to appreciate: all-wheel drive, additional ground clearance and the flexibility of a hatchback.

For 2009, Subaru eliminated last year's base, Premium and L.L.Bean trim levels. Now the lineup starts with the 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition and 2.5i Limited. More powerful engines come in the turbocharged 2.5 XT Limited and six-cylinder 3.0 R Limited, along with some additional convenience features not found on the other Limiteds. Subaru simplified matters last year by making the Outback only a wagon, and the Legacy, on which it's based, only a sedan. Little else has changed this year, though an electronic stability system is now standard, and the two higher trim levels include a premium stereo. (There's also an Outback version of the smaller Impreza hatchback called the Impreza Outback Sport. All clear?)

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Turbo models
The engine is designed to operate at maximum performance using premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 93 AKI or higher. If 93 AKI fuel is not readily available in your area, unleaded g ...

Engine exhaust gas (carbon monoxide)
Х Never inhale engine exhaust gas. Engine exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas which is dangerous, or even lethal, if inhaled. Х Always properly maintain the engine ...

Heating and defrosting
To direct warm air toward the floor and the windshield: 1. Set the air inlet selection button to the OFF position. 2. Press the УФ button. 3. Set the temperature control dial to the most comfortabl ...