Outback 2.5 XT Limited

In terms of regular old driving, my Outback XT test car's drivetrain offers spirited acceleration, though there's a lag from a standing start — even if you floor it. By playing with the SI-Drive feature, I found the lag to be acceptable in this regard, but it's far from ideal. (I'll detail Subaru Intelligent Drive later because it comes only on the 2.5 XT automatic and 3.0 R, and I don't want to bore the other shoppers.) I took an interstate trip of close to 700 miles and was less than thrilled with the mileage. Being the turbo model, its extra power comes at a price. The EPA-estimated 24 mpg highway is what you'd expect from an SUV, but it seems low on a wagon. For what it's worth, the Volvo XC70 is even worse with its base engine. Subaru also claims that SI-Drive improves on mileage when it's in Intelligent mode, but the EPA rating is based on the default, Sport, mode. I did most of my highway driving in this mode, and in one direction I got 23.7 mpg according to the trip computer. On the way back, which was strictly highway with a substantial late-autumn tailwind, it read an impressive 27.6 mpg for the trip.

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