Outback 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition & 2.5i Limited

For the best mileage, the 2.5i manual is your best bet, rated at 20/27 mpg city/highway. Along with 1 mpg better highway mileage, the five-speed stick will help you get better acceleration out of the base horizontally opposed four-cylinder. The automatic has enough oomph for grocery-getting and other errands, but it quickly gets winded when pushed hard. The transmission could use a fifth gear; in many cases you can press the gas pedal halfway down without inducing a downshift, which doesn't help your passing confidence.

Outback 3.0 R Limited

On the other end of the spectrum is the 3.0 R Limited's normally aspirated 3.0-liter H-6 engine, which shaves another city mpg in exchange for ... not much. As the table shows, it brings a negligible horsepower increase and much lower torque — at higher rpm, where you don't want it. This option is the key to towing 3,000-pound trailers, rather than 2,700 pounds with the four-cylinder. If you're not planning to tow, I just don't see the point of this engine.

    See also:

    Installing a booster seat
    WARNING ● Child restraint systems and seatbelts can become hot in a vehicle that has been closed up in sunny weather; they could burn a small child. Check the child restraint system before ...

    Changing the coolant
    WARNING Never attempt to remove the radiator cap until the engine has been shut off and has cooled down completely. Since the coolant is under pressure, you may suffer serious burns from a spray ...

    Back-up light (5-door)
    1. Apply a flat-head screwdriver to the light cover as shown in the illustration, and pry the light cover off from the rear gate trim. 2. Turn the bulb socket counterclockwise and remove it. 3 ...