2010 Subaru Outback
It was 1996 when Subaru decided to combine station wagon “garagability” with outdoorsy car-like utility. The Legacy Outback became known as “the world’s first sport utility wagon” and helped launch a new category of vehicles called crossovers. Since that time, mainstream crossovers have saturated the market, but the Outback has retained its unique and sporty wagon appeal, not to mention a growing fan base.
For 2010, the Subaru Outback enters its fourth generation and undergoes a full redesign. While Legacy is no longer part of its name, the Outback still shares its new platform with the sedan. This 5-door is wider, taller, yet a hair shorter than before. Wheelbase gains almost 3 inches to 107.9, yielding a larger interior.
And the new Outback isn’t just stouter, it’s more rugged-looking, while also taking cues from the new Legacy. The front end starts with a more upright grille, flanked by expressive-looking hawk-eye headlamps. On profile, scuff-resistant lower rocker moldings and body cladding further convey the Outback’s enhanced capability.
But this is no poser. With 16- and optional 17-inch wheels, ground clearance edges up to 8.7 inches, giving it more off-road potential than many crossover rivals. Up top are standard roof rails, with crossbars that swing into position only when needed, a segment first that helps minimize wind noise.
The body-colored D-Pillars help emphasize the new sectioned taillights, and give the Outback a more traditional rugged utility look than before.
Hands-down, this is the roomiest Outback cabin to date. It’s also decidedly more upscale. Like Legacy, the dash is comprised of a variety of dissimilar shapes, well-drawn lines, and metallic trim.
Controls are laid out in a smart, easy-to-use manner. Ditto the standard electronic parking brake with hill holder, the first among non-luxury crossovers. And, with green motoring in mind, there’s even a gauge for monitoring fuel economy.
Seats are nicely contoured and padded for a high level of comfort. Our test 2.5i Limited had leather trim, 10-way power adjusters for the driver, as well as seat heat. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise is now standard. This up-level tester also came with Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, and a 440-watt Harmon-Kardon audio system. Other available high-end amenities include voice-activated navigation, a rear-view camera, and a power moonroof.
The spacious rear seat makes ample room for three and offers a new recline feature. The 60/40 fold adds excellent versatility to the Outback’s abundant cargo space. Room behind the 2nd row swells from 34.3 cubic feet to 71.3 with seats folded down. That’s a gain of 6 cubes over last year, and more than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. A pair of all-wheel drive boxer powertrains are also shared with the new Legacy.
Standard is a revised 2.5-liter single cam four-cylinder with i-Active valve lift, outputting a square 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. It pairs to either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic.
The 3.6R adds the Tribeca’s 3.6-liter 6-cylinder powerplant. This one sends 256 horses and 247 pound-feet through a 5-speed automatic.
Our 2.5 CVT generated Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 22 city/29 highway on regular gas. We achieved the expected 24.7 in real world driving.
The Energy Impact Score is a modest 14.3 barrels of oil consumed per year, while its Carbon Footprint measures a tidy 7.7 annual tons of CO2.
The downside to this environmental awareness is the long 10.1 seconds needed to get to 60 miles per hour. The quarter mile was equally painful at 17.8 seconds at 79 miles per hour. You can feel the boxer’s torque, but the CVT acts like a fire blanket.
The Outback sports a new double-wishbone rear suspension, and stability and traction control are now standard across the board. Still, handling is also no strong suit. Softly sprung, there’s very little feedback through the chassis. Steering is numb and lazy, and the high center of gravity results in lots of sway and body roll.
The Outback’s brakes are 4-wheel discs with ABS and new Brake Assist. Stops averaged a longish 133 feet from 60 to zero. There was good stability, but the Outback still stops like a much larger vehicle.
Fortunately, what the Outback lacks in track performance, it more than makes up for with a smooth, comfortable ride. It’s nice and cushy for long road trips and extended commutes. Pricewise, the new Outback begins at $23,690 for the base 2.5i. The 3.6R starts at $28,690.
The 2010 Subaru Outback returns with a bolder outer show, more utility-like practicality, and plenty of interior refinement. It’s not much of a driver’s car, but it’s ideal for family carting and an outdoor lifestyle. Add in mid-twenties fuel economy, and the Outback becomes an excellent alternative to the conventional crossover-and the main reason, we believe, that Outback’s popularity is bound to keep growing.
- Engine: 2.5-Liter Single Cam Four-Cylinder
- Horsepower: 170
- Torque: 170 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 10.1 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 17.8 Seconds @ 79 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 133 Feet
- EPA: 22 MPG City/ 29 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 24.7 MPG
- Energy Impact: 14.3 Barrels Oil/Yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.7 Tons/Yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined