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Subaru's Got Your ‘Back Again

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Sep 18, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Subaru Impreza Outback Sport

It walks like an Outback, and talks like an Outback. It's Outback Lite, or more specifically, a junior version of the Legacy-based Outback. This one is outfitted onto the lighter, more spartan, but considerably less expensive Impreza. Is it the real thing, or merely an Impreza with Outback makeup? John-Fredrik Wright reports. By John-Fredrik Wright A Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. Long name, small car. Apparently, the car is too small to fit the whole name (the emblem just says “Outback Sport”). For the untrained eye, this may look like an Outback. It does, however, look pretty Outbackie, which is, I assume, why it wears that badge. Enough about the name. What about the car? Okay, imagine a Subaru Impreza, cross it with a Subaru (Legacy-based) Outback, and viola! The interior is all Impreza, (it is, after all, an Impreza). The exterior, however, looks like an Impreza in an Outback coat. A little bit beefier stance (this looks more off-road-ready than the regular Impreza), but in to the touch, the resemblance is absolutely there.


The manual transmission is fun, but it ain’t no party. This actually goes for the whole car. It’s a great car, and for this price segment hard to beat, but no one will mistaken this for a WRX. Handling-wise, it feels like the compact four-wheel drive car we know and love as the Impreza. This car represents capable and dependable transportation, with off road capabilities splashed on it. The legendary Subaru all-wheel drive system will get you practically anywhere (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard things like “My Subaru can do it”). The interior feels like your standard issue $20,000 car, but that’s to be expected of a $20,000. The seats are comfortable, and for a compact hatchback, the ride is relatively smooth and comfortable. The wind and road noise is a little loud for our taste, but this is only noticeable on longer trips and only with the radio turned way down. The seating surface has an interesting feel to it, and actually held us in place while cornering. The seat itself also does a good job with this. A WTF moment came when we realized the Impreza Outback Sport is outfitted with a TomTom navigation system. It looks a little out of place with the built-in TomTom, and we had some trouble trying to figure it out. Moreover, it lacks a few of the features that ordinarily come with “regular” nav-systems. The TomTom system comes in a package that also includes a power moonroof, which of course adds that extra feel of luxury for some. It feels a little awkward to have a “luxurious” feature such as the moonroof come as a byproduct of the TomTom.

The TomTom GPS is detachable

As mentioned, the manual transmission does offer a little extra driving enjoyment. But since the engine is not loaded with power, it’s only moderately fun. The engine makes a lot of noise when accelerating, but without all the action to go with it. However, like most things Impreza, the 2.5L does a great job for $20k. I would have expected a little better gas-mileage for a small car, especially the 20 miles per gallon city rating. 27 is pretty decent for the highway rating, but there are other small cars that will beat that. When all is said and done, this might not be our favorite Subaru, but it’s still a Subaru. And any Subaru is a good hand in our deck. So, for the right person (someone looking for a capable hatchback with room for toys and a little extra outdoorsy ruggedness) the Impreza Outback Sport should definitely be a contender. For more information on Subaru products, go to

Available with an automatic transmission

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Price: $19,995 (base) $22,310 (as tested with option package 32 [moonroof and TomTom}) EPA fuel economy rating: 20 mpg (city)/27 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 2.5-liter SUBARU BOXER® 4-cylinder Power & torque: 170 maximum horsepower and pound-feet Transmission type: Standard fully synchronized 5-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist Drive configuration: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Steering (type): Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Suspension (front and rear): 4-wheel independent raised suspension. Front stabilizer bar. Front: Strut-type with lower L-arm. Rear: Double wishbone Brakes and tires: 4-wheel disc, ventilated front brakes. 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Wheels and tires: 17inch wheels with 205/50 R17 M+S all-season tires Dimensions Length: 173.8 in Width: 68.5 in Height: 58.1 in Curb weight: 3,108 lbs

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