- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

Subaru vehicles have long been known for their economy, reliability and versatility. These qualities are all part of the reputation that has elevated the regard under which Subaru is held among car buyers.
Another facet of the Subaru mystique, accounting for the incredible influx of buyers, especially in certain regions of the country, is that all Subaru vehicles are equipped with all-wheel drive. There isn't a new Subaru in this country that isn't putting its power to the ground through all four wheels.
Some individuals think, mistakenly so, that you really need the all-wheel drive only if you live in the Snow Belt, and that if you are in the Sun Belt this feature is a waste of money.
Not so, my friends. I would go as far as to say that in some cases the all-wheel drive is more than welcome on dry pavement. The unexpected can happen anytime, and if you have an instance when your drive wheels lose traction, say if you hit some loose sand on the road, you stand the possibility of losing control of your vehicle.
With all-wheel drive under these circumstances the vehicle transfers power to the wheels with traction and you stay on course.
One of the factors for Subaru's popularity is, in part, because they have not just relied on their original four-wheel-drive system. They have changed it and honed it into a superior traction system.
Subaru's all-wheel-drive system works in harmony with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) to get the maximum grip to the roadway. VDC is an active vehicle-control system that measures a number of factors to determine if the vehicle is on the verge of going out of control.
If VDC senses such a condition it sends signals to one or more of the four wheels to apply braking. By keeping close watch on the steering angle, the yaw rate and each of the wheel's speed, its computer can deliver the exact amount of braking to help the driver maintain control.
Obviously avoiding an accident is much more of a priority than keeping people safe in an accident. But Subaru doesn't come up short on safety during an accident. They provide dual front air bags and dual front seat side-impact bags.
In North America Subaru hasn't really been known as a builder of performance vehicles.
However, in Asia and Australia it has a reputation of building some pretty awesome performance cars. The new horizontally opposed H6 engine hints at that heritage. Packing 212 of smooth horsepower into a versatile wagon is just what the doctor ordered.
The Outback isn't going to compete with Porsches, but it sure does give the typical Subaru owner a kick in the pants. Stomp on this Subaru's throttle and you get a good firm force pushing you back into the seat. Even with the automatic transmission, the H6 provides good acceleration.
The test car has a long title to go along with all the features incorporated into the vehicle. My Legacy Outback H6-3.0 VDC had more features than I could find without the help of the brochure. I continue to have a problem with the 200-watt stereo system by McIntosh. It is a very good system, but I believe the system's appearance doesn't go with the interior. This system doesn't have the rugged looks fit for a Subaru.
The sound system alone would never deter me from considering this Subaru, for I know the value this brand represents. The smooth power of the new H6 engine and the safety and control systems on board make the Outback a vehicle to check out.


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