Anyone whos read my columns regularly knows that I really like Subarus. So it
should come as no surprise that I was smitten with the new Outback H6-3.0 VDC, even if its
name is a mouthful. Ill try to decode the name for you, at least the new stuff.
Subaru calls their new 6-cylinder engine an H6. This is really a misnomer - the
cylinder arrangement does not really resemble an H. As far as I know there has been only
one H-layout engine, the BRM H-16 racing engine, and even that was more of an X-16 (being
two V8s tied together at the crankshafts). But Subaru has called all their flat,
opposed cylinder engines Hs so Ill give it to them. Then theres the 3.0,
which is the engines displacement - 3.0-liter. And VDC stands for Vehicle Dynamics
Control, a form of stability control.
So how does all this work? Can you say smoo-o-o-oth? The heart of this car is this
3-liter, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, 6-cylinder engine that makes 212 hp and 210 lb-ft
of torque. What a sweetheart of an engine. Its not so much that its powerful,
even though it is, but it is so smooth and unobtrusive. Dare I say it? It is almost
turbine-like in its smoothness.
The new 6-cylinder engine comes only with a fine, 4-speed automatic transmission.
Although you and I might like a manual transmission, Id guess that the vast majority
of Outback buyers opt for the automatic. Maybe if or when the 6-cylinder engine is offered
in more Subaru models there might be a manual transmission option.
The new Outback may be the safest Subaru, or even one of the safest vehicles, available
in this price range thanks to VDC. VDC monitors such things as yaw rate, steering angle,
and individual wheel speed to help prevent the vehicle from sliding or spinning out. It
does this automatically by applying brake pressure to the required wheel to counter a
slide or spin. If the computer feels the slide or spin is severe enough it may also reduce
Subarus AWD system is its first line of defense in slippery conditions. If you
drive past AWDs capabilities (most likely your over your head then too) and somehow
get those four wheels a-spinning, VDC kicks in via a Traction Control System (TCS) to
apply the brakes to the spinning wheels and, if needed, reduce engine power. Let me say
this - If you get into trouble in the slippery stuff driving this car, your really should
think about moving to Hawaii or Florida. Or just quit driving.
Amazingly, the Outback H6-3.0 VDC is rated at 20 mpg city and 27 highway, compared to
the 4-cylinders rating of 22 city and 27 highway. Howd they do that?
Two of the criticisms Ive read about the Outback H6-3.0 VDC are its styling is
outdated and the price is too high. The styling looks like, well it looks like a Subaru
Outback. I think maybe Subarus onto something because the Outback happens to be the
most popular Subaru (in its wagon and sedan versions) going. As for the pricing, the
argument is that Subarus arent supposed to be expensive. Who the heck knows
what expensive is in this day and age? When people routinely drive around in $35,000
pickup trucks, whats $32,000 for a great, economical car? The Outback H6-3.0 VDC
lists for $31,895. A similar L.L Bean Edition goes for $29,495. There is virtually nothing
extra that you would need to add to it either.
Oh yeah, for all those of you old enough to remember when stereos had tubes, the H6-3.0
VDC is equipped with a 200-watt McIntosh AM/FM/weatherband/cassette/CD. Yes, that
McIntosh. You know, the one the audiophile in the dorm used to have. Nice touch Subaru. By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San
Subaru Home Page
Byline: By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name: The new Outback may be the safest Subaru ever
Topic: The Subaru Outback H6-3.0 VDC
Word Count: 708
Photo Caption: The Subaru Outback H6-3.0 VDC
Photo Credits: Subaru Internet Media
Series #: 2001 - 12
Download the Microsoft Word version here: 2001 Subaru Outback H6-3.0 VDC
Download the original image file here: 2001 Subaru Outback H6-3.0 VDC 44k