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2001 Subaru H6-3.0 VDC

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SAN FRANCISCO:  Anyone who’s read my columns regularly knows that I really like Subaru’s. 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. I’ll 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 V8’s tied together at the crankshafts). But Subaru has called all their flat, opposed cylinder engines H’s so I’ll give it to them. Then there’s 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. It’s not so much that it’s 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, I’d 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 engine power. 

Subaru’s AWD system is its first line of defense in slippery conditions. If you drive past AWD’s 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. How’d they do that?

Two of the criticisms I’ve 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 Subaru’s 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 Subaru’s aren’t 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, what’s $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 Francisco

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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

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
Division Name:   AutoWire.Net
Company Name:    Leopard Publishing Co.
Postal Address:    P.O. Box 1011
City, State, Zip:    San Mateo, California 94403
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Fax Number:    650-340-9473

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2001 - AutoWire.Net - All Rights Reserved Web Editor - Tony Leopardo

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