Downside: That awfully long name. Jeez!
Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent ride and handling. Acceleration remains something less than thrilling, even with the 250-horsepower Boxer 6-cylinder engine. But it's an acceptable compromise, enough power to do what is needed without being totally outrageous (although I tend to like outrageous behavior in a car).
Head-turning quotient: Attractive, friendly, a credit to the neighborhood.
Body style/layout: Front engine, all-wheel-drive with Subaru's Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) system, which sends drive power from wheel to wheel as needed. There are four side doors with a rear hatch.
Engine/transmission: The Outback 3.0 R/L.L. Bean Edition is equipped with a 3-liter, H-6 engine that develops 250 horsepower at 6,600 revolutions per minute and 219 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 revolutions per minute. The engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.
Capacities: The Outback 3.0 R/L.L. Bean has seating for five people. Cargo capacity is 32.1 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 61.7 cubic feet with that seat folded. Maximum towing capacity, with proper equipment, is 3,000 pounds. The fuel tank holds 16.9 gallons of gasoline. Premium unleaded is required.
Mileage: I averaged 24 miles per gallon, mostly in highway driving.
Safety: Standard anti-lock brakes and head air bags.
Price: The price is derived from Subaru marketing, www.cars.com, www.kbb.com and www.edmunds.com. Essentially, you are looking at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $32,770, including a $575 destination charge. Dealer's invoice is $30,131, including a $575 destination charge. The Outback 3.0 R/L.L. Bean Edition is itself an option. Less expensive Outback 3.0 R-H6 and XT models, among others, are available.
Purse-strings note: Compare with Chrysler Pacifica, Nissan Murano, Volkswagen Passat Wagon. For that matter, compare with any bona fide mid-size SUV or anything that pretends to be a mid-size SUV.