2001 Subaru Outback LL-Bean Edition Road Test

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Subaru, as anyone in the Northeast is aware, is the top-selling all-wheel-drive manufacturer. Since all Subarus are all-wheel-drive, everyone adds to the company’s reputation. They have proven to be reliable forms of transportation for people whose jobs require them to be out in all kinds of weather. I had a sports editor once who simply had to be at the paper at 5:00 a.m. His vehicle of choice was a Subaru wagon and it served him until the paper died. 

For 2001, Subaru has two innovations. One is a new six-cylinder engine. This3.0-liter unit is horizontally opposed, as are the Subaru fours and the Porschesix, and delivers 212 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. It’s not only one of the more powerful sixes in the industry, it is also physically flat, which means a lower profile and keeps a large portion of weight lower in the chassis, adding to the handling ability. 

Subaru puts this engine into two Outback models, the Outback H6 3.0 VDC and the H6 3.0 L.L. Bean Edition. Our tester was the L.L. Bean Edition. So naturally, we’ll tell you first about the VDC. 

VDC is Subaru-speak for Vehicle Dynamics Control, a stability system with all-wheel, all-speed traction control. The vehicle uses Variable TorqueDistribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive and is the most advanced all-wheel-drive system that /Subaru has ever offered in the United States. 


The new VTD automatic transmission uses an electronically controlled hydraulic transfer clutch that works with a planetary gear-type center differential to control power distribution between the front and rear wheels. In steady-state driving, the power is split 45 percent front and 55 percent rear.

The VDC system monitors vehicle stability by measuring steering angle, yaw-rate, and individual wheel speed. Using that input data, VDC can tell whether the car is going where the driver is steering it, detecting and correcting understeer (front-wheel drift) and oversteer (rear-wheel drift). Under certain oversteer conditions, VDC can direct the all-wheel-drive system to transfer more power to the front wheels. 

Category:$25,000 to $35,000 All-Wheel Drive Wagon
Who should buy this car:A person looking for a solid, reliable wagon with off-road capabilities 
Comparable models in this class:Audi A4 1.8T Avant Quattro, BMW 325xi AWD, Volvo V70 XC, 

The L.L. bean edition incorporates the H-6 engine but not the VDC or VTDsystems. But the vehicle does mark the start of a multi-year strategic marketing partnership between Subaru and L.L. Bean that makes Subaru the official car of L.L. Bean and L.L. Bean the official outfitter of Subaru. As such the L.L.Bean Edition has two-tone beige/brown leather-trimmed seats embossed with theL.L. Bean insignia, an “L.L. Bean” badge on each front fender and floor mats with the Bean logo. The Edition also uses a Momo-designed mahogany wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel that had a great feel to it.

Driving the L.L. Bean Edition is akin to driving the Outbacks, with the exception of the H-6 engine. Six cylinders and 212 horses make the new Outback a potent force on the highway. For example, the new Outback has more power than an Audi A4 2.8T Avant, the VW Passat wagon or the Volvo V70 Cross Country. Subarus have never had an enviable reputation for power, but with the new H-6, the Subaru can compete with any of the more vaunted manufacturers. 

We had enough power to catch up with and stay with any other vehicles on the highway. We could accelerate off entry ramps easily, with none of the panic that we weren’t going to make it into the flow of traffic before that big Macklooming in our rearview mirror crushed us. 

Yet the H-6 is an inherently smooth design. Unlike some fours, for example, there was no buzz or excessive noise when we asked for more power. The SubaruOutback is, of course, a street-friendly off-road capable vehicle. With four-wheel drive, it is capable of almost anything the off-road can throw at it, but it’s still basically a station wagon at heart. Ground clearance is 7.3inches to allow for off-road use, but that doesn’t make the Outback look ungainly.

And it is a station wagon, don’t forget. With the rear seat up there are 34.3cubic feet of cargo space; with the rear seats down that number increases to68.6 cubic feet. The maximum floor length with the seats up is 43.5 inches; down its 74.9 inches. So you can do some serious carrying and hauling with this vehicle if you want. 

Subaru discovered its market niche a few years ago and has been faithful to that niche ever since. All its vehicles are all-wheel drive–sedans, wagons, Outbacks and Foresters — and all offer decent performance. With the new H-6engine though, performance is no longer a stranger to Subaru wagons. 

People may start thinking of Subaru in a new light.


Engine Type3.0 liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder, 24-valve with dual overhead camshaft design (DOHC)
Horsepower212 @ 6000 RPM
Torque210 @ 4400 RPM
Transmission4-speed electronically-controlled automatic with overdrive. 
Tires225/60R16 97H mud-and-snow-type radials with raised white letters
Overall Length187.4″
Turning Diameter36.7 ft Curb to Curb
Ground Clearance7.3″
Curb Weight3775
Fuel Tank16.9 Gals.
Miles Per GallonEPA city 20, hwy 27. 
Acceleration 0 to 608.9 Seconds
As-Tested Sticker Price$29,495 

2001 Subaru Outback LL-Bean Edition All Wheel Drive Wagon

Standard Equipment

Major Available Options


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