My wife’s family lives in Boise, Idaho, and we live in Santa Barbara, California – a little less than 1,000 miles apart. We could have flown, but we wanted to take our dog with us as well as some stuff that needed moving. My wife flew there and back, while my two sons, our dog, and I decided to take a road trip – making the journey part of the vacation.
Work schedules meant we could not leave until 7:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. We decided to drive nonstop to Reno, a nine-hour drive. There’s something satisfying about driving on almost-empty urban freeways around San Francisco in the middle of the night. It helps to be in a comfortable car with good headlights.
Oh, and a smooth ride, so we could take turns napping and driving. My older son loved the reclining backseat – it seemed as if he spent most of the time asleep, as did the dog!
We arrived safely in Reno, proving that it’s possible to sit comfortably in an Outback for nine hours with just a couple of short breaks for the dog to stretch her legs. We only had to fill up with gas once, since the Outback holds 18.5 gallons. That gave us a potential range of 480 miles between fill-ups.
The next day was a more leisurely drive through northern Nevada, eastern Oregon, and into Idaho. The two-lane highway gave us a good opportunity to experience the good mid-range torque when we passed slower-moving vehicles.
The 2013 Outback we were driving was a Brilliant Brown Pearl 2013 Outback 2.5i Limited with a Lineartronic® CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Initially, the sensation of a CVT “shifting” can be a little disconcerting to anyone, like myself, who normally drives a 2000 Outback with a manual transmission. When you push the gas pedal hard to get maximum acceleration, the engine revs increase, yet the car does not seem to initially go any faster.
However, once I got used to the sensation, I hardly noticed it, and it is better than the CVT in many other cars I’ve driven in the past. The CVT’s advantages are far smoother shifting and better overall fuel consumption than what can be achieved in my Outback with a manual transmission.
Of course, there is the option of using the paddle shifters to put the car in a “fixed” gear, which I did on occasion, although it is not really necessary.
We arrived in Boise just as the sun was setting, which gave a nice glow to the dome on the Capitol building as we drove by. We saw hundreds of Subaru vehicles while in Boise – it’s definitely Subaru country.
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