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Through the holiday rush with the Subaru Outback

Who needs a sleigh when you have a luxurious wagon?

What better car to do all the holiday errands than the Subaru Outback? PHOTO FROM PATTY MORATO-ROA

What do you get when you cross a family wagon with an SUV? Simple: the Subaru Outback. I had five days to drive one right smack into the chaos of December shopping, parties, and Carmageddon traffic.

My first impression of this driving experience? Let me phrase it like this: “comfort on the inside, adventure on the outside.”

The Outback has a facial recognition system that can be used for many things, like driver preferences and monitoring. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

First off, a brief introduction to the EyeSight system that the Outback is equipped with. Let’s just say that as you are getting to know the car’s features, the car is also going to get to know yours.

The Outback allows several users to input and save their personal specs in terms of seat and side-mirror positioning by way of face recognition.

Once you get in and get comfortable on those Nappa leather seats, the driver seat and the mirrors automatically adjust to exactly the way you like it, every single time, after initial programming.

Think of EyeSight as an extra pair of eyes on the road as you drive around. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

But wait, there’s more. After all, the attached technology isn’t called EyeSight for nothing.

Think of it as someone that’s looking out for you in every direction. Lane-departure alerts and blind-spot monitoring turn on when a vehicle comes too close on either side. I found these to be helpful guides amid the kamote chaos ensuing around me.

The Outback does, in fact, have overflowing safety features to explore, enough for one to pick and choose among those that would suit your driving needs the most.

Lots of space for presents and groceries without eating into the second row. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Christmas shopping and running errands on the first day were made easy by the roomy cabin space that the Outback is universally known for.

In this sleigh, lining up my shopping haul into that spacious 537L cargo bay kept things worry-free and organized, not having to think of whether the contents would break or bend out of shape.

All this without imposing on your passenger legroom and general space. About 40 inches (1,016mm) of headroom provides a more spacious feel for everyone inside. Neither does the space scrimp on the width, being a generally wider car than the usual.

Whether in traffic or on rough roads, the Subaru's ride will prove to be comfortable. PHOTO FROM PATTY MORATO-ROA

The Outback works well in traffic. The auto start-stop feature is available for fuel conservation. A touch of a button will turn this off if you prefer not to use it.

I spent a long first day delivering gifts, and went a bit of the distance. Passing roads of all kinds in this bustling city, one notable attribute is the ride quality.

The Subaru Global Platform provides the Outback an assured, smoother, and quieter ride even on rougher roads. You feel the heft of the frame as opposed to that feeling of being inside a kicked-around can.

The suspension and the 18-inch wheels wrapped in thick 225/60 tires keep you cushioned, and provide more than ample shock absorption. You know it’s a smooth ride when your passengers keep falling asleep in transit.

When the roads open up, the Outback proves to be a confident, powerful cruiser. PHOTO FROM PATTY MORATO-ROA

Chill was the order of the second day as my husband and I dropped off the kids at their taekwondo class. The roomy cabin came in handy once again for all the gear.

The contrast between the hectic day before and this one showcased the car’s versatility from the driving experience during heavy, chaotic traffic to a slower day with lanes wide open.

The author was able to do precise parallel parking with the help of the camera system. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

I was able to take in its family-car appeal better, especially its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. This allows power for all four wheels to assure you of exceptional road traction, aiding stability during acceleration as well as on unpredictable roads and in hazardous weather.

Take your children to the great outdoors and spend time with them, even if in a vehicle. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

The third day was the “Sunroof Appreciation” day for my daughter. This is surely one of the features that kids happen to love.

Other interior features worth noting are the comfortable padded seats, as well as the user-friendly 11.6-inch infotainment that looks just like a large iPad. It’s equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can be assured of compatibility with your smartphones.

There's tech for all generations to appreciate inside. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

It was most appealing to my Gen Z and Gen Alpha children who have absolutely no fears exploring and navigating the large icons, giving you all there is to know about your vehicle.

Although it did not take long for me to get the hang of things, admittedly my Gen X/Millennial self felt a little insecure and intimidated by that touchscreen initially. At least, the excellent Harman Kardon sound system did my Tony Bennett playlist justice.

The Outback's design screams functional luxury. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

How about we appreciate the Outback’s all-around appearance for the fourth day?

In terms of looks, it leans more toward a midsize sporty SUV having all the frills of an adventure car. It boasts 215mm of ground clearance, which is enough to move through rougher terrains outside of the city.

The roof rack can also be easily transformed into crossbars that run the width of the roof instead of its length, to fit the specs of your outdoor equipment or cargo.

The Outback has the perfect combination of practicality, safety, and luxury to be your only family vehicle. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

Taking it through all my shopping, family errands, and duties in the middle of the December holiday rush, I appreciated the comfort and the all-around easy driving.

Because of the Outback’s focus on safety, it could pass for a mom mobile, without having to look like one. On the one hand, the car has some luxurious bells and whistles, but on the other hand, it’s ready to take on some adventure anytime, anywhere.

If given a chance, I would take it around the countryside, but my drive around the city during one of the most congested months of the year, has been two-thumbs-up, especially for the price tag of P2,500,000.

As my experience came to a close, there was only one thing on my mind: “How was this car never on my radar?”

Patty Morato-Roa

Patty had an early career as a TV and print model. She was also immersed in the motoring world at a young age having spent her childhood around annual car shows. She has worked as an editorial assistant, and dabbles in photography as well. She’s a wife of an avid motorcycle rider and a mom of two.