6 best bits: West to Westcliffe and my week driving a 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

The town of Westcliffe is one of my favorite spots in Colorado. My mom had property outside of town for quite a few years, and my husband and I used to take our daughters camping there a few times each summer for several summers in a row. Some of our most memorable family fun took place in Westcliffe, with the Sangre de Cristo mountain range providing a spectacular backdrop.

Though our favorite camping spot was sold many years ago, my family and I still enjoy the scenic trip west to the tiny town—where my dad now lives. Coming around the curve just before town and seeing the Sangres spread out before us never fails to take our breath away.

subaru outback sangre de cristos

The trip to Westcliffe, with its steep grades and twisty-turny pass through the San Isabel Forest, seemed the perfect way to test out the 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited I had the privilege of reviewing. So my husband and youngest daughter, Andrea, hopped in the Outback with me and we headed west.

Andrea offered to document the adventure with photos taken from the comfy backseat. Along the way, she photographed the young bighorn sheep and herds of deer we passed:

bighorn sheep and deer 

And she shot pics as we got closer and closer to Westcliffe, nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo range:

westcliffe and subaru outback 

More importantly, my darling backseat photographer also documented my maneuvering the sleek and sturdy Subaru back home again through the wending—and wonder-filled—mountain pass.

san isabel forest 

What did I learn about the attractive—Twilight Blue Metallic—vehicle on the trip to and from Westcliffe as well as the other six days I had it for testing? Well, in addition to deciding right off the bat that the Subaru looks fabulous in my driveway and should reside there on a permanent basis...

2015 subaru outback 

...I learned these six best bits of awesomeness:

You can't feel the the 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited shift. I honestly never really thought about such a thing—until realizing the Subaru effortlessly shifted gears with nary a sound or strain. Regardless of the terrain. It climbed up and down the grades on the trip to Westcliffe and did the very same on two trips I made in it to Denver and back. There's one particular spot as I leave Denver, a pretty hefty climb, that I always urge my own little car on with a "Come on, little guy." The Subaru needed no urging, and that pleased me to no end.

Impressive crash test ratings and safety features ease my mind. I'm a bit of a worrywart. Worrying about car accidents that might injure my loved ones or myself clog up my noggin' at times. No worrying with the 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited. Safety features include the Subaru advanced front air bag system, side curtain and seat side impact air bags and front seat cushion airbags. There's three-point seatbelts and the LATCH system for kiddo carseats. Plus, the EyeSight Driver-Assist System (pre-collision braking system, lane departure warning and pre-collision throttle management system) helps prevent the need for those airbags to pop open anyway. The overall vehicle score for safety is five stars out of five possible.

2015 subaru outback

The rear-vision camera made me happy. Yep, it's easy to see backing up with the Subaru. No craning my neck and struggling to see over seats and backseat passengers when I'm moving in reverse.

The power moonroof made me happy, too. (Top right in the photos below) So cool day or night, long trips or short.

2015 Subaru outback 3.6R

Another smile-inducing feature: Power reargate with memory. (Bottom right in photo above) Heavenly for loading and unloading groceries. (And dogs for visiting the vet, if the Subaru were my own.)

There's no end to the awesome. Other great bits range from the PIN access feature on the key fob to the heated front and rear seats (heated mirrors and wipers, too) to the Navigation Infotainment System, leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, and so much more.

I had a difficult time saying goodbye to the 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited. I love the vehicle and wish it were my own. I'm doubling up on my Publisher's Clearinghouse entries in hopes I may one day be able to get one of my own. Jim's doubling up on lottery ticket purchases, too, as he feels the same way (and he didn't even get to drive this one!).

The 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited gets 22 MPG combined city/highway driving. The MSRP is $32,995 though the extras on my beloved test vehicle brought the total to $36,907. Find out more at Subaru.com.

Disclosure: I received a free test drive of this vehicle; opinions are my own.