Looking out into the Atlantic, another iceberg lazily floats by as the humpback whales are out and breathing. I could get used to this, along with the companionship of the 2015 Subaru Outback…
St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Atop Signal Hill is an arrow that points westward.
It reads “Vancouver, 5,031 km/3,126 mi.”
So, I’m a long way from home.
But as I look over the rock wall of the historical landmark in St. John’s, I don’t feel so far away. An iceberg presents itself in the distance as the warm, morning sun lights up the Atlantic Ocean. The faint hum of a vessel’s engine drones away in the background.
To think, on December 12, 1901, the first transatlantic wireless signal was received by Guglielmo Marconi at that spot is a fascinating piece of history. Interestingly, my phone whistles telling me I’ve received a message.
As I walk towards the all-new 2015 Subaru Outback, I realize that this vehicle is also making its own little history. Touted as the world’s first sport utility wagon, it’s now 20 years old and better than ever.
There’s an all-new exterior look, the interior is much more refined, there’s a vibrant gauge cluster, a new audio system, and around back, there’s a total of 1005L of cargo capacity (that’s up 33L from the 2014 model.)
There’s also a choice of two engines, a humble 2.5L, 4-cylinder with 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, or a more potent 3.6L, 6-cylinder with 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque.
The latter of the two engines is what powered me around “The Rock” – not to be confused with Dwayne Johnson, the actor and former WWE star – but Newfoundland.
With only a couple of days to figure out some adventures, time would be tight, but I’d enjoy each minute of it.
Complete with a high-torque Lineartronic CVT, I had the option to up and downshift through the Outback’s simulated gears, in case I needed to pass cars en route to my various adventures.
First: sea kayaking in Cape Broyle. Though the drive from downtown St. John’s is only about 66 kilometres, I’ve learned that giving yourself a little extra time when going anywhere is a good idea.
Let’s just say the city wasn’t built on a grid so it’s not always a straight shot getting out. And even though you’re on roadways, they’re not highways. Furthermore, not everyone was on such a tight time budget as I was!
That said, when I was happily soaking in the surroundings, I did so in peace and quiet.
It’s amazing how serene the cabin remains even at highway speeds, with the wind blowing furiously.
Furthermore, the Outback has incredible off road capabilities, in case I needed to get to some hard to reach spots. With a ground clearance of 220mm – like the Forester and XV Crosstrek – it can tackle the trails without even breaking a sweat. Thanks to the X-Mode feature, it allows for even more traction in high-slip environments. This all-wheel drive vehicle is just as happy being on the road as it is playing in the puddles, mud or climbing rocks.
Another adventure that wasn’t as physically demanding took me to Ferryland. Established in 1621, this community south of St. John’s rests quaintly on the coast. While many clusters of homes do too, this one is particularly magical.
After parking, it’s about a one-kilometre walk until you reach a lighthouse. Not just any lighthouse, but one that serves picnic lunches so you and your loved ones can enjoy a meal while sitting on blankets, partaking of a sandwich prepared on freshly-baked bread, sipping homemade lemonade and breathing in the natural beauty of the open ocean.
Onto a higher paced adventure – sort of – was a stop in Brigus.
One particular bridge was on my mind. The one that competitors in the Targa Newfoundland race fly over. The sign says 10 km/h. That’s not the case when drivers are blasting through the tiny waterfront community. But I wanted to be a part of the fun, even if I was at a complete standstill on the crossing.
A trip to Newfoundland wouldn’t be complete without at trip to Cape Spear; Canada’s easternmost point. Looking out into the Atlantic, another iceberg lazily floats by as the humpback whales are out and breathing. A cool ocean breeze blows the salty air around.
I could get used to this, along with the companionship of the 2015 Subaru Outback.
The 2015 Subaru Outback has a starting MSRP of $27,995.
Visit www.subaru.ca for more information