SISTERS, OR – This charmingly artsy town of 2,200 people, named for three mountains within clear view, is the ideal place for Subaru to market its vehicles, nearly all of them coming standard with all-wheel drive.

So how does Subaru do in this ruggedly remote part of the Pacific Northwest?

The question is quickly answered from any street corner, where at least one Subaru of any age will be spotted. It’s shocking to find out residents here travel a half-hour (in good weather) to the nearest Subaru showroom.

Welcome to Subie Land, the perfect place to stop for a robust and fragrant cup of coffee while test-driving the new fifth-generation Outback CUV.

How popular is this ute named for Australian vastness? In 2013, at the end of its lifecycle, the fourth-generation model nearly outpaced the all-new Forester for the brand’s U.S. sales crown (118,049 deliveries).

In context of WardsAuto’s Midsize CUV segment, the previous Outback continued playing with high-volume brands in 2013, closely trailing the Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Rogue and outselling the Dodge Journey, Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Toyota Venza and GMC Terrain.

Subaru, the quirky niche brand? Think again, at least in this vehicle sector.

The new Outback will not disappoint legions of Subaru loyalists. It comes with two capable engines, smooth and efficient CVTs, appealing but evolutionary design and a clean, roomy and stylish interior with a completely redesigned and user-friendly telematics interface that addresses a disappointing shortfall of recent Subarus.