A vehicle for all seasons

Words by:
Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in:
May 2017

Launched in Britain in 1995 and breeding a new class of vehicle, the Subaru Outback was the planet’s first crossover vehicle, successfully merging the advantages of an estate car with the all-road aptitudes of an SUV.
For over twenty years the Outback has acted as the Japanese automaker’s leading model in Britain, being applauded for its useful all-road character and cruising capabilities.

The latest generation Subaru Outback has seen changes to its styling and interior quality. But the comprehensive upgrade of the model also brings with it the addition of a more alert steering rack, better dampers and suspension geometry, and a new multimedia system.

As well as all this, the Subaru employs collision avoidance tech, contributing to the Outback’s top five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety score.

There are two engines available. There’s a choice between a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, producing 150 PS, or a 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol, with a power output of 175 PS. The latter is the version I drove, and it comes exclusively with a Lineartronic automatic transmission.

To ensure best-in-class on-road handling, the Outback is fitted with Active Torque Vectoring – effectively braking the inside wheels under cornering, subduing understeer and oversteer, and allowing a more foreseeable course through the twisty bits. The Outback is also very capable off the beaten track, especially with the addition of a recently introduced X-Mode control feature on the Lineartronic model.

Standard across the line-up, that now just consists of a single SE Premium trim level, are 17in alloy wheels, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, keyless entry, sat nav, leather upholstery, rear-view camera and cruise control. A decent catalogue of kit.

There’s room for up to five in this car and the Subaru offers a superbly comfortable drive and a load space, with the rear seats folded, of 1,848 litres.

The new ride is the most noticeable difference to the Subaru Outback of today. Body float has been almost eradicated, and damping is enhanced, all adding up to a significant improvement over the former model.

Price: £32,995.

2.5i SE Premium tested.

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