Subaru Outback 2.5i-T ES Touring CVT


Car reviewed: Subaru Outback 2.5i-T ES Touring CVT

0-62 mph: 10.2 secs

Fuel economy: 32.8 mpg (WLTP)

Engine layout: 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol

Price as tested: £42,490

Words by:
Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in:
September 2023

We’re embarking on a wild ride with Tim Barnes-Clay through the rugged terrain of the Outback crossover.

A testament to Subaru’s commitment to creating a vehicle that’s as adventurous as it is practical, the Outback is quite intriguing.

In Touring trim level, it’s the pinnacle of the range, a veritable treasure trove of features that make it a standout performer.

It’s an all-wheel drive, off-road-capable estate that’s been given a generous helping of Subaru’s magic potion.

The exterior is adorned with dark grey metallic 18-inch alloy wheels, LED steering responsive headlights with washers, chrome door mirrors and an electric sunroof that lets you soak up the sun or gaze at the stars.

Both front and rear seats are heated, and it also comes with SatNav, DAB radio, voice recognition, keyless entry and a push-to-start button.

Under the bonnet, the Outback accommodates a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol Boxer engine that pumps out a respectable 169PS.

It also features a Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), which offers a jerk-free driving experience.

The Outback is a sight to behold, with muscular lines and rugged design giving it a robust look, like a mountain goat ready to conquer any terrain.

The Crystal White Pearl paint job is the default choice, but if you’re feeling adventurous, Crystal Black Silica, Autumn Green Metallic or Sapphire Blue Pearl are among seven other options to make your Outback stand out.

It’s not the best-looking car in the world, and, on that note, it’s about as much a performer as it is a looker.
The engine performance could be better, considering it’s a 2.5-litre, though it’s reasonably adequate for most driving situations.

The gearbox can feel sluggish during hard acceleration, a common trait of this type of transmission, which features one flexible gear rather than a set of pre-determined gear ratios.

The handling is reasonably precise, though, and the ride comfort feels plush. It also features X-Mode, which optimises the engine, transmission, and other systems to improve traction and performance on slippery surfaces, which is handy for tackling rougher terrain.

Inside, the Outback is a blend of off-road charm and everyday practicality. The Java Brown Nappa leather interior is standard on the top-of-the-range Touring and gives the cabin a premium feel. At the same time, the high-quality materials and attention to detail are evident throughout.

The infotainment system is an 11.6-inch touchscreen that’s reasonably easy to use and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Meanwhile, an eleven-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, complete with a subwoofer, will keep your journey loud.

Practicality is a strong suit of the Outback, too, offering seating for five, with plenty of headroom and legroom for all passengers. The boot space is generous, too, offering 561 litres with the rear seats up and 1,750 litres with them folded down.

Fuel economy isn’t a particularly strong suit for a sub-200PS car, though, returning just 32.8mpg while emitting 193g/km of CO2.

Safety is a priority for Subaru, and the Outback is no exception. The Outback was tested by Euro NCAP in 2021, scoring 88% for adults, 89% for children and a mightily impressive 95% for safety assists. It comes with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology as standard, encompassing adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, and lane keep assist.

Overall, the Subaru Outback is adept at balancing adventure and practicality. It’s a car that can tackle a muddy trail and then comfortably ferry your family around town, offering a compelling choice for anyone seeking a rugged estate that provides plenty of practicality.

If you’re in the market for a car that’s safe, capable on the rough stuff and ticks plenty of other boxes, the Outback deserves a place on your shortlist.

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