Tag Archive | "Outback"

The Subaru Outback – Sit Back And Enjoy


The Subaru Outback is, essentially, a big, jacked up estate car that seems capable of anything. Take the badges off and the keen-eyed viewer would still say ‘Subaru’. This is a car that wants to be seen as determinedly rugged and outdoorsy and will have no truck (in both senses) with the idea of urban lifestyle.

The surprising thing is the power-train. This is a big, heavy car which you might think would be underpowered with just a 2L four pot Boxer turbo-diesel (148bhp/258lb/ft) mated to Subaru’s own Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). However, throughout the rev-range the Boxer engine delivers immediate, responsive power smoothly, in a refined manner and without effort. Performance is deceptive and this relaxed attitude eventually made itself felt on the way I drove the car.

Kick down hard and, after a moment’s thought, the CVT box downshifts and the big beast takes off up the road; but I only tried this once or twice by way of evaluation because it simply isn’t the way to use the Outback. It is way too laid-back for that. The same goes for the paddles manually operating the seven speed ‘box. You can do it and it works fine, but hey, why bother? Relax.

There is no point in going into the now legendary Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive because basically the same kit is used across the range, with the obvious exception of the BRZ sports car Motor Blogger reported on a while back.

MB11 The Subaru Outback   Sit Back And EnjoyThe chassis settings are quite firm which makes the Outback a little fidgety over some of our more blighted roads (i.e. most of them) but, considering its bulk, roll on corners is apparent but well contained. I did like the steering which I found to be direct and communicative. This is an easy car to drive.

Inside, the Outback is typically unfussy. The dashboard is neat and uncluttered although the screen is way too small for this day and age and, in this model, lacked any navigation. There’s a perfectly adequate reversing camera although, for such a big vehicle, it is easy to park anyway. The seats were fine although I could have used a little more side-bolster support, otherwise the interior is utilitarian with some leather and soft but robust looking plastics. The boot is huge and usefully shaped.

CO² is, for these days, a just about acceptable 166g/km and Subaru reckon that 44mpg is possible. Well yes, maybe, if you drive like a parsimonious bank manager, but in the real world 35mpg plus ought to be achievable. There’s only the one engine available with either the CVT or a manual gearbox. You want the CVT, absolutely.

The Outback certainly has off-road potential with 200mm of ground clearance available. It will certainly see off the pretend off-roaders and most of the suburban 4×4’s on the market on our muddy tracks and trails but if you want something for when the going gets really gnarly then look elsewhere. This updated 2014 car is dependable, a good drive and is really practical. At just shy of £32k for the model tested it’s good value. Highly recommended.

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