Outback 2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic
Spreadsheet Phil, the
Outback is ready for anything
in the city or out in the boondocks,
you can trust Subarus
drive crossover estate to see you
BULLET-PROOF IS A WORD you'll hear often from Outback owners. And as
most owners hang on to them for years, they should know. Its not just longevity
they're referring to but how it takes on the world every single day as
its 'Outback' name implies, it will tackle just about most things you throw
at it, from gnarly blacktop to flooded roads, muddy fields to rock-strewn mountain
passes. Whatever, the Outback just gets on with it.
Looks-wise it's an engaging blend of estate and SUV with a substantial 'hewn
from rock' air. An impression strengthened by the brawny hexagonal grille that,
flanked by 'hawk-eye' LED headlights, sits boldly above a full-width lower protective
moulding incorporating circular fog lights. #Seen from the side, wheelarch-filling
alloys underscore the Outback's all-road ground clearance; the rear flanks taper
off in a rakish tail treatment that's subtly emphasised by quality-look chrome
detailing around the swept-back glasshouse. The acid test? Park alongside a
prestige-branded equivalent that costs perhaps £10K more and the Subaru looks
every bit as good.
latest Outback impresses on the inside too with a smartly trimmed cabin with
big, well-padded, heated leather seats that look particularly inviting; settle
in one and you'll quickly find it is. Shut the door and there's a satisfying
well-engineered 'thunk' as it closes first pull. Each front passenger 'zone'
offers plenty of space around shoulders, elbows and legs, and there's a sociable
distance between the front passengers.
any help from
a turbocharger, the
2.5-litre Boxer unit
punches out 172bhp
backed by a healthy
Partnered by a clean-
shifting Lineartronic CVT
it makes for unruffled
youre fighting you way
through rush-hour traffic
or pootling along
open roads on a weekend
The driver sits high SUV-like in an eight-way powered
chair with powered lumbar support, and it takes but seconds to set a perfect
driving position that provides a fine view over and to both sides of the bonnet
to the road ahead. Views through the back screen are equally clear while large
side windows keep the cabin light and airy. Once set, a two-setting memory recall
ensures you don't have to do it all again even if you share the driving.
The three-spoke multifunction wheel comes with a meaty leather-wrapped rim that's
feels particularly good in your hands. Paddle-shifters on the wheel make taking
full control of the auto's gear changing a no-brainer. In 'dash central', pride
of place goes to the large (eight-inch) hi-res touchscreen, set in a silver-edged
glossy black panel that's home to the infotainment and navigation system and
which offers the same touchscreen functionality as a smartphone, such as swiping
and pinching-in and out to control the zoom on map displays.
The screen is positioned high in the centre stack, where it's easily seen from
the driver's seat. The SatNav is brilliant: the 3D mapping is well supported
by timely and foolproof spoken directions, and there are equally good graphic
prompts in the driver's display. The rest of the switchgear is logically arranged,
and Sport and Intelligent driving modes are selected from the steering wheel.
While there's a keyless Start button for the engine and electric parking brake,
Subaru have, thankfully, stuck with tradition when it comes to the dual-zone
climate control system, providing time-honoured knurled rotary knobs and buttons
for heating and ventilation so much easier and far less distracting
than jabbing at a screen on the move. Voice control (just press the appropriate
button on the steering wheel then speak) enables you to verbally choose your
favourite music, set a new destination or change the settings of the climate
is taken care of by a six-speaker audio system with CD player, Bluetooth music
streaming, and a DAB radio; pairing up smartphones and tablets is straightforward
using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Outbacks all-roads and
all-weather confidence is
Subarus EyeSight driver
assistance suite an
avoidance system that
active lane keeping, and
adaptive cruise control.
Acting as a second pair
of eyes it uses stereo
colour camera technology
to monitor the road
ahead for vehicles,
cyclists, pedestrians and
information is comprehensive and easy to take in with hi-vis blue-highlighted
speedo and rev-counter dials that are restful, each set in individual nacelles
either side of a LCD display for everything from trip info and safety alerts
to a digital speed readout and the posted speed limit. Good, also, to see the
hazard warning button top dead centre of the fascia more carmakers should
storage is generous with big bottle-holding door bins, siamesed cupholders (with
a removable divider should you prefer to use it as a deep tray), a large deep
storage bin under the armrest between the front seats, a wide glovebox, and
a big lidded 'cave' at the base of the centre stack with dual USB ports, aux-in
jack and 12-volt power output.
Kit-wise the Outback is well specced in addition to many items mentioned
elsewhere there's also keyless entry, exit and push-button start, powered sunroof
with blackout blind, tinted windows with UV protection, powerfolding heated
door mirrors, multi-view camera system, auto lights and wipers, electric windows,
drive-off door locking, tyre pressure monitoring, LED headlamps with washers,
windscreen wiper de-icer, a five-star EuroNCAP rating, front, side and curtain
airbags plus a driver's knee airbag (the front seat airbag automatically deactivates
when it detects a child seat), roof rails, and 18-inch alloys.
The Outback's 4.9m long, 1.8m wide and 1.6m high boundaries enclose an indulgent
amount of inner space, especially in the lounge-like rear cabin where there's
masses of room for three adults with decent knee-, leg- and foot-room in comfortable
seats. Your rear passengers also get a full fist of headroom. Nice, too, is
the wide, well-padded central armrest and long padded outer armrests along with
real-world size bottle-holding door bins, dedicated air vents, a pair of USB
ports, and deep, long side windows, all of which help make the rear cabin a
very relaxing place in which to cover the miles.
Subaru uses 'Boxer' engines in its Outback which, being horizontally-opposed
four-cylinder units, can be mounted lower in the engine bay this contributes
to a lower centre of gravity and benefits handling; it's also good for safety
because in a severe frontal accident it's designed to slide harmlessly beneath
the passenger compartment.
aside, the 2.5-litre Boxer unit is normally aspirated and, without any help
from a turbocharger, punches out 172bhp backed by a healthy 173lb ft. Partnered
by a clean-shifting and responsive Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission,
it makes for unruffled progress whether you're fighting you way through rush-hour
traffic or pootling along open roads on a weekend break. Whatever your pace,
the Outback serves up refreshingly de-stressed journeys.
from full-on cargo-
carrying workhorse to
off-road capable family
holdall, you might be
surprised at how well the
Outback rides which
is, in a word, soothingly.
The damping has been
improved and not much
underfoot seems to
Of course, it helps that
its handling is composed
and sure-footed, which in
turn keeps passengers
benefit of the 'flat' Boxer arrangement is the 'punch and counterpunch' (hence
the 'Boxer' tag) action of the horizontally-opposed pistons which makes for
a smoother-running powerplant. The Outback is a big 4x4 crossover estate but
the power flow feels eager, particularly during mid-range acceleration. Off
the line to 62mph is done and dusted in 10.2 seconds and top speed is a realistic
Officially the Combined Cycle consumption is 38.7mpg. Regular visitors know
that MotorBar's testers don't try to eke out the fuel but only so our
figures are real-world representative and a hard week's driving saw this
large, all-wheel drive, CVT-autoboxed crossover return a very convincing 36.7mpg.
to all four wheels is though Subaru's permanent, symmetrical all-wheel-drive
system it's active at all times so traction and grip are not only impressive
but always there when needed. And that's good news for handling, whatever the
prevailing road conditions, especially when asked to change direction quickly.
Body control is good and the independent suspension agreeably fettled, plus
there's active torque vectoring to reduce understeer and oversteer and deliver
a neutral line through corners. Taken together, these 'assists' endow this crossover
family wagon with a very reassuring sure-footedness.
Further boosting the Outback's all-roads and all-weather confidence is Subaru's
Eyesight driver assistance suite an advanced collision-avoidance system
that incorporates six features including autonomous emergency braking, active
lane keeping, and adaptive cruise control. Acting as a 'second pair of eyes'
it uses stereo colour camera technology to monitor the road ahead for vehicles,
cyclists, pedestrians and other potential hazards.
to the Outback's safety tally is Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert,
High Beam Assist, and 'bending' headlights to boost night-time visibility. Cameras
are also mounted at the front, sides and tail for increased all-round visibility;
you can cycle through the various views using a button by the gear selector.
full-time all-wheel drive, 200mm of ground clearance, rough-road friendly approach,
breakover and departure angles, and short overhangs, the Outback is perfectly
at home in the 'outback'. Press the all-terrain X-Mode button and, regardless
of your driving skills-set, you'll be safer on slippery surfaces and steep inclines,
both on tarmac and off-road.
credentials is a cargo bay
that will swallow 1,848
litres when the
60:40-split rear seatbacks
are folded down.
easier thanks to a fast-
moving powered tailgate
operated by either the
key, a button in the
cabin, or on the tailgate
itself. Open, theres
wide aperture, lip-free
seamless loadbay floor,
and handy release levers
to flip down the back
seats without having to
open the rear doors...
simultaneously manages the engine, transmission, all-wheel drive system, and
the Vehicle Dynamics Control (Subaru's electronic stability control system),
and also incorporates Hill Descent Control to ensure your speed remains constant
when driving down steep, tricksy slopes. Handy, too, is the 180-degree front
camera that displays on-screen images of the area in the driver's blind spot
ahead of the car while it's perfect for avoiding obstacles off-road,
it's equally useful when parking at Sainsbug's.
Given it's size and multi-role character, from full-on cargo-carrying workhorse
to off-road capable family holdall, you might be surprised at how well the Outback
rides which is, in a word, soothingly. The damping has been improved
and not much underfoot seems to unsettle it. Of course, it helps that its handling
is composed and sure-footed, which in turn keeps passengers nicely cosseted.
Confirming the Outback's load-lugging credentials is a cargo bay that will swallow
1,848 litres when the 60:40-split rear seatbacks are folded down. Loading couldn't
be easier thanks to a fast-moving powered tailgate operated by either the key,
a button in the cabin, or on the tailgate itself. Open, there's a wide aperture,
a lip-free seamless loadbay floor, and handy release levers to flip down the
back seats without having to open the rear doors.
The tailgate also has a useful memory function, allowing it to open to a set
height; for example, in a low garage or when long items are carried on the roof
and overhang. Nice to know, too, that it will re-open automatically should it
detect something in the way, such as misplaced hand or paw!
With the rear seats in use there's still 559 litres. An easily removed dimpled
rubber boot liner will come in handy after that doggie walk in the woods. Out
in the sticks mud-caked Outbacks are regularly seen towing horse boxes and the
like no surprise as it'll tow anything up to a braked 2,000kg, which
gives you plenty of scope.
Trustworthy and über-practical, with the ability to get you through whatever
the weather, Subaru's 'go-anywhere-anytime' all-wheel drive on/off road estate
crossover is a serious alternative to the sport utility vehicles blanketing
our roads. And with a well-earned 'rep' for toughness backed by a five-year/100,000-miles
warranty, it's built to last. ~ MotorBar
Subaru Outback 2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic
Maximum speed: 123mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Test Average: 36.7mpg
Power: 172bhp | Torque: 173lb ft | CO2: 166g/km