The Subaru Outback is a very practical family car with real off-road capability. It may not have the style or flair of rivals, but relies on its rugged high riding off-road appeal.
The Outback is available with one diesel engine and with a choice of three different trim levels. The diesel option is the same smooth but powerful 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo diesel found in the Forester and XV Crossover. It packs 150bhp and a hefty 350Nm of torque. The Outback is also fitted with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system across the range and comes with a choice of a 6-speed manual or Lineartronic automatic gearbox. It performs better overall when mated to the 6-speed manual as the automatic works well, but it can make the Outback feel a little sluggish at times.
On the road the Subaru Outback provides a comfortable ride overall. It’s good in and out of the corners and grips well with reasonable response from the steering. Its slightly elevated ride height of 200mm gives the impression that you are in a 4x4 and that ground clearance and additional rubber mouldings are there for that very reason. This is where the Outback is truly at home. It is brilliant off-road and makes it way up and down slippy inclines and declines tackling rough terrain in its stride.
The Outback comes with a choice of three trim levels to choose from. These are SE, SE Premium and SE Premium EyeSight. The entry level SE trim comes with a huge amount of standard specification that includes automatic headlights with washers, folding electric mirrors, UV protected privacy glass, 17 inch alloy wheels, roof rails, roof spoiler, leather steering wheel and gear knob, electric windows, dual-zone climate control and Subaru Starlink infotainment system. Higher spec models come with the 5 inch full colour LCD screen, a power sliding sunroof and leather seats to name a few.
The Interior layout of the Outback’s cabin is similar to that of its Forester and XV Crossover siblings. While it looks and feels robust and is of strong build quality, it just lacks the flair you get with it competing marques like the Volvo XC60, Mazda CX-5 and Audi A4 Allroad. The materials used feel hard to the touch and are not of the highest quality. There are some nice contrast effects between the piano black inserts and brushed aluminium style trim on the dashboard. Like its siblings, it is ergonomically sound with a focus on function over form.
The Outback is a very safe family car scoring the maximum five star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing. It comes with a large amount of safety equipment that includes anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, seatbelt indicator, front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, brake assist system, brake override, ISO-FIX and a full host of standard and curtain airbags.
The Outback is a very spacious car with an airy interior feel. There is ample space for adults in the front and rear, fitting three adults comfortably across the back seat. There is also good storage about the cabin for general everyday items thanks to deep door pockets, a decent size glovebox and cubby underneath the central armrest. The boot on the Outback is very impressive standing a huge 512 litres of space. The boot lid is large too so the opening is very wide. The rear bench also folds forward in a 60:40 split to open up the full cabin to a cavernous 1848 litres of space, enabling you to load pretty much anything you want.