Subaru’s Outback Sport wagon – much improved soft offroader
I’ve always had a liking for Subaru’s Outback AWD wagon, now in its 25th year, a high-riding wagon it’s a great compromise, more car like to a hard nosed 4WD but with good ground clearance able to go off the beaten track. Interestingly, year to date its our No.2 selling large 4WD behind Toyota’s Prado. Now in new refined three-model range with more interior room and a lot more active safety – now just four-cylinder, a 90 percent new direct injection engine with slightly more power and torque and a much improved CVT automatic. I drove the mid-spec Outback AWD Sport at $44,490 and the top-spec AWD Touring $47,790. The Outback Sport really appealed – with black accentuated wheel arch trims, roof rails and alloy wheels plus rugged go-anywhere looks.
On the open road the new four-cylinder lacks a little punch and I miss the drive-ability, smoothness and pick-up of the superseded 3.6-litre six-cylinder however the revised CVT transmission with sharper pickup to some extent masks the lack of engine performance. The suspension generally well-tuned with ride leaning more on the supple side. I can understand why this sixth-generation Outback has taken off – it’s a great all-rounder for a small family that likes to explore off road on weekends yet is still a relatively nimble vehicle choice for the day to day family chores with excellent fuel economy.
I’m David Berthon
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