SUBARU

SUBARU OUTBACK ESTATE 2.5i SE 5dr Lineartronic

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph10.2s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2193 g/km

Subaru's Outback isn't an SUV but offers most of what that class of vehicle provides in a package that's a little more rugged than your average jacked-up large 4x4 estate. After all, its permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system will keep you going long after most other all-wheel drive estates, Crossovers and compact SUVs have waved the white flag. This improved fifth generation design is smarter, safer, cleverer, classier and more more technologically up to date. It might remain a rare choice - but for the right kind of buyer, it's potentially a very good one.

BACK ONCE AGAIN

The Subaru Outback has been thoroughly updated and it now makes more sense than ever. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

Subaru's Outback isn't an SUV but offers most of what that class of vehicle provides in a package that's a little more rugged than your average jacked-up large 4x4 estate. After all, its permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system will keep you going long after most other all-wheel drive estates, Crossovers and compact SUVs have waved the white flag. This improved fifth generation design is smarter, safer, cleverer, classier and more more technologically up to date. It might remain a rare choice - but for the right kind of buyer, it's potentially a very good one.

Background

The Subaru Outback. With a history going all the way back to 1995, it was the original off-road-orientated family estate, with an image that, at the turn of the century, placed it comfortably alongside big Volvos and Land Rovers as a preferred choice for the tweed jacketed country set. In more recent times, it's been a rarer sight on our roads - something Subaru's importers would like to change, with the introduction of a much improved version of the fifth generation design that was originally launched in 2015. Enhancements to this revised model include the standardisation of petrol power, the addition of a new front and side-view camera system and enhancements to the 'EyeSight' camera-driven safety set-up. More importantly, it's all still matched to the same tough, practical 4WD package.

Driving Experience

Subaru doesn't offer its 2.0-litre diesel engine any more - or manual transmission come to that. So Outback customers are limited to a 2.5-litre 175PS four cylinder petrol powerplant mated to a Lineartronic automatic gearbox. Well, when I say 'automatic', it's strictly speaking a seven-step constantly variable transmission with 'virtual' ratios, but you get the idea. There's no clutch pedal. As usual with the brand, the engine up-front is a Boxer unit and due to its size and shape, it's installed lower down and further back than a conventional powerplant for a lower centre of gravity. Boxer technology - with its unique 'punch-counterpunch' rotational cycle - offers smoothness, low vibration and noise, plus excellent accelerator response. The 2.5-litre engine produces 235Nm torque at 4,000rpm. As before, you get a healthy 200mm of ground clearance and Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system features on all models. For better off road traction, the Lineartronic CVT auto gearbox is mated to a centre differential with a viscous limited slip differential. Helping off road is the clever 'X-Mode' set-up, an integrated control system that oversees and co-ordinates the operation of the transmission, the All-Wheel Drive mechanicals and the VDC dynamics control. Press the appropriate dash-mounted button and 'X-Mode' tweaks all of these systems for off road use and adds in Hill Descent Control for steep slopes. The result is a set of off road capabilities not far off those of full-blown SUVs.

Design and Build

The exterior changes made to this revised Outback model are subtle and limited to a minor redesign for the front grille, bumper, door mirrors and headlights. The hexagonal grille redesign showcases a sharper, more defined shape and incorporates the distinctive Subaru wing design, which draws parallels to the horizontally opposed Subaru Boxer engine. If you haven't been in a Subaru for a bit, you'll probably be impressed by the cabin, which is a considerable improvement on previous interiors that the brand has brought us. You still wouldn't mistake the interior for something produced by a premium German brand but the slightly more utilitarian hard-wearing feel is in keeping with this SUV brand. There's one of the best steering wheels in the class and even the touch screen system is easy to operate. The boot measures 559-litres to the tonneau cover, with 1,848-litres available when the seats are folded. That's about the same as, say, a pricier Volvo XC90. We like the little touches too. The memory function for the electrically-powered tailgate so you can set it at a specific height in multi-storey carparks or garages with low ceilings. The tailgate interior grip handle that can act as a hanger rail for things like damp wetsuits. The strengthened cargo hooks that can take up to 50kgs. And the useful foot-step on the rear sills that makes it easier to get up to roof level to oversee transportation of longer or bulkier items around the standard-fit silver roofrails.

Market and Model

Prices start at £30,000 for the base 'SE' model, rising to around £33,000 for the plusher leather-lined 'SE Premium' variant. Both versions come only in 2.5-litre petrol Lineartronic automatic form. The most recent updates include the addition of a new front view camera, which has been positioned below the brand badge on the front grille. This can monitor a 180-degree area in front of the car that would normally be in the driver's blind spot. A furtherl side view camera is mounted at the base of the passenger door mirror. A 'view' switch positioned next to the X-Mode button by the gearstick allows the driver to move between display options on the centre touchscreen. Other more conventional standard kit features include automatic LED headlamps and headlamp washers, cruise control, Active Torque Vectoring, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, electrically-adjustable driver's seat and privacy glass, as well as a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating satellite navigation, audio, smartphone connectivity and a rear view parking camera. Also standard is the camera-based 'EyeSight' safety system, now embellished with 'Lane Keep Assist'. The 'EyeSight' package monitors the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards and includes autonomous Pre-collision Braking Control and Pre-collision Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure & Sway Warning. The Outback has scored a five-star EuroNCAP safety score, so it's hard to put your family in anything much safer.

Cost of Ownership

Subaru owners tend to be a well-informed bunch and they probably won't thank us for letting a few of their secrets out. The big one is residual value. The Outback has long been a big winner in that department and things have only got better in recent years, in the main due to the company's excellent five year, 100,000 mile fully transferable warranty. That means that if you sell the car after, say, three years and 40,000 miles, the new owner gets a two year, 60,000 mile warranty. Try that in a Volvo XC90 and the new owner gets nothing, zilch, zip, nada. The same goes for the poor schlub buying a used Skoda Octavia Scout, Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer or even an Audi A4 Allroad. The 2.5-litre engine manages 38.7mpg on the combined cycle and 166g/km of CO2. You also get a three year recovery and roadside assistance programme you'll almost certainly never need.

Summary

If you really don't want an SUV but really need one, there are plenty of plush jacked-up 4WD estate cars than can claim to offer a realistic alternative. Yet few of them would last long if regularly used up-hill, down-dale on the average rutted farm track. Here's an exception. This fifth generation Outback may not be able to replace a fully-fledged off roader for those living halfway up a mountain peak but for a vehicle of this kind, it really is extraordinarily capable. Previous versions of this model were just as good, but weren't really large or plush enough to compete against the Volvos and Audis that represent this car's most natural competition. That's now changed. Today, the facts are that one of these is more practical than an Audi allroad or Volvo XC90 rival - and at the same time, a lot less expensive, with current asking figures really not very far above the less capable rival models you'd get from mainstream brands like Skoda and Vauxhall. These days, Outback ownership also represents the thinking family's alternative to a RAV4 or CR-V-style soft roading compact SUV. True, there are still more dynamically able models of this kind, with smarter cabins and trendier badges. As an overall package though, this Outback is now a stronger contender than ever before. It's always been the most capable car of its kind when conditions are at their worst, but now it's a much stronger everyday choice too. It deserves its moment in the sun.

  • Intermittent rear wash/wipe
  • Front and rear electric windows
  • Windscreen wiper de-icer
  • UV reducing glass
  • Rain sensor windscreen wipers
  • Heated rear window with timer
  • Rear privacy glass

  • Electronic parking brake
  • Anti-lock Brake System + Electronic Brakeforce Distribution + Emergency Brake Assit
  • Hill descent control
  • Traction control
  • Torque vectoring brake
  • Auto hold function

  • SVDC - Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control

  • Apple car play/Android Auto
  • Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition

  • Lane change assist and blind spot monitor
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • EyeSight driver assist - Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist/sway warning and pre-collision braking
  • Rear view camera
  • Speed sensitive power steering

  • Interior fuel flap release

  • Navigation system
  • Outside temperature gauge
  • Trip computer
  • Service interval indicator
  • Eco gauge
  • Intelligent driver information system (IDIS)

  • Body colour electric heated/adjustable/folding mirrors

  • Radio/single CD player
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • 6 speakers
  • Auxiliary audio input socket
  • USB connection
  • 6.5" touchscreen
  • DAB Digital radio

  • Body colour door handles
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Roof rails
  • Roof spoiler

  • Automatic headlights
  • Pop up headlamp washers
  • Front fog lights
  • LED Headlights
  • Steering responsive headlights
  • High beam assist

  • Dust/pollen filter
  • Rear heater duct
  • Defroster vents for front and side windows
  • Ventilation ducts to rear compartment
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control system

  • Luggage area under floor storage box
  • Rear centre armrest with 2 cupholders
  • Tie down hooks in luggage area
  • Door pockets with bottle holder
  • Paddle shift controls
  • Front centre console with storage/12v power outlet
  • Centre console storage tray
  • Front cupholders
  • Tilt/reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Front centre armrest
  • Retractable luggage cover
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Stainless steel sill covers
  • 4 cargo hooks

  • Front interior welcome light
  • Rear interior welcome light
  • Front map lights
  • Luggage area lamp

  • Front and rear curtain airbags
  • Dual stage Driver/Passenger Airbags
  • Rear child proof door locks
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners + load limiters
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts
  • Passenger knee airbag
  • Driver and passenger seatbelts with warning light
  • Active front headrests
  • Side airbags
  • Height adjustable front seatbelts
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • Tyre pressure monitor
  • Safety pedal system

  • 60/40 split one touch flat folding rear seats
  • Rear head restraints
  • Heated front seats
  • Reclining rear seats
  • Isofix child seat attachment
  • 8 way electric driver seat with lumbar adjustment
  • Height adjustable passenger seat
  • Driver/passenger front seatback pockets

  • Thatcham category 1 alarm + immobiliser
  • Deadlocks
  • Locking wheel nuts
  • Remote central locking
  • Keyless entry and start

  • Illuminated driver/passenger vanity mirror

  • 17" alloy wheels

  • Tyre repair kit

  • Noise Level dB(A): 70.6
  • CO: 0.429
  • HC: 0.023
  • NOx: 0.018
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • CO2 (g/km): 166
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 193

  • Engine Code: FB25
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: FLAT 4
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
  • Compression Ratio: 10.3:1
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 94
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 90
  • CC: 2498

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • EC Urban (mpg): 31.8
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 44.4
  • EC Combined (mpg): 38.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 23.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 34.6
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 39
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 32.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 33
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 11.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 8.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 7.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 8.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 8.6

  • Generation Mark: 6
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Coin Series: SE
  • Coin Description: i
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 12000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: 66000
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: 84
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 85
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 70
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 73
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • Badge Power: 175
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.5
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 17E

  • Engine Power - KW: 129
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 173
  • Engine Torque - NM: 235
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4000
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 10.2
  • Top Speed: 123
  • Engine Power - BHP: 175
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 24

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Tyre Size Front: 225/65 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/65 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

  • Width (including mirrors): 2067
  • Height: N
  • Height (including roof rails): 1605
  • Length: 4820
  • Width: 1840
  • Wheelbase: 2745

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1593
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 60
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 559
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 2000
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Roof Load: 80
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1848
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11

  • Metallic paint: £550
  • Pearlescent paint: Included
  • Special Pearlescent paint: £550

  • Metallic - Storm grey: £550
  • Metallic - Ice silver: £550
  • Metallic - Tungsten: £550
  • Metallic - Magnetite grey: £550

  • Pearl - Crystal white: £0

  • Special pearl - Dark blue: £550

  • Cloth - Black: £0

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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