34 MOTORING REVIEW
By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist | Follow Tim on twitter @carwriteups | www.carwriteups.co.uk
New Subaru Outback The new Subaru Outback is a joy to drive. It has a more premium feel than its predecessor, with soft padding now covering up the slabs of plastic that once festooned the cabin. The car is styled in a masculine way too. Previously it looked a little insipid but now there’s a definite authority about its stance. This is accentuated by Subaru’s signature bonnet scoop, which gives the impression of a car with power under the hood. Also, emphasising the Outback’s sense of toughness and its ability to tackle all roads and conditions, the latest model features body-coloured cladding in place of the previous iteration’s black plastic. The ride is typically Subaru – Velcro-like grip and a slightly cushioned feel thanks to the comfortable seats. In fact, as part of its 2014 upgrade, the car’s handling characteristics have been enhanced with revised suspension components and the latest incarnation of Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). This technology, along with alterations to the front and rear suspension, gives a stable on-road feel. In addition, the Outback fills you with confidence in the wet or the snow – or indeed on anything without a pasting of tar. Subaru’s legendry all-wheel-drive credentials just work – no fuss – no fiddly buttons – the technology simply kicks in whenever you get to slippery terrain. The most significant change for the Outback is the introduction of a new
powertrain pairing. A world first, Subaru engineers have combined the popular 2.0-litre Boxer diesel engine with a Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic gearbox. The result is mixed; the power is there alright, but it’s released in a way that doesn’t really blow you away.
car with more gadgetry to keep it from straying off the road than the average new motor.
The engine steadily cranks up the clout until you’re over the maximum speed limit without even realising it. That’s kind of disappointing, because if I’m going to get a speeding ticket I want to know it was worth it.
The upgraded cabin of the current Outback features clearer and more modern instrumentation. It includes the addition of a liquid crystal instrument cluster display and new materials for a number of dashboard elements. Black metallic panels bring about a more modern and quality appearance and feel, while a power-sliding glass sunroof and UV protected front, side and rear glass also feature.
With the new engine and gearbox combination the fresh Subaru Outback can return an average fuel consumption of up to 44.8 mpg whilst emitting 166g/ km CO2. The figures aren’t astounding, but they’re not bad - especially for a
The car I drove, the Subaru Outback 2.0D Lineartronic SX, has flagship levels of standard equipment inside and out. For the exterior there are new 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, along with bodycoloured power folding door mirrors (with
integrated LED indicator repeaters), and matching colour-coded door handles. Silver roof rails and a roof spoiler are other external accents. What’s more, selflevelling automatic headlamps and rain sensing wipers add extra convenience.
Phew! That’s a lot of car then – and so, when you think about it, £31,495 isn’t really that outrageous a price. Especially when compared with German models of the same ilk. PROS ‘N’ CONS • • • • •
Good-looking √ Ride √ Grip √ MPG could be better X Co2 emissions still need improvement X
FAST FACTS • • • • • • • •
Max speed: 121 mph 0-62 mph: 9.7 secs Combined mpg: 44.8 1998cc 4 cylinder 16 valve Boxer Diesel Max. power (bhp): 148 at 3600 rpm Max. torque (lb/ft): 258 at 1800 rpm CO2: 166 g/km Price: £31,495