SUBARU claim that when their flagship Outback was first launched way back in 1995 it was the world’s first crossover by successfully combining the benefits of a passenger estate car with the all road capabilities of an SUV writes Bryan Longworth.
Since then Subaru has become an established and respected manufacturer of four wheel drive vehicles and the fifth generation Outback is set to further enhance this reputation for the Japanese company.
Subaru vehicles have been on sale in the UK for nearly 40 years well before the Outback was launched here and I clearly remember going to their UK launch on a Pennine farm and being impressed by their off-road ability in particular.
At that time it was unusual for such a company to have a range of cars with four wheel drive for Land Rover vehicles then dominated the 4x4 motoring world but I recall that journalists testing those early Subarus were amazed at their off-road ability.
The company became established as their reputation was enhanced with their impressive range of cars and I knew of a prominent aristocrat who had a Subaru and regularly drove it on her estate checking the large flocks of sheep grazing in the surrounding fields.
The new Outback which starts at £27,995 on the road has distinctive styling that maintains the Outback identity with a significantly upgraded cabin with manual and automatic transmission and more economical Boxer diesel and petrol engines plus improved ride and handling and a raft of new safety technology.
There is now more cabin and storage space with greater space for all occupants with the boot space being increased to 559 litres with a powered tailgate making the vehicle more user friendly while a new side sill footstep makes for easier access.
Also new to the latest model is Subaru’s advanced collision avoidance technology which uses a stereo colour camera to monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards which is a first in the UK and Europe and which contributed to the Outback’s maximum five star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating.
There are two trim levels SE and SE Premium with SE models having automtic LED headlamps, heated front seats, seven inch touch screen infotainment system including sat nav and the SE Premium adds a sunroof, keyless entry, 18-inch alloys and leather seats.
The new frontal styling has given Outback a more impressive appearance that should create considerable impact especially among rural admirers who appreciate the all weather qualities of Subaru probably more than potential urban motorists.
New Outback is up against some premium class rivals particularly from Volvo and Audi but the improvements to the fifth generation model have made sure it has provided the Japanese manufacturer with a very competitive car.
It provides all the benefits of a roomy estate with the advantages of Subaru’s acclaimed all wheel drive system and the latest model is ideal for those potential owners in this sector who are looking for something different that will provide reliable all weather motoring.
Verdict: New Outback enhances Subaru’s crossover credentials.
Model: New Subaru Outback.
Engines: Boxer diesel and petrol.
Transmissions: Automatic and manual.
Trim levels: Two.
Price: From £27,995.