Subaru Outback 2.0

Diesel SE

Subaru Outback, rear
Subaru Outback, front
Subaru Outback, front, static
Subaru Outback, front, action
Subaru Outback, side, action
Subaru Outback, rear, action
Subaru Outback, boot open
Subaru Outback, interior
Subaru Outback, boot

SUBARU is not the only company to claim it produced the first crossover vehicle.

But the Outback, first seen in 1994 with the Legacy, can lay a decent claim to the honour.

It has always been a rugged, practical vehicle, with good engines and a much admired off-road capability thanks to a slick all-wheel drive system. It is not the cheapest, but is packed with kit.

The latest version is the best yet, as you would expect, with all new exterior design and vastly improved interior.

It also introduces new technology, including the so-called ‘second pair of eyes' safety system and an upgraded, more economical engines, with the choice of either the 2.0-litre diesel or 2.5-litre turbo Boxer engines. Both have a choice of six-speed manual or CVT transmission.

There are also only two trim level, SE and SE Premium The SE tested here has the usual electric power aids, headlamp washers, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, electrically-adjustable driver's seat and privacy glass.

SE Premium models add a sunroof, keyless entry and push-button start, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and a powered rear tailgate for added functionality.

The exterior looks sleek and smarter, while still maintaining that go-anywhere rugged look.

Changes include hawk-eye headlights and a large three-bar gille, bumpers incorporating low, wide fog lamps and LED headlamps.

The car has been lowered slightly, ending in a rear spoiler to give it more of a dynamic crossover look than traditional SUV.

A new side sill footstep also makes for easier access to the car's standard-fit roof rails.

The interior is a revelation. Largely gone is much of the low rent plastic trim to be replaced with classy soft touch finish to dash and doors.

It is dominated by a slick and expensive looking seven inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating satellite navigation, audio, smartphone connectivity and a rear view parking camera.

New blue lit dials give the binnacle a smarter look, controls are handily placed and it is all finished nicely with silver effect dashboard trim.

It is Tardis like inside with masses of head and legroom for all sized occupants as well plenty of additional storage space. The large glass area provides good all rond visibility.

The boot capacity has increased 4.5 per cent against the outgoing model to 559 litres, with a powered tailgate on the range topper.

The rear seats fold via a one-touch lever to 1,848 litres, which includes a deep, hidden well under the boot floor.

The horizontally-opposed cylinders of the Boxer engines means they can sit lower in the car to provide better stability. Both are proven units, with two-litre 150ps diesel proving both refined and economical.

Very economical in fact. A claimed 50mpg seemed not that far from the mark and it provided good acceleration, hitting 60mph from a standing start in uder 10 seconds.

Engine clatter is subdued, but there is some wind and tyre noise, particularly at higher speeds.

Handling and ride quality have improved with revised suspension and dampers and the steering ratio has been quickened for a more accurate resonse.

The ride can be bumpy on all but the smoothest of surfaces, but Subaru's Active Torque Vectoring, which brakes the inside wheels under cornering, gives grippy handling.

Safety kit us compehensive with a full complement of airbags, hill hold, traction and stabily control and innovations like the EyeSight safety system.

This uses camera technology to monitor the road and traffic ahead to detect the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards.

EyeSight is fitted as standard to every Outback fitted with the CVT transmission, and includes pre-collision braking and throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning and pre-collision steering assist and lead vehicle Start alert.

Safety technology is such driver and pedestrian have never been safer.

FAST FACTS

Subaru Outback 2.0 Diesel SE

Price: £28,995

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 119mph

0-62mph: 9.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 145g/km

Bik rating: 27%

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