Subaru Outback 2.5i

SE Premium

Lineartronic

Subaru Outback, front
Subaru Outback, front, static
Subaru Outback, front, action
Subaru Outback, side, action
Subaru Outback, rear, action
Subaru Outback, rear
Subaru Outback 2015 front action
Subaru Outback 2015 rear
Subaru Outback, interior
Subaru Outback, boot

BEFORE the advent of the all-conquering crossover there was - wait for it - the crossover!

Yes, whether you remember it or not, before every Tom, Dick and Harry queued up to place an order for a Nissan Qashqai or Renault Captur - crossovers already existed.

Vehicles like the Subaru Outback, Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70 weren't the scaled-down SUV-style cars we now think of as crossovers - but they were the crossover pioneers.

While there are similarities, these crossovers were essentially adapted estate cars that offered a halfway house between a conventional estate and an SUV.

They sat higher, came with four-wheel drive capability and styling enhancements to give them a more rugged look.

Launched originally in 1995 the Outback is a car that's evolved considerably and gone through a number of different incarnations since then.

The current version is the fifth generation model and in many ways represents a real step up.

Subaru have always made great drivers' cars, renowned for their engineering and all-wheel drive capability but they've always been lacking in the styling stakes.

Subaru interiors used to be drab to the point of what seemed to be designer indifference and even when the company seemed to make a bit more of an effort to get it right they still never quite hit the spot when it came to interior ergonomics, instrumentation and switchgear.

But this latest Outback is in many ways a revelation.

While you're unlikely to mistake it for an Audi you still can't fail to be impressed when you sit inside and see the transformation.

Though the exterior has been subject to subtle evolution compared to its predecessor inside it's a different car altogether.

The most noticeable change is the use of high quality materials throughout giving the Outback a genuine premium feel.

The range has new infotainment and sat nav systems that really are quite snazzy and another real bonus is that the cabin is considerably bigger too.

Subaru have also upped their game in terms of high-tech safety features.

A new addition is the car maker's Eyesight collision avoidance technology which employs stereo colour cameras to monitor the road and traffic ahead.

The cameras are located in front of the rear view mirror to detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards.

If you buy a Lineartronic CVT automatic this feature comes as standard. I've always found Subaru's clutches to be a little on the heavy side so would certainly be tempted by an auto, which this model was.

I probably wouldn't go for a petrol but to be fair this 2.5-litre engine was a deliciously smooth performer and not as thirsty as I thought it would be. If you do go for a petrol model it is available only with a CVT gearbox.

At one point Subaru only made petrol ‘Boxer' engines - so they've always made good ones - and this is no exception.

Obviously they realised they were missing out, particularly in the UK market, and did eventually create a diesel alternative.

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel is undoubtedly the one most UK buyers will opt for, though if you're not doing huge mileage then it's perhaps possible to make a case for the petrol.

Trim options are relatively simple - SE and SE Premium and the SE comes with automatic LED headlamps and washers, cruise control, active torque vectoring, 17-inch alloys, heated front seats, electric driver's seat and privacy glass. You'll also get the touchscreen info system with sat nav, audio, smartphone connectivity and a rear view parking camera.

Step up to the SE Premium and you get a sunroof, keyless entry and push-button start, 18-inch alloys, leather seats and a powered rear tailgate.

FAST FACTS

Subaru Outback 2.5i SE Premium Lineartronic

Price:£31,495

Mechanical:175bhp, 2,498cc 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.4

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 161g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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