Subaru is launching the new 2009 Outback into the UK's competitive crossover segment. Back in 1996, the first European Outback was one of the pioneer crossover estates (along with the Volvo XC70 and Audi Allroad). Can the new 2009 Outback still please farmers and city folk alike?
The UK-spec Subaru Outback certainly looks... similar. Subaru has kept the familiar Outback look, the most noticeable change being the introduction of an air scoop on the bonnet.
Is it just a facelifted Subaru Outback?
Subaru says not. Much of the bodywork is different, with more space for bodies and bags. In this hard fought sector of the market, space is important. The new Outback has a longer, taller cabin which allows more room and increased comfort. The rear seats fold 40/60, and all these changes allow for more luggage space then the previous model: up 67 litres to 526.
Is the Outback technologically sound?
MP3-compatible and hands-free Bluetooth systems provide the in-car entertainment, and the Bluetooth is voice activated for fewer distractions. A new Multi-Information-Display is placed high on the central console so it is viewable from all seats, and gives data such as temperature, fuel consumption (average and instant) and seatbelt checks.
Subaru is trying to appeal to both drivers and farmers with the latest Outback, and it comes with the latest Symmetrical AWD system, which combines a basic 50/50 front/rear split with a viscous limited slip differential. When a wheel slips, the differential sends torque to a different wheel, increasing traction. This works in tandem with a new electronic stability program, called VDC, which counters over- or understeer by braking individual wheels and/or reducing engine power.
The fourth-generation Subaru Outback has a choice of engines: the 2.0-litre boxer diesel, with 148bhp and 258lb ft, a 2.5-litre petrol with 165bhp and 169lb ft and a 3.6-litre flat six petrol with 256bhp and 258lb ft. It will be priced from £27,995 to £35, 795.