Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium an alluring mixture of all road capability, comfort, quality and value
What is it?
The Subaru Outback, Subaru’s high-riding all-road and Liberty based wagon. Tested in the fully loaded 2.5i Premium trim.
What’s it cost?
The Subaru Outback range kicks off with the petrol powered Outback 2.5i which is priced from $36,240 plus government charges and climbs to the Outback 3.6R which has a sticker price of $49,140 plus on road costs.
The Outback 2.5i Premium as tested starts at $42,640 and is absolutely laden with kit. Standard equipment includes Subaru’s EyeSight suite of technologies that incorporate adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist. There’s also blind spot monitoring, swivelling LED headlamps, LED tail lamps, satellite navigation, leather trim with seat heating for the front two chairs and possibly the quietest power tailgate on the market.
Weirdly, parking sensors are only available as a dealer fitted accessory.
What’s it go like?
Solid, safe and predictable are three key words to describe the Outback’s driving dynamics. That famed symmetrical all-wheel drive system delivers excellent grip on all surfaces, body roll is well controlled, the steering delivers plenty of feedback and a suspension set up that delivers a ride that is pretty much perfect.
There’s less body lean into corners than an SUV, and you still get an elevated ride height so you can still see over most other cars.
If you wanted to escape the beaten track, you’ve got the reassurance of that all-wheel drive system, hill descent control and body cladding in case things get a little too rough.
The EyeSight suite of technologies is excellent, with the adaptive cruise swiftly adjusting to road conditions and the lane keep assist ensuring everything was in check without being overbearing.
Under the bonnet lies Subaru’s tried and tested 2.5 litre flat four, which develops 129kW @ 5800rpm and 235Nm @ 4000rpm. The engine is paired to a Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) with seven steps that can be selected via paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel. Naturally, power is sent to all four wheels.
The 2.5 litre engine is generally very quiet and always refined, but we felt it struggled to lug around the Outback and that CVT seemed to take an edge off performance and we’d recommend assessing other options in the Outback engine range – a 2 litre diesel and 3.6 litre six are on offer – before signing on the dotted line.
Start/stop fuel saving technology is fitted as standard, and Subaru claims the Outback 2.5i Premium will sip 7.3 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. We found that around 10.5 litres was more realistic.
What’s it like inside?
Well made, fuss free and spacious, if a little conservative. The seats are superbly comfortable front and rear, and are excellent places to sit, irrespective of the journey. The front two offer electric adjustment. Head and legroom are abundant front and rear, and you should be able to get three adults across the rear pew without too much fuss.
Build quality is commendable throughout, with all materials feeling premium to the touch. The infotainment system is easy enough to use, if a little dated and cheap looking. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are installed for convenience.
As aforementioned, a power tailgate is fitted as standard which opens to a sizeable 512 litre boot.
A pleasant place to be overall.
What we like:
- Driving dynamics
What we don’t:
- That 2.5 litre engine feels underwhelming
- Lack of parking sensors
- That infotainment system can look a little cheap
- We’re nitpicking now, not a lot else
Sale or no sale?
There’s something very reassuring about the Subaru Outback, and it seems to be able to do just about anything. It has completely won us over, although we’re not sure if we’d choose that engine though.