Subaru is a company predominated by engineering expertise, from the design stage right to the upper echelon.
How that pans out in an out and out business sense is one thing, but in terms of product it is pretty darn impressive.
One still has fond memories of the drive in the lovely handling Impreza, a beautifully set and balanced car that can help make a bad driver good and a good driver even better. That drive was about six years ago, but the memory remains fresh.
The most recent Subaru experience was in the ground breaking Outback, the first diesel offering mated with an auto gearbox, a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Subaru are the first to unite a horizontally-opposed diesel Boxer engine with CVT (7-speed) and it works, in terms of drive, in terms of frugality.
The transmission can be operated as an out and out automatic or alternatively by the use of Shift Paddles on the steering wheel. Experience has shown that some operated via the Paddles can whine or lurch on the change. Not this unit. It is sharp, ultra smooth and easy, perhaps the best of one’s experience with such technology.
The Outback receives its power from an easy working 148bhp engine, and despite the size and weight of the car, suggested returns of close to 50mpg are accurate looking. This car loves the motorway.
On a long run on a filthy, wet and windy day, it sauntered through its pace. There wasn’t a murmur from outside, which made listening to the in-car entertainment system all the more enjoyable.
Outback runs on 17” alloys and offers 200mm of ground clearance, a visual hint at its all wheel drive prowess. The engine is mounted lower than in a conventional car, giving a lower centre of gravity. This is the basis of my joy with Subaru. The offshoot is sure, safe and easy handling.
The interior of Outback would be classed as smart, dark, practical. Space is generous generally, extending to massive in the rear seats, the back rests of which recline for relaxation. Boot space stretches from 526 to a massive 1,677 litres, which is good.
Outback is most pleasing to the eye and well equipped. The one quibble, especially for an AWD vehicle, would be the absence of a spare wheel. There is a concession to buy one, apparently.
Don’t let that absence put you off a car can turn routine into a pleasant experience on those daily drives.
Standard specification includes dual zone automatic climate control air conditioning with rear ducts, Bluetooth, motion adaptive power steering, heated front seats, 10 way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory, electric sunroof with shade, electric folding door mirrors, front fog lights, HID headlights, side and curtain airbags, wiper de-icer, hill holding function, rear seat centre armrest with two cup holders, one touch folding recling rear seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats.
Subaru Outback 2.0 Boxer turbo diesel Lineartronic CVT automatic, AWD €44,950; 1,998cc, 4-cylinders, 16 valves, 148bhp at 3,600rpm, 350Nm at 1,600 to 2,400rpm; 0 to 100kpm in 9.7 seconds, top speed 194kph (121mph); fuel consumption 7.6/100km (37.2mpg, urban), 5.6 (50.4, extra urban), 6.3 (44.8, combined); C02 166 g/km, annual road tax €570.
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