On the road

0-100 review: Subaru Outback AWD Touring

Subaru delivers another gripping instalment of its versatile all-wheel drive wagon.

If ever there was an Australian state where the benefits of all-wheel drive can be appreciated, it’s the winding, and often slippery, roads of Tasmania.

Japanese car maker Subaru’s near-total commitment to building all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles is encapsulated in its former marketing tagline, ‘All-wheel drive is all we do’. It’s a message Tasmanians appear to have embraced with gusto, if the number of Subarus on the state’s roads are anything to go by.

Among this fleet, the Outback is arguably the brand’s most identifiable nameplate, and earlier this year Subaru Australia introduced the sixth generation BT version. Now, as before, symmetrical all-wheel drive and a horizontally opposed Boxer engine are at the heart of the new model.

The combined technologies provide the strong grip, low centre of gravity and good balance that lends the five-door wagon its sure-footed ride and handling.

Beneath the subtly restyled body is a revised version of the established 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine. It’s the only power plant in the new Outback range, with Subaru claiming it’s 90% new, adopting direct fuel-injection and other detail changes to boost power and torque to 138kW/245Nm. The automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) has also been upgraded with a wider spread of ratios and an eight-speed pseudo-manual mode.

Comfortable interior
Stylish exterior

The roomy, airy cabin is now slightly bigger, with room for five adults, a wider boot and an electric tailgate that accesses a 522-litre boot. The luxurious interior features a vertically-oriented 11.6-inch infotainment screen, Nappa leather seat trim, heated front and outboard rear seats, nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio, and an electric sunroof.

The Outback’s enhanced safety ensemble includes a new passenger seat cushion airbag, the latest generation of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system, and a stronger inner-frame structure. Performance is brisk enough, while the fully independent suspension ensures a plush ride, even over rough roads. A handy 213mm of ground clearance and Subaru’s X-Mode multi-terrain system mean the Outback won’t stop when the tarmac does.

Smooth, refined and versatile, with its confident road-holding and all-round polish, the new Outback builds impressively on the legacy of this ever-popular model.

The specs

Pricing: Driveaway $52,398
Safety: Not rated (all variants up to March 2021 ANCAP 5 Stars)
Engine type: Direct injection, DOHC, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder petrol 91 (RON)
Engine capacity: 2498cc
Max. torque: 245Nm @ 3400-4600rpm
Max. power: 138kW @ 5800rpm
Transmission: CVT
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km (Combined) 9.3L/100km (Urban)