The new, fifth generation Subaru Outback is going on sale in Ireland, sporting a new exterior design, a significantly higher quality interior, and a raft of new safety technology compared to the outgoing model.
Launched in Ireland in 1995 and spawning a whole new vehicle segment, the Outback was the world’s first crossover, successfully combining the benefits of a passenger estate car with the all-road capabilities of an SUV. For 20 years the Outback has acted as Subaru’s flagship model in Ireland, winning praise for its practical, all-road nature, and long distance capabilities.
During the development of the new model, Subaru looked to build on the Outback’s reputation as a vehicle that can go anywhere and do anything – qualities that have appealed to Outback buyers over two decades.
The new Outback has been developed to offer space and practicality, world-class safety, all-conditions and all-terrain versatility, a higher quality cabin, more contemporary yet timeless exterior and interior styling, and improved environmental performance to meet changing customer and regulatory demands.
While clearly maintaining the distinctive Subaru Outback identity, Subaru’s designers strove to make the new model more dynamic, while keeping true to its rugged crossover roots. From the front, the bumper-integrated hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights maintain consistency with other models in the Subaru family, while the profile is a subtle evolution of the existing Outback.
More significant changes can be found on the inside. The new model’s revamped interior uses a range of higher quality materials throughout, for a more premium fit and finish, complemented by a new 7.0-inch touchscreen factory-fit infotainment and sat nav system.
The latest upgrades have made the new Outback more practical than ever before, with more storage and cabin space, and greater room for all occupants. The boot capacity has increased 4.5 per cent against the outgoing model, to 559 litres, while the premium version is equipped with a new Smart Power automatic tailgate for greater ease-of-use. A new side sill footstep makes for easier access to the car’s standard-fit roof rails.
New to the latest model, 'EyeSight' is Subaru’s advanced collision avoidance technology which acts as a second pair of eyes for drivers, employing stereo colour camera technology to monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards. This is the first time this driver assist technology has been made available in Ireland and Europe, contributing to the Outback’s maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating.
The system’s two colour cameras are located either side of the rear view mirror to detect the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential hazards. EyeSight is fitted as standard to every Outback fitted with Subaru’s Lineartronic transmission, and includes six features: pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, pre-collision steering assist and lead vehicle start alert.
With the addition of Eyesight and Subaru’s active and passive safety features, the new Subaru Outback benefits from lower insurance ratings, among the most competitive in its class.
It is fitted with a horizontally-opposed four-cylinder ‘Boxer’ engine, fitted deep in the engine bay to ensure a low centre of gravity for improved handling, despite the car’s raised ground clearance. The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, produces 150PS and 350Nm torque.
It will be offered with either a six-speed manual transmission or Subaru’s programmed seven-speed Lineartronic transmission.
Handling and ride quality have improved over the outgoing Outback through the adoption of new, stiffer front struts, which cut roll, and revised spring and damper rates, for a more flexible reaction to bumps.
The steering ratio has been quickened in the new model, resulting in an improved accurate and linear steering response. A more natural steering feel is aided by the steering wheel, now 13 per cent stiffer with a new metal core.
To ensure best-in-class on-road handling, every new Outback model is fitted with active torque vectoring – effectively braking the inside wheels under cornering, quelling understeer and oversteer and allowing a more predictable course through corners. The Outback is now even more capable off-road, with the addition of the new X-Mode control feature on Lineartronic models, while all models have a whopping 200mm ground clearance.
There are two trim levels available on the Outback for Irish buyers – SE and SE Premium – both of which offer generous levels of standard equipment.
SE models are equipped as standard with automatic LED headlamps and headlamp washers, cruise control, active torque vectoring, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat and privacy glass, as well as a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, incorporating audio, smartphone connectivity and a rear view parking camera.
SE Premium models add a sunroof, keyless entry and push-button start, satellite navigation, leather seats, electrically-adjustable passenger’s front seat and a powered rear tailgate for added functionality.