DO we call it an evolution or a revolution? The 2015 version, or fifth generation as it is more commonly referred to, Subaru Outback is a little of column A and a little of column B when it comes to defining whether it has simply evolved or is revolutionary.
It certainly has a host of new technology, in particular the state-of-the-art EyeSight technology that is winning Subaru a host of plaudits for its boost to safety standards and driver aids (EyeSight includes pre-collision steering assist (as well as braking and throttle management), adaptive cruise control, brake light recognition, lane departure warning, lane sway warning and lead vehicle start alert), which was standard on the 3.6R (one of the two models we tested), as was the awesome performance enhanced SI-Drive, which boosted engine performance and driving experience through much improved power delivery.
It’s Premium diesel counterpart (the other car that was part of this test) unfortunately doesn’t get the EyeSight technology or SI-Drive. It is $7,000 cheaper though, and significantly more economical, while keeping all of the other features offered at the better end of the Subaru Outback range. It also gets X-mode, which the others don’t – a software based traction control system that boosts and enhances the Outback’s off-road capabilities.
On the performance front, the 3.6R is fitted with, you guessed it, a 3.6L motor, coupled to a six speed CVT auto gearbox, and delivers 191kW of power and 350Nm of torque, with a 0-100 speed test racking in at 7.6 seconds (impressive when you consider the much more sporty Liberty pulls 7.2 seconds), but it’s genuinely thirsty at 9.9L/100km on fuel consumption.
The 2.0L turbo diesel is fitted with the same CVT gearbox, and pumps out 110kW of power with the same torque as the petrol based 3.6R, with a 0-100 speed test delivering 9.9 seconds for the auto, and a far more impressive fuel consumption result of just 6.3L/100km.
Both cars are impressive, with the new, more modern design, and higher quality finish making the new look Outback not just a nice looking vehicle, but one that feels nice to drive, and nice to be in. The same can be said for the entire range of new Outback vehicles, with an extra roomy interior adding to the features of what can best be described as a solid all-rounder family vehicle, with impressive off road capabilities.
It’s family friendly, with multiple child restraint points (including support for ISOFIX), but among the downsides are the roof mounted centre rear seat belt, and a lack of a seven seat option. The long nose overhang past the front wheels could be considered a drawback if you’re looking to do plenty of off-road hill climbing, but it’s not a large 4WD and shouldn’t be treated like one.
The front seats are a little short on length, and a little flat when compared for comfort, and maintenance and servicing costs are up over previous models. The powered tailgate is also annoyingly slow to open, and close.
That aside, it comes with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, better driving dynamics, a vastly improved infotainment system, paddle shifting on the gearbox and the diesel meets EU6 particle emissions requirements.
The 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R hits the road at the drive away price of just over $52,500 while its partner in crime, the diesel Premium model can be driven away for just over $45,700. The three additional model variants that were not part of our road test, can be yours for between $39,500 and $45,700.
Our test vehicles were provided by Subaru Australia. To find out more about the entire 2015 Subaru Outback range, contact your local Subaru dealer.
Road Test: 2015 Subaru Outback
Pros – looks great; plenty of room; excellent on-road feel.
Cons – no EyeSight on diesel; hard ride at low speed; no seven seater.