Subaru makes a cautious comeback: RAY MASSEY gets behind the wheel of the niche favourite’s new flagship all-wheel drive Outback estate
Remember Subaru? There was a time when this off-beat Japanese cult car-maker made everything from white-knuckle rally-driving Imprezas to practical off-roading estates.
Then it seemed to disappear from the limelight.
Well now it is making a cautious and low-key comeback by refreshing its range. And I’ve just taken my first Subaru drive for a long time, in the new flagship all-wheel drive Outback estate. It’s the sixth generation since the model’s launch in 1995.
Tried and trusted: The refreshed Subaru is crammed with the latest tech
It was quite a change from most cars — but in a positive way. I love the rugged look and chunky exterior, which carried through to the solid leather-wrapped steering wheel.
It’s certainly a safe pair of hands. It has eyesight driver assist tech that monitors your eyes and warns you if you’re nodding off or failing to look at the road ahead. It scored highly in crash tests, too, and warns about at-risk pedestrians or cyclists. Most of the sat-nav and infotainment functions are via an 11.6in central screen.
It’s well-stocked with driver aids and comforts, including heated and power-adjustable seats, a hands-free power-tailgate, hill descent control, voice-recognition and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There are three trim levels for the Outback range starting with the Limited from £34,070, up to the Touring at £39,499.
I was driving the mid-range Field priced from £38,070. It sits high with 213mm — or nearly 8½ in — of ground clearance and can tow up to 2tonnes.
Its horizontally opposed or ‘boxer’ petrol engine is linked to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). It’s a decent drive, accelerates smoothly, and is great at negotiating bumps. But 0 to 62mph acceleration is an uninspiring 10.2 seconds, up to a top speed of 120mph.
Fuel economy is similarly a middling 33mpg. And I kept looking for a ‘sport’ button. There isn’t one. I felt Subaru had missed a trick. But, overall, I enjoyed the experience.
Will it fit in my garage? New Subaru Outback 2.5i Boxer Field Lineartronic All-Wheel Drive
Ground clearance: 213mm
Wheels: 18 inch
Kerb weight: 1646kg
Engine: 2.5i horizontally-opposed (Boxer) 4cyl, 4 stroke petrol
Transmission: Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) (8 speed manual paddles on steering wheel).
O to 62mpg: 10.2 seconds
Top speed: 120mph
Average fuel consumption: 33mpg
CO2 emissions: 193g/km
Towing capacity: 2 tonnes
Seats up: 561 litres
Seats folded (with sunroof): 1750 litres
Seats folded (without sunroof): 1822litres
Fuel tank: 63 litres
Trim levels: Limited (£34,070), Field (£38,070), and Touring (38,070)
– eyesight driver assist tech (monitors your eyes and warns you if you’re nodding off or distracted).
– 11.6-inch tablet-like central screen.
– heated and power-adjustable seats
– hands-free power-tailgate
– hill descent control
– Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Subaru’s relatively low key role in recent years is in part down to a decision to withdraw some of its more aggressively sporty and rally-inspired models – such as the much loved Impreza WRX range – so it could comply with ever-tougher emissions regulations.
Alongside the Outback in the current Subaru line-up are: the Forester e-Boxer hybrid from £36,410; the XV e-Boxer hybrid compact crossover from £31,730; and the new all-electric Solterra crossover on sale now from £49,995.
They are imported into the UK by Midlands based International Motors with which it has had an association for more than four decades.
London, Northern Ireland and West Midlands worst for road rage
Steer clear of London, Northern Ireland and the West Midlands if you want to avoid road rage.
These three areas have the angriest drivers in the UK, according to new research by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.
Angry driver: Steer clear of London, Northern Ireland and the West Midlands if you want to avoid road rage
Londoners are far more hot-headed, with 58 per cent of drivers in the capital getting angry at other drivers when they make mistakes — equivalent to up to 1.4million drivers (out of 2.5million).
Motorists in Northern Ireland (45 per cent) and West Midlands (44 per cent) are next, followed by the South-East (42 per cent), Wales (41 per cent), Yorkshire (39 per cent) and the East of England (39 per cent). By contrast, Scottish drivers are the calmest.
Londoners are also most likely to sound their horn at a motorist who is driving too slowly, with Welsh motorists being the least likely to do so.
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING