The current-generation Subaru Outback has been on sale regionally now for over two years, with gross sales persevering with to choose up.
The Outback has been among the many top-selling massive SUVs for some time now, although it’s not like the opposite high sellers in its section because it’s not a body-on-frame seven-seat SUV. It’s as an alternative a lifted wagon of types driving on a unibody platform.
Its rivals are additionally drying up regionally, following the latest announcement that Volkswagen is axing the complete Passat vary in Australia, which incorporates the higher-riding Passat Alltrack.
Subaru first introduced the newest replace to the Outback final yr, which included the addition of the two.4-litre turbocharged flat-four engine to the native line-up that introduced extra energy and torque.
The tester we’ve right here doesn’t have this engine, however as an alternative is the mid-range 2023 Subaru Outback AWD Sport variant with the tried-and-tested 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four, which can be used within the Forester.
The Outback AWD Sport may be visually recognized by its array of inexperienced exterior highlights, in addition to the black alloy wheels. It additionally has heavy-duty roof rails as an alternative of the nifty ones on the opposite variants that fold into the roof rails.
Is the Subaru Outback nonetheless as interesting with out its newer turbocharged engine?
The 2023 Subaru Outback AWD Sport is priced from $47,190 earlier than on-road prices, or $52,703 drive-away for Victorian patrons (every state has barely completely different taxes).
This makes it $4500 dearer than the entry-level Outback AWD, and $3800 cheaper than the non-turbo AWD Touring variant. The Subaru Outback vary additionally now comes with turbocharged engine possibility, which in equal AWD Sport XT trim is an additional $5000.
Our tester got here was completed in Magnetite Grey metallic exterior paint which is a no-cost possibility. In truth, all the outside paint colors are a no-cost possibility.
In phrases of equally priced rivals, there are seemingly fewer and fewer by the month. There’s the Volkswagen Passat 162TSI ($51,390) however you possibly can not order a brand new one and as an alternative should discover a car in seller inventory.
There are different rivals, however you’ll want to pay hefty premium for them. These embody the Audi A4 allroad 40 TDI quattro ($78,000), in addition to the Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate B5 Bright ($74,990).
Walking as much as and hopping into the 2023 Subaru Outback feels much like the best way it has for over a decade now. The high-riding wagon’s elevated experience top makes it straightforward to get out and in, and the doorways make a well-known thwacking sound.
Looking across the cabin nearly all of the finishes are softer-touch plastics. You have to go looking fairly onerous to seek out scratchy plastics however they’re there. There’s additionally an annoying little bit of piano black the place the gear selector is which will get scratched, dirty and riddled with fingerprints very simply.
The Outback AWD Sport comes with so-called “water repellent” seat upholstery that sounds very odd on paper however feels completely superb in particular person. It’s considerably much like neoprene and feels buttery delicate to the touch.
The seats themselves have a gray two-tone end with inexperienced accent stitching that enhances the vary of inexperienced highlights dotted across the automobile’s exterior.
Sitting within the driver’s seat is the closest that I’ve ever been in a contemporary car to sitting on a sofa. It’s completely improbable and so squishy, although I might inform even after every week the seat bolstering would get creased and rippled from careless ingress and egress.
The entrance seats have eight methods of electrical adjustability, together with electrical lumbar help for the motive force. The entrance pews are additionally heated, although in order for you air flow you’ll must step as much as the flagship Touring variant.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel isn’t something too flash, but feels very good to carry. People could get slightly overwhelmed with the quantity of buttons and knobs, although they’re all logically positioned and have tactile, clicky motion.
There are paddle shifters positioned behind the steering wheel, nevertheless I didn’t use these in any respect because the automobile has a repeatedly variable transmission (CVT) and it feels bizarre to shuffle between eight pre-programmed steps or ratios.
One of the weather that closely dates the Outback in Australia is the set of analogue dials that sandwich a small 4.2-inch LCD multi-information show. There’s a totally digital instrument cluster accessible in Japan but it surely’s not accessible on any Outback variant regionally as but.
Although they do make the automobile appear dated, the analogue dials are very clear and straightforward to learn. The 4.2-inch display screen additionally reveals a digital speedometer and loads of info that may be cycled by means of to your coronary heart’s content material. I preferred to have the display screen show on the common gas financial system and remaining vary web page.
Moving throughout the portrait-oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system that debuted for Subaru with this technology of Outback that dates again to 2020. It’s an fascinating unit that conjoins what was beforehand separate screens into one big slab.
The touchscreen itself seems to be high-resolution and feels fairly snappy, which suggests it activates shortly upon startup and new pages load shortly.
A brand new function launched for the 2023 mannequin yr is wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Using the previous with my iPhone 12 Pro Max was fantastic on shorter drives, however on longer journeys there’s no wi-fi telephone charger to maintain my telephone topped up.
What I ended up doing as an alternative was plugging in my telephone with a USB cable which defeats the entire goal of getting wi-fi smartphone mirroring.
Something else to notice with Apple CarPlay within the Outback is, as a result of portrait-oriented touchscreen, the CarPlay window is a clumsy square-like form that takes slightly bit to get used to. You expertise a really related factor within the Ford Ranger and Everest.
The Outback AWD Sport will get a built-in TomTom-based satellite tv for pc navigation system which is a little bit of a throwback. Despite this, the system is extraordinarily intuitive with looking for level of pursuits made very straightforward.
There’s generally a slight lag when typing in your supposed vacation spot of the touchscreen, but it surely doesn’t take the system too lengthy to determine what’s occurring.
Quite a lot of car settings are tucked away within the touchscreen, together with the auto-hold perform. Thankfully you possibly can create shortcut buttons for key capabilities that may be added to the house display screen. Certain options can’t be tampered with you’re on the transfer, nevertheless.
Controversially, nearly all of the Outback’s local weather management capabilities are a part of the touchscreen as properly. I admire there are bodily buttons on each side touchscreen for altering the specified temperature, in addition to the entrance and rear defoggers.
You’re in a position flip the local weather management system and the air-conditioning on and off, in addition to regulate the fan pace from the default web page, although if you wish to activate the automated mode or change the air path you’ll want to click on to open a separate web page that takes over the complete display screen. I discovered I didn’t have to do that that usually so it didn’t trouble me an excessive amount of.
The Outback AWD Sport comes with a six-speaker sound system that’s surprisingly first rate given the shortage of a subwoofer and amplifier. There’s a ‘Virtual Bass’ perform that actually will get issues shaking, however you’ll want to be conscious because it’s nonetheless fairly sturdy even in its lowest setting.
Moving to the second row there’s no noticeable step down in high quality. In truth, it’s arguably the higher place to be.
There’s completely oodles of spare within the second row. At a leggy 182cm tall, I’ve loads of legroom behind my very own driving place, in addition to beneficiant head and shoulder room.
The rear bench is extraordinarily comfy with the backrests reclining to a degree the place I can really feel myself drifting off to sleep on the thought. The headrests are simply as squishy as those within the first row.
In phrases of second-row facilities, there are air vents mounted on the again of the centre console, USB-A ports, heated outboard seats, and a flip-down armrest with cupholders.
One draw back concerning the second row is the center seat has a type of awkward roof-mounted seatbelts. This is a little bit of an archaic function to be a brand-new automobile in 2023.
Lastly, the boot is without doubt one of the Outback’s greatest options. The AWD Sport variant provides an ordinary hands-free energy tailgate. It took me a short time to determine how the hands-free perform labored precisely, however after a fast YouTube session I came upon you’ll want to hover your hand close to the Subaru badge for a number of seconds for it to work.
The boot is completely cavernous with 522 litres of area with the second row upright, and 1267 litres with the second row folded. There are hooks for luggage, levers to fold the seats down, a netted part off to the aspect, a 12V socket, in addition to a retractable cargo cowl.
I admire the Outback comes with a correct full-size spare tyre which is completely vital in a car that’s aimed toward long-haul driving and touring.
One of my favorite elements concerning the Outback is the boot ground has a built-in hook that attaches to the roof and permits for straightforward entry to the spare tyre.
The Outback is powered by a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four ‘Boxer’ engine producing 138kW of energy and 245Nm of torque.
This is mated to a repeatedly variable transmission (CVT) with drive despatched by means of an all-wheel drive system.
The Outback has a claimed mixed gas consumption determine of 7.3 litres per 100km. During our time with the tester we achieved a median of seven.8 litres per 100km over 1250km of city and freeway driving.
All Outback variants include an engine idle stop-start system. Our tester famous through the time we had it that just about 3.0 litres of petrol was saved because of the system.
Naturally-aspirated variations of the Outback require a minimal of 91 RON common unleaded petrol. It has a 63-litre gas tank.
When you begin up the Outback it’s immediately recognisable as a Subaru. The engine revs as much as an awkwardly excessive 2000rpm for the primary bit earlier than it begins to heat up. Thankfully after this level the engine decides to offer it a relaxation and idle down a tad.
The means the Outback’s 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated flat-four delivers its energy and torque is linear and adequate. It’s under no circumstances push-you-back-into-the-seat fast, however reasonably utterly satisfactory.
You’ll be capable of sustain visitors on the lights with no troubles in anyway, although if you happen to’re feeling devilish and push the throttle slightly tougher you’ll seemingly pull forward. If you do the latter although, be ready to expertise a mighty racket from the engine.
Something I like concerning the Outback is the engine is keen to rev to get to hurry, which makes it really feel agile, though the engine isn’t notably thrilling. The drony nature of the Outback’s repeatedly variable transmission (CVT) doesn’t give it any further brownie factors.
Another gripe I had with the CVT was when travelling downhill the Outback preferred to run away and decide up pace. It’s like there’s a scarcity of engine braking. This is a little bit of a standard trait with most CVT-equipped automobiles.
In low-speed situations the Outback does a superb job of disguising its measurement with the sunshine steering. You do discover that it although when parking.
Something I used to be on the lookout for on this explicit variant was entrance parking sensors, which it’s notably missing. The Outback AWD Sport has a rear-, front-, and left-hand side-facing cameras, in addition to reversing sensors.
Once you’re at pace the Outback settles down, turning into actually quiet contained in the cabin. This is helped by how simply it soaks up just about each city highway imperfection you possibly can throw at it.
The Outback feels even higher out on the open highway. All its suspension actions are completely managed, balanced and compliant. It’s truthfully some of the comfy freeway and rural freeway cruisers I’ve ever pushed.
At speeds above 60km/h the Outback takes a bit extra coaxing as a way to decide up pace, particularly within the common ‘Intelligent’ drive mode. It will get there however has to labored a bit.
This is much more evident at freeway speeds, the place the Outback has to rev round 3000rpm as a way to stand up hills.
On the protection entrance the Outback is absolutely loaded, although I discovered a few issues to be slightly irritating. The first is the motive force monitoring system may be very annoying.
Sometimes once I drove the automobile it might detect my face, after which different occasions it might not. The occasions it did the automobile would bong fairly loudly once I would change the air-conditioning, for instance, saying it couldn’t detect my face.
The adaptive cruise management system works properly, however can get slightly lazy when hills become involved. During these occasions the set pace can differ by as much as 4km/h above or beneath the set pace, which is only a bit an excessive amount of in my eyes.
The lane-keep help system does a passable job in city settings, however can get slightly misplaced on rural roads with pale lane markings. The identical goes for the lane centring perform which could be very forceful with the way it steers the automobile.
I’m going to complete off this part by praising the LED headlights. They are completely nice!
The total Subaru Outback vary will get self-levelling automated LED headlights with a perform that bodily turns the headlight unit once you flip. It’s such a captivating function that I want extra automobiles would undertake.
All Outback fashions even have an adaptive driving beam which is actually Subaru-speak for adaptive high-beam.
This works notably properly on rural and regional highways late at evening the place you need to have your high-beams on as a lot as doable as a way to detect wildlife.
Subaru Outback AWD Sport highlights:
- Dark metallic 18-inch alloy wheels
- Full-size spare tyre
- Black aspect mirrors
- Heated, power-folding aspect mirrors
- Hands-free energy tailgate
- Black heavy-duty roof rails
- Automatic LED headlights
- Steering Responsive Headlights
- Adaptive high-beam
- LED fog lights
- LED tail lights
- Rain-sensing window wipers
- 4.2-inch journey pc
- 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen infotainment system
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- DAB+ digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- Six-speaker sound system
- 6-zone local weather management
- Paddle shifters
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Keyless entry and push-button begin
- Premium leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Leather-wrapped gear selector
- Electric park brake
- Water-repellent upholstery
- Heated entrance seats
- Heated outboard rear seats
- 8-way energy entrance seats
- Driver electrical lumbar help
The Subaru Outback has a five-star ANCAP security score, primarily based on testing performed in 2021.
It acquired an grownup occupant safety rating of 88 per cent, a baby occupant safety rating of 91 per cent, a weak highway person safety rating of 84 per cent, and a security help rating of 96 per cent.
Standard security gear contains:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Rear AEB
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Driver consideration monitoring
- Lane departure warning
- Lane-keep help
- Autonomous emergency steering
- Traffic signal recognition
- Reversing digital camera
- Rear parking sensors
Outback AWD Sport provides:
- Front-view monitor
- Side-view monitor
The Outback is roofed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee, like the remainder of the Subaru vary.
Logbook servicing is required each 12 months or 12,500km, whichever happens first, which is notably shorter than the 12 month or 15,000km intervals on the turbocharged XT fashions.
Subaru presently affords a three- and five-year service plan on the Outback. They are priced at $1387.25 and $2674.64 respectively.
The Subaru Outback is a pioneer of its section and has caught round to see just about all of its competitors get the axe.
Subaru has made incremental modifications to the Outback through the years, and the newest replace retains it recent sufficient amongst its flashy and high-tech rivals.
The means the Outback rides is arguably the closest you’ll get to a sofa on wheels. It’s extraordinarily compliant on city roads, and much more so when you get it on the open highway. There’s nothing else prefer it at its worth level.
This is helped by the ultra-comfy water-repellent neoprene-like seats that come as normal on the mid-range Outback AWD Sport.
There are a few sticking factors, nevertheless, together with the uninspiring 2.5-litre atmo engine’s lack of energy and torque, in addition to the shorter service intervals.
Both of those gripes are fastened with the turbocharged Outback XT, which comes at an additional value – an additional $5000 to be actual.
For nearly all of punters the common Outback will seemingly cowl all of the wants, but it surely’s the extra energy and torque that could be a particular need. I do know I undoubtedly would need it.
If you go for the Outback XT although, be ready to spend some extra money and time on the petrol bowser.
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