You are not going to be able to venture too far off the beaten track but ...
First launched in 1996, the new fourth generation Subaru Outback Estate went on sale on in December 2010, priced from £26,795.
At launch there was mixture of engines and trims, now for MY 2014 there is one trim level, the ‘SX’ which keeps things nice and simple. The Outback is only available with one engine the 2.0-litre flat four diesel boxer which is available with a six-speed manual (£29,995) or the seven-speed Lineartronic CVT transmission (£31,495).
What we tested
We tested the Subaru Outback 2.0D SX diesel with Lineartronic finished in Dark Grey Metallic, which at the time of testing cost £31,495 plus metallic paint.
Driving and Performance
The Outback is powered by the 2.0-litre (1998cc) turbo-charged diesel boxer engine, which is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox or CVT transmission – we tested the Lineartronic CVT. The flat four boxer engine develops 150 PS at 3,600 rpm, with 350 Nm of torque between 1,600-2,400 rpm - which makes it capable of 0-62 mph in 9.7 seconds with a top speed of 121 mph. Interestingly Subaru quote the same performance figures for both the manual and CVT vehicles.
The seven-speed CVT Lineartronic transmission can be left feeling a little hapless at low speed not really knowing what to do – above 30 mph it all seems to settle down and is perfectly fine – there are paddle shifts on the back of the steering wheel to manually change gear.
Subaru publish that the 2.0-litre boxer engine with Lineartronic transmission is capable of 37.2 mpg on the urban cycle, 50.4 mpg extra urban and a combined figure of 44.8 mpg (NEDC figures) with CO2 emissions of 166 g/km. We achieved around 27-33 mpg during the school and domestic shopping runs, rising to 43 mpg touring, which is not too bad.
The Outback has reasonably good road manners, the steering gives good feedback but it is little too light, there is plenty of grip to reassure you and body roll is kept well in check.
All models feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system ensuring power is supplied equally to all four-wheels, with manual cars it features a centre differential coupled to a viscous LSD where the CVT versions have an active torque split system.
You are not going to be able to venture too far off the beaten track but it will cope well with country lanes and farm tracks. It lacks a low ratio gearbox but otherwise it is reassuring. There is 220mm of ground clearance, with an approach angle of 25 degrees and 26 degree departure. The braked towing capacity for the diesel Outback is 1700kgs and 750kgs for unbraked trailers.
In summary the boxer diesel engine is a little gruff at start but soon settles down when it has warmed up and the handling is pretty neutral.