The seats may not be leather-clad but the steering wheel is and, as part of the latest improvements, the steering column is now adjustable for rake and reach.
The seats may not be leather-clad but the steering wheel is and, as part of the latest improvements, the steering column is now adjustable for rake and reach. On top of this, the 2.0R comes complete with powered, folding and heated door mirrors, electric windows front and rear, HIDS headlights with pop-out washers, front projector foglights, electrically heated front seats, front windscreen de-icers and cruise control.
One of the functional advantages that the Subaru Outback has over the Sports Tourer is to be found in the boot. The floor is reversible with carpet on one side and a hard, waterproof covering on the reverse to cope with wet or muddy clothes, boots or pets. As a crossover estate, there is plenty of space in the luggage area; between 459- and 1,649-litres but a little less for those with a sunroof.
There is also plenty of rear legroom and the three seats, which have in a 60:40 ratio are easily folded by the single press of a button.
Strangely, I found the Outback’s seats to be a little more comfortable than those in the Sports Tourer REn. Even the R has powered adjustment for the driver’s seat, although the memory buttons are omitted at this level. The driver also benefits from a lumbar support lever on the backrest but the front passenger has only mechanical fore and aft movement. The lack of height adjustment can feel a little intimidating as the fascia is quite high-level and imposing.
The Subaru Outback comes with a choice of 2.5- and 3.0-litre petrol engines but it is the Boxer Diesel that is causing a stir. Initially for use in European markets only, the new 2.0-litre, turbo-charged, unit will also make an appearance in the forthcoming new Forester and Impreza models.
Why is it so good? The answer is that the boxer engine, much favoured by Subaru, is inherently smooth in its balanced, sideways movement of the pistons, which is said to mimic the action of a boxer in the ring. Not only that but the engine layout allows for the other components, such as the transmission, to be attached in a line, with little or no awkward bends and joints to sap the power.
It can also be positioned lower down within the engine bay for a better centre of gravity. Making the engine work with compression ignition rather than spark simply adds to these qualities whilst improving the fuel economy and emissions, giving the Outback the status of having the lowest emissions in its class.
Subaru Outback Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Subaru Outback 2.0D R|
|Colour||Diamond Grey Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||55.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Price (when tested on the 30/09/08)||£22,495|