High plains drifter

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car -

in­evitably come with a bush life, and there were new bumpers.

The Out­back sat 70mm higher than the Lib­erty, which gave it more ground clear­ance, the se­cret to go­ing be­yond the black-top. As with the Lib­erty, the Out­back was longer and wider than the pre­vi­ous model, and it had a longer wheel­base. With its in­creased di­men­sions came in­creased in­te­rior space, par­tic­u­larly for rear pas­sen­gers.

Subaru had three boxer engine op­tions in this model, in­clud­ing an eco­nom­i­cal 2.5-litre four, a zippy 3.6-litre six, and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel fuel-miser. Those opt­ing for the oiler were lumped with a sixspeed man­ual gear­box, those go­ing for the 2.5i had the choice of the sixspeed man­ual or a CVT, while those who choose the 3.6 got a five-speed au­to­matic. Drive was, of course, con­stant through all four wheels.

Lo­cal tweak­ing of the sus­pen­sion re­sulted in a flat­ter, more re­as­sur­ing ride through cor­ners and over un­du­lat­ing roads. One down­side in a ve­hi­cle os­ten­si­bly de­signed with the bush in mind was the tem­po­rary spare tyre. sound sys­tem, pad­dle shifts etc. The last was re­lated to a pro­duc­tion fault that some­how meant some six-speed man­ual gear­boxes es­caped from the fac­tory with a vi­tal oil sup­ply hole left un­drilled.

Check that th­ese have been done, it should be in­di­cated in the owner’s man­ual. If not check with your near­est Subaru dealer.

When do­ing a pre-pur­chase on a 2.5i, it’s im­por­tant to con­duct a thor­ough test drive to look for pos­si­ble glitches in the CVT. Look for stum­bles, hes­i­ta­tions and shud­der­ing.

Oth­er­wise check for a ser­vice record to en­sure the fac­tory rec­om­mended ser­vic­ing has been car­ried out.

SMITHY SAYS

Good on-road and off and with­out the bulk of a reg­u­lar SUV, the Out­back is a stand­out. Like its cor­po­rate cousin from Kia, the Santa Fe ticks plenty of box­eswhenit comes to value for money. It’s also de­cent in all other ar­eas. 3.5 stars Pay $29,500-$39,000 Well-equipped and well-built, the CX-7 de­liv­ers ev­ery­thing but an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion for the diesel model. 3.5 stars Pay $24,500-$38,500 Do you own or have you owned a Suzuki Alto? Share your ex­pe­ri­ence with other Cars­guide read­ers by send­ing your com­ments to gra­ham.smith@cars­guide .com.au or write to Cars­guide, PO Box 4245, Syd­ney, NSW, 2010.

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