Subaru updates its bestseller
Outback: This wagon on stilts is in a category all its own
Refreshed for 2018, the Outback was brought to life back in the ’90s as a quick and easy way for the Japanese automaker to keep up with the demand for SUVS. Today, the car is in a category of its own, filling the gaps left by other offerings.
Styling has been updated, with a new grille opening and bumper featuring black plastic wrapped around the lower edge of the vehicle and raising up at the fog lights to protect them from the elements. A new 18inch wheel design is also offered on higher trim Outbacks. The headlights come with standard LED daytime running lights and can be optioned up to full LED peepers that are steering responsive with high beam assist.
The car comes standard with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. The new 6.5-inch and 8-inch infotainment offerings are more responsive and user-friendly.
Higher trim grades feature stitched dash and door panels, and a new steering wheel plucked from the Crosstrek. Buttons and toggles simplify operation, and the new HVAC settings and screen display the cabin temperature within control knobs.
The cabin has 3061 litres of passenger space. Behind the rear seats, there’s 1005L of room. Fold those rear seats down and there’s 2075L of cargo space.
The Outback still arrives with either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine or a larger 3.6-litre flat six. Both provide power to all four wheels through a CVT, which has been updated.
It also gets a revised suspension. And with 220mm of ground clearance, this Outback was able to tackle every obstacle thrown its way on a test drive over a serious forest trail. The Outback doesn’t feel like a traditional SUV. It’s accommodating and responsive, with a smooth and refined driving experience.
One complaint: the placement of the rear view mirror seems to be right in the middle of the windshield. The B pillars of the Outback are also quite large, making shoulder checking your blind spot a bit more difficult. Fortunately, the location of the blind spot monitor light, which is now much bigger and on the mirror frame, helps. The Outback can also be had with Subaru’s advanced Eyesight suite of technology.
The 2018 Subaru Outback starts at $29,295 for a 2.5i model, and goes all the way to $42,195 for the 3.6R Premier with Eyesight package.