Subaru up­dates its best­seller ROAD

Out­back: This wagon on stilts is in a cat­e­gory all its own

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - WHEELS - Sami Haj-As­saad Au­

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 sys­tem dis­plays the cabin tem­per­a­ture on 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. On the road, 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.


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