Subaru Out­back 2.5i Pre­mium

Mid-range model's high spec, comfort and re­fine­ment im­press Damien O'car­roll.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

Okay, so I’m not even go­ing to en­ter into the dis­cus­sion about whether the Subaru Out­back is an SUV or a tall sta­tion wagon. Subaru tells one thing, your eyes tell you an­other. But that re­ally doesn’t mat­ter when it comes right down to it, be­cause the Out­back is sim­ply Subaru’s big­gest sell­ing ve­hi­cle in New Zealand and one that ac­counted for 44 per­cent of the brand’s sales last year. While Subaru still of­fer a Le­gacy sedan, the wagon ver­sion was dropped from the range when the cur­rent model launched in 2015. Since then sales of Out­backs – which was based on the Le­gacy wagon, re­mem­ber – have tripled and Subaru NZ will even hap­pily ad­mit that when­ever they mar­ket the Le­gacy sedan, they see a bump in Out­back sales. Which is un­der­stand­able, be­cause while the Out­back of­fers the height and life­style (imag­ined or oth­er­wise) of an SUV, it still drives very much like a car. The Out­back we have here is a 2.5i Pre­mium that at $49,990 sits smack in the mid­dle of the lo­cal Out­back range, book­ended by the en­try 2.5i Sport at $44,990 and the six-cylin­der 3.6R Pre­mium at $59,990. The 2.5i Pre­mium is pow­ered by Subaru’s 129 kw/235nm2.5-l it re hor­i­zon­tal­ly­op­posed four-cylin­der petrol en­gine with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion push­ing the power through Subaru’s sym­met­ri­cal all­wheel drive sys­tem. Be­ing a Pre­mium model it comes stan­dard with 18-inch al­loy wheels, eight-way elec­tri­cally ad­justable heated seats in the front, leather up­hol­stery, dual zone cli­mate con­trol, key­less en­try and start, au­to­matic head­lights, rain sens­ing wipers, a pow­ered rear tail­gate, an eight-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and phone mir­ror­ing and Subaru’s ex­cel­lent Eye­sight driver as­sist sys­tem. The Eye­sight sys­tem in the re­vised Out­back is a third-gen­er­a­tion sys­tem that has been im­proved and now fea­tures Lane Keep As­sist. Subaru’s cam­era-based sys­tem works re­mark­ably well and tweaks to the sys­tem have made it even more re­spon­sive and less in­tru­sive to use. Out on the road, the Out­back 2.5i is a de­light­fully com­fort­able and com­posed cruiser that is ca­pa­ble of waft­ing ef­fort­lessly along on the open road. Things aren’t quite so sweet when you come to a few cor­ners how­ever, with the 2.5-litre en­gine be­tray­ing its lack of torque and ask­ing far more of the CVT than you would like. While Subaru are prob­a­bly the best in the busi­ness when it comes to min­imis­ing the pain of a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion, there is still some no­tice­able flar­ing at play here, par­tic­u­larly when try­ing to hus­tle the Out­back along a wind­ing road. As it stands, the 2.5i rep­re­sents in­cred­i­bly good value for money and brings im­pres­sive lev­els of comfort and re­fine­ment with it.

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