The home­grown Ford Ter­ri­tory is to get a big­ger and tougher new ri­val from Ja­pan, re­ports PAUL GOVER.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

SUBARU says the Broad­mead­ows hero is one of the tar­gets for its all-new Out­back wagon, which has just been un­veiled in the US as the side­kick to the new Lib­erty.

The Out­back will look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent by the time it gets to Aus­tralia, but the ba­sics – and par­tic­u­larly a big­ger new cabin and an en­larged 3.6 litre en­gine – will be the same.

“The Out­back dis­played at the New York show is ob­vi­ously for the US,” Subaru Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Nick Se­nior says. “Some styling cues we won’t see here – the overt SUV stuff. Ours is prob­a­bly a lit­tle more re­strained.”

The Out­back will join the Lib­erty here in Septem­ber. Both are cru­cial, Se­nior says. “They are both im­por­tant,” he says. “I think, from a brand point of view, Subaru has been de­fined by the Lib­erty.

“This is 20 years. It’s two decades of Lib­erty and in that time it’s had strong cus­tomer ad­vo­cacy and a lot of awards.

“We are go­ing to play in an im­por­tant seg­ment of the mar­ket. It’s a new car and it ad­dresses some of the is­sues raised in cus­tomer feed­back.

“One of those is in­te­rior room, so it’s a lot roomier and a lot more fuel-ef­fi­cient.”

Early de­tails of the Out­back point to a car with a longer wheel­base, big­ger cabin, im­proved ground clear­ance, power of 190kW from the 3.6 litre six, and a six-speed man­ual on the four and six.

The ba­sic body is stiffer, just like the Lib­erty, which should mean im­proved safety and less noise in­side.

“The Out­back, again, has sig­nif­i­cantly more in­te­rior space, par­tic­u­larly rear legroom,” says Se­nior, be­fore point­ing to a Ford chal­lenge with the car.

“That opens the op­por­tu­nity for us, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia, to look at con­quest sales.

“And not just from our tra­di­tional com­peti­tors but po­ten­tially from some of the lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“We’ll have a 3.6 litre en­gine fed by nor­mal un­leaded and, par­tic­u­larly in ru­ral ar­eas, that is where I see an op­por­tu­nity.”

The ar­rival of the 2009 Out­back and Lib­erty will be­gin Subaru’s diesel drive in Aus­tralia. The Out­back diesel should be ready by Novem­ber.

“The ef­fort has gone into get­ting an Out­back here first be­cause our be­lief is a diesel SUV has the most po­ten­tial. That will be fol­lowed by a Forester diesel next year,” Nick Se­nior says. “Then we will turn our eyes to the passenger ve­hi­cle range.”

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