OUTBACK WITH THE ‘ X-FACTOR’
NZ4WD CONTRIBUTOR SEAN WILLMOT RECKONS THAT THE NEW, LIMITED EDITION OUTBACK X IS A BIT OF ALRIGHT! HE EXPLAINS WHY, HERE.
In Magnetite grey with those black 18-inch alloys and the green and black badgework, I’d put money on there not being a more imposing Subaru to come out of the factory in recent times than the limited edition Outback X the local importer has recently added to its line-up.
I reckon Subaru New Zealand (SNZ) knew that too – which is why when the opportunity to get a few of the Outbacks with the X-factor came up, company execs would have been on the phone to the factory quick smart to put an order in.
From its earliest incarnation, Outback featured everything a good Subaru should have; symmetrical all-wheel-drive, boxer horizontally opposed engine (2.5-litre, four-cylinder in this case) and in more recent times, eight-feature Eyesight crash avoidance technology.
Outback was – and is – taller, bigger and able to bring together all the Subaru models and features; Impreza’s edge, Legacy’s refinement, XV’’s spaciousness, and Forester’s implacability and general SUV-ishness.
This either makes the Outback the quintessential Subaru or a ‘whoops, it wasn’t supposed to be that good’ project.
The Outback X feels big, solid, and built to take on any terrain, and that’s just the sensation you get on the blacktop where the Outback’s high command position tends to overshadow most other vehicles, until you encounter the bigger SUVs.
Even then, the Outback feels it's capable of holding its own by virtue the smooth delivery of 129kW of power and 235Nm of torque put to the wheels through the Lineartronic continuously variable transmission with its seven-speed faux manual (flappy paddle shiftery things) mode.
OUTSTANDING BFYB (BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!)
The on-road drive experience is considerably better than what you would expect of a $ 49,990 car, closer in quality to a vehicle in the high $ 60k region.
What you get in specification is impressive too, with an electric sunroof, satellite navigation, power tailgate, eight-way electrically adjustable, heated and water repellent seats, three-way camera view, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus integrated roof rails as if the 512-litre boot space wasn’t enough.
The big features though, are Eyesight – the eight function driver assistance package which works in conjunction with the sevenfunction vehicle dynamics control (VDC) system to ensure vehicle and occupant safety and – more critically for getting off the beaten track – X Mode.
TURNING SLIP INTO GRIP
Now you may not have a low range transfer case, but the little black box that is X-Mode is the electronic equivalent. It has five