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Road test: Subaru Outback

By Roger St. Pierre with Hazel Kempster

It’s big, bold, rugged, brash – welcome to Subaru’s mighty Outback SUV.

Already favoured by farmers, other members of the country set and anyone who might otherwise have a Range Rover on their shopping list, it’s a vehicle that warrants an even wider audience.

Don’t be over-awed by its size and reputation, we can’t think of anything that is so easy to drive – and park. You can hand the door zapper to a learner driver 17-year old or a grandparent in the safe knowledge that the car is forgiving and will not tempt them to explore its capabilities beyond safe limits.

With a sub 10-seconds time for the 0-62-mph sprint and a claimed 124-mph top speed, it is no slouch – but then who wants to rush in a car that is so comfortable and relaxing to drive? It is roomy too, with bags of leg, head and shoulder space.

With prices starting from £27,195 you get a lot for your money. Our test car came with smart 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, sat nav, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, cruise control and plush leather upholstery.

There’s a choice between 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and a commendably vibration free two-litre turbocharged diesel. Ours was the oil burner, which is allied to a smooth changing CTV automatic transmission.

Thanks to its permanent symmetrical four-wheel drive, the Outback is just as happy slogging its way across muddy fields and through deep ruts as it is wafting its way along smooth highways or tackling the maelstrom of city traffic – all helped by a safety package that features city braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

The cabin is spacious, so is the boot, which boasts a 559-litre capacity, with a wide-opening lid, while the back seats fold virtually fully flat. There’s a diversity of useful

Perhaps the best tribute we can pay to this now well-sorted car is that, despite a heavy schedule, atrocious weather and busy roads we never once felt stressed out. Here’s a car that’s always a pleasure to drive

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