it’s too scientific for a world gone mad

it’s too scientific for a world gone mad

The Subaru Outback is so smart that you almost forget it’s still alive. Launched by us in 2020 and slightly modified last year, the current generation of the Japanese oddball is still a niche station wagon. Alas! By providing information about electrification at all levels, the media itself contributes to shaping the automotive environment. Here is our mea culpa, and a real machine for breaking received ideas.

Except for a few fans who follow the brand closely, the Subaru Outback is not the model that comes to mind when looking at a large station wagon. There are several reasons for this secret notoriety: already, the geographical advantage and marketing power of the German trio has done its job for a long time. When it comes to spending over €50,000 on a station wagon, most customers think in German. In Swedish, maybe. Then… France’s listed CO2 penalty, which has now reached laughably scandalous levels, has ended up wiping out many quality models, no more pollution than European engines, the only fault is that they are not optimized for WLTP test cycles.. What good is it for a manufacturer like Subaru to become more familiar with a country that anyway represents a small part of its sales?

Therefore, the Outer Side remains a curious role. Looking, without some research and only dictated by work restrictions, does not help. Surprisingly: At a time when everyone is rushing to SUVs for their fake looks, the Subaru Outback can do a lot more once the pavement is gone. ! We should also remember that it is the true originator of the station wagons of all roads: it was born Foreign Heritage in 1994 (it was an upgraded version of the Subaru Legacy), respectively 3 and 5 years before Volvo V70 Cross Country and Audi A6 Allroad Quattro… are often presented as genre innovators. A first explanation is needed.

The real family of all the land

Body measurements are not reduced by a few cosmetic tricks. The large plastic protective boots around the wheel arches are very thick and sturdy, Reinforcing plates under the bumpers make the bottom well and the bottom is well protected by a thick plastic display. In addition, the ground clearance is quite high (21.3 cm) and the suspension travel is generous for a derivative of a civilized station wagon.

Outback is known for its efficient behavior and its comfort, royal even off the road. No problem: Subaru tradition, all-wheel drive is awesome. Solid body work and protection of the underlings is nothing fake.

Good to know: expect repeat purchases and sales.

It’s possible to find out your car’s resale or trade-in value with an automatic Turbo rating for your Subaru Outback, an alternative to an Argus rating.

Let’s clear up any misunderstandings, we are far from the bad habit of Impreza WRX STI. The spirit of the rally is not in the plan of this big break of solid size (4.87 meters long) and far from being a power monster. The flat 4 cylinder “boxer” looks unchanged for years! Or rather, an improvement intended over the years to make it indestructible (Isn’t a tireless motor better than stock batteries? You have 2 hours, and that’s enough). It is 2.5 l cubes, no turbo or electric, it claims 169 hp and 252 Nm at 3800 rpm. Fortunately, the Outback is not too heavy (1,720 kg declared empty).

Suffice it to say that nothing interesting happens with the right foot push. This engine is however far from being stupid: 10.2 s from 0 to 100 km / h, suitable for daily use. And “Boxer’s” typically carefree voice, along with his growl, exudes a certain charm if not intimidating to the clockwork. Too bad it’s only associated with the CVT box, another Japanese specialty, which doesn’t appreciate too much brutality (as well as limiting the already normal power). Always this bad feeling of running by keeping the foot on the floor. By remaining tactful, everything will work out. Discretion and smooth running are appreciated, kilometers pass peacefully and consumption remains at a moderate level … all things considered! About 10 l / 100 km recorded in our test (necessarily without caution), it is large compared to the most efficient modern engines but not too catastrophic from the point of view of the technical sheet, with a wheel drive to take… expect the worst.

TRY - Subaru Outback (2023): too scientific for a world gone mad

Boxer 4-cylinder is sympathetic, but quiet. The CVT transmission does not invite splashing but nevertheless simulates “false” gears, thus reducing the frequent mistake: the feeling of racing is erased.

The behavior is the same. Not very lively, but filtered and surprisingly suspended. Very little body movement, even in support transitions at a good speed. In addition to this absolute comfort on the road, the Outback above all shows off its off-road qualities. Surprise: even on a very rough track, the car remains gripped and stable. Kind of extra, but not extra. Finally, the 4-wheel drive management offers a choice between two modes (mud or sand), and benefits from excellent downhill control. With the addition of winter tires, this is the perfect tool for snowboarding.

Life on board: without fantasy or false note

The whole car seems to have been created in the most sensible mold possible. At Subaru, we seem to be obsessed with certain trends that have been all the rage for a few years! It’s lucky: here, there are no disproportionately long waists and openings like windows. The large glass surface provides a good view. There are no particular luxuries, but the materials and finishes seem designed to last for years without moving. The furniture is well presented, which I said, on our Touring Exclusive test version, with extended leather. There is no question of going digital at all costs: the instrumentation is dedicated to simple analog meters (no frills and easy to read). There’s a large central touchscreen, quite basic in its presentation, but the interface is easy to approach.

TRY - Subaru Outback (2023): too scientific for a world gone mad

The design and layout of the booth stays away from digital style effects. There is a touch screen, but what is interesting is about the great care given to the furniture: the materials and assemblies seem indestructible.

Embedded technology is not far behind either. Adaptive LED headlights, lane keeping, blind spot alert, cruise control and other standard driving aids are standard from the entry level. Same thing with the reversing camera and GPS, submit automatically. Comfort equipment is also very extensive, with electric front/rear seats and heating. Of course, The Outsider knows how to entertain. This also applies to space on board, both for rear passengers (legroom is enough) and luggage. The trunk acts as a real hold: 559 l, up to 1,850 l with the bench seat down.

Standards: how to cut the penalty?

Outback phone price, fixed 49.990 €, not already released. It’s always cheaper than Audi A4 Allroad and Volkswagen Passat All Trackill-equipped and under-gifted in all roads, but Penalty quickly returns to the game against the Japanese: 193 g, so a penalty of € 16,810. Even expensive Mercedes C-Class All-Terrain (€58,850 in 220d, €210 penalty) remains below Subaru’s total bill. Our test version at a list price of 54,990 € so it exceeds, turnkey, 70,000 €.

TRY - Subaru Outback (2023): too scientific for a world gone mad

The trunk is large (559 l under the shelf), with very straight contours and a wide opening. The bench is attached to the bottom, the flat floor allows you to play movers. A maximum of 1,850 liters is available.

There is however a few parades. Notice for large families, three children allow a reduction of 60 g which almost cancels the CO2 tax… Only €260 penalty! For others, we think Subaru would be well-advised to make a model of their own Ford Where Renault and get inspiration from their “magic formulas”, E85 and LPG. In France, these two fuels save the work of the gasoline model.

Technical characteristics Subaru Outback (2023)

Technical paper Subaru Outback
Model tested: Subaru Outback Touring Only
Dimensions L x W x H 4.870 / 1.875 / 1.675m
The base of the wheels 2.745 m
Minimum / maximum trunk volume 559 / 18.50 liters
Unloaded weight 1.720 kg
Engine transfer 4-cylinder gasoline Boxer, naturally aspirated – 2,498 cc
Maximum power 169 hp at 5,000 rpm
Maximum torque 252 Nm at 3,800 rpm
0 to 100 km/h 10.2s
High speed 198 km/h
CO2 level 193g/km (WLTP)
Advertising consumption (WLTP combination) – increased 8.7l/100km – 10l/100km
Punishment 2023 16.810 €
Price from €49,990 (tested model: €54,990)