The sixth-generation Subaru Outback has made South African debut, ushering in a number of firsts for the Japanese car manufacturer. Said Subaru, “the all-new Subaru Outback is the most advanced, most capable and safest car in the brand’s history” and “represents Subaru’s commitment to creating vehicles that prioritise our customer’s safety and peace of mind through engineering excellence”.

For the first time in South Africa, the Outback is offered in two trim levels – Field and Touring – to better suit customers’ lifestyles. One engine option – Subaru’s 2,5-litre boxer engine – is employed by both models. The direct injection normally aspirated motor produces 138 kW at 5 800 r/min and 245 N.m from 3 400 r/min to 4 600 r/min. Similarly, a single transmission option – Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT – is employed across the Outback range and directs power to the road via a symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.

Subaru Outback
The lightweight Lineartronic transmission has been improved for better responsiveness and fuel consumption when cruising.

According to Subaru, 90 percent of the engine’s inner components are new. The CVT, meanwhile, now weighs less than before and has been improved by 80 percent, Subaru claims, for better responsiveness. The lightweight Lineartronic transmission also now settles on a lower engine speed when cruising for improved fuel economy. Subaru claims the Outback has an average fuel consumption figure of 7,3 L/100 km. An eight-speed manual mode – operated via paddle shifters – is included, too.

The drivetrain improvements, Subaru says, are complemented by significant changes to the all-terrain capability, suspension and comfort levels of the new Outback. Both models come equipped with Subaru’s X-Mode all-terrain function and hill descent control. Ground clearance is 213 mm, while a 19,7 degree approach angle and 22,6 degree departure angle “inspires confidence on any terrain”. The sixth-generation Outback features more direct steering, less body roll and improved NVH suppression. The new Outback boasts a braked towing capacity of 1,5 tonnes.

Subaru Outback
The 11,6-inch portrait screen’s touch functionality is similar to that of a smartphone.

The more dynamic looking exterior’s front and rear bumper, and side feature black cladding. The LED headlight units are slimmer and feature C-shaped daytime-running lights and turn signals. Chrome detailing can be found around the fog lights. Field trim includes black metallic 18-inch wheels, black mirror caps, black roof rails with green accents and a black silica underguard. For the high-spec Touring, these items are finished in silver.

Inside the new cabin, a 11,6-inch portrait-orientated touchscreen takes centre stage. The new-generation infotainment software features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and satellite navigation. A total of four USB ports can be found around the cabin, two at the front and two at the rear. The 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system provides a “premium audio experience,” Subaru says. The front seats are electrically operated and offers eight-way adjustability. As with the steering wheel and front seats, the rear seats offer heating functionality.

The new Outback will be the first Subaru model in South Africa offering the company’s DriverFocus distraction mitigation system, which uses facial recognition camera technology to monitor the driver for signs of fatigue or distraction. Complementing this safety feature, the new Outback features the most advanced version of EyeSight. This system includes adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, among other safety essentials. Subaru Vision Assist, meanwhile, takes care of blind-spot monitoring and reverse automatic braking.

Subaru Outback
Two trim levels – Field and Terrain – are on offer. The Fiel model features 18-inch black metallic wheels.

Subaru says, thanks to the increase in length and width, the new Outback offers improved shoulder- and legroom, and boot space. The Outback boasts 522 litres of loading volume with the rear seats in place and 1 267 litres with the seats folded flat. The cargo area features a 12 V power socket, side nets for easy storage and cargo hooks. A first for Subaru, the new Outback features hands free tailgate operation.

The new Subaru Outback is priced from R699 000 for the 2,5i-Field and R729 000 for the 2,5i-Touring. Both model is sold with a three-year/75 000 km maintenance plan and five-year/150 000 km warranty.

“The all-new Outback is the representation of everything for which Subaru strives to achieve – unmatched safety, capability, practicality and especially in this case, a premium driving experience on any terrain,” Nteo Nkoli, marketing lead at Subaru SA, says.