What is it?
The new Subaru Outback, fitted with a naturally aspirated, 165bhp 2.5-litre petrol engine and continuously variable automatic gearbox. This model sits at the bottom of the range, costing marginally less than the 2.0 turbodiesel, whilst a 3.6-litre Outback R forms the range topper.
As the ruggedised, high-riding version of the Legacy tourer, the Outback gets 50mm of extra ground clearance over its more road-oriented sibling with a total of 200mm. There is no manual option on this petrol model.
What’s it like?
Slow, but refined and very comfortable. Confusingly, this petrol-engined model is slower than the diesel model thanks to its peak torque output of 169lb ft, which arrives at 4000rpm.
As a result the 2.5-litre Outback struggles to 60mpg in 10.4sec, feeling a lot more strained than the diesel not only due to the engine’s shortcomings but also because of the CVT gearbox.
Cruise along without putting too much load on the engine and the Outback is a relaxing thing to drive down a motorway. The high ride height doesn’t significantly affect the ride, which is soft but very well controlled so you don’t get much body roll and even sharp intrusions in the road surface are absorbed with only a low thud reaching occupants.