Car News

8 things you need to know about the new Subaru Outback

The all-new Subaru Outback was revealed at the New York Motor Show last week and while we don’t have Australian pricing or features yet, here are the 8 things you need to know about it.

Subaru Outback sits on a new platform

This is the sixth-generation Subaru Outback and it’s one of the vehicles that helped to kick-start the whole SUV craze. It joins the Impreza and XV on the Subaru Global Platform which is stiffer and stronger than the Outback’s old platform and that means it should be safer and the ride and handling should be better too.

Subaru Outback offers a turbocharged engine

Alongside a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine, Subaru is offering (on XT models in the US and hopefully Australia too) a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine making around 190kW at 5600rpm and 370Nm of torque at 2000rpm; this engine will replace the 3.6-litre six-cylinder in the Outback as the ‘big banger’.

The naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine makes 130kW at 5800rpm and around 230Nm of torque at 4400rpm. Note that our power and torque figures are a direct calculation and don’t consider variations for Australian fuel quality. As has become the norm with the rest of the Subaru range, there’s only one transmission available, a CVT with a simulated “eight-speed manual mode” and paddle shifters.

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New Subaru Outback’s platform is stronger and safer

Subaru said it had optimised its Subaru Global Platform for the Outback, and that the structure is 70% stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity and 100% stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Outback’s platform. Subaru, as it has with Impreza and XV, claims the SGP offers improved crash protection. Subaru said the new body absorbs over 40-percent more energy in front/side crashes than the current model.

Key measurements are 4865mm long, 1855mm wide and 1680mm high with a wheelbase of 2745mm. While the wheelbase and height are the same as the current car, the new Outback is a little longer and wider in the body. Whether this will afford a little more room inside we’ll have to wait and see.

Subaru Eyesight enhanced with a front-view camera and more

Subaru’s EyeSight system is standard across the range (in the US and will likely be here too) and now includes Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering. US models will also feature DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System which uses a dedicated infrared camera and facial recognition technology to identify signs of driver fatigue or distraction and provides audio and visual warnings to alert the driver and passengers – whether this system will make it onto Australian cars is unknown but it’s likely. It’s worth noting that along with active speed limiters, the EU would like facial recognition standard on new cars into the 2020s… Additional features include LED Steering Responsive Headlamps; Reverse Automatic Braking; Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and EyeSight Assist Monitor with head-up display. The Outback will also debut a front-view camera which displays on the infotainment screen. The way these features are sprinkled through the Outback range in Australia will be announced closer to the local launch.

Out with an 8.0-inch screen and in with a much bigger one

The current Subaru Outback offers an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple and Android connectivity. But the new Outback on all but the entry-level cars will offer a tablet-style 11.6-inch infotainment screen which will allow owners to move apps just as they do on their smartphone. It will also display the camera angles from reversing camera to forward-facing camera. Accessing the Outback’s X-Mode will also be done via the touchscreen as will much of the climate control functionality.

4×4-rivalling ground clearance continues

The Subaru Outback, indeed, most rough-road Subaru models boast class-leading ground clearance and the Outback will continue with up to 220mm of clearance. Don’t think it’ll rock hop like a Jeep Wrangler, though, as the front and rear departure angles aren’t amazing; Subaru hasn’t said if they’re the same as the current car but we’d assume they’ll be pretty similar if not exactly the same.

Tweaked suspension to improve ride and handling

The Outback has always been a comfortable car but larger hits could see its suspension top-out abruptly. But, according to the Japanese car maker, the new Outback has been tweaked to ensure that won’t happen. It runs MacPherson struts at the front with a new 23mm hollow stabiliser bar and a double-wishbone and coil springs set-up at the rear with a new 19mm hollow stabiliser bar. Subaru claims the new suspension is lighter and more responsive.

X-Mode made easier…

Subaru’s new Outback follows the Forester with its two-stage X-Mode system that takes some of the guess-work out of driving in slippery conditions. At the Forester launch, Subaru told Practical Motoring the switch to a two-stage set-up was because some Subaru owners didn’t realise that in conditions like deep snow or mud they should switch off stability control. So, the deep snow and mud mode does this automatically. Fortunately it leaves brake traction control active.


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.