Subaru Outback 2005 vs 2015, 2012
What difference does ten years make to the Subaru Outback?
We tested the 2015 Outback 3.6R on a family trip over a long weekend, and were accompanied by friends with their 2005 Outback that has done 67,000km. It made for an interesting comparison. The older Outback has a 2.5L, 121kW petrol engine and a 4-speed automatic. It is slower, as you’d expect, but even with a load and three people was more than powerful enough for cruising at speed in the country. The automatic hunted a little for gears, as older four-speeders are prone to, but got the job done. Handling was similar to the newer model, but a little less composed and with more understeer (tendency to run wide) although that was something a driver quickly got used to. In one way the older model drove better, and that was how it felt lighter and more agile.
Here’s a few comparison photos:
Like most cars, the Outback has grown over the years.
Definitely taller and chunkier.
2012 vs 2015 Subaru Outback
We tested a 2012 model back in, well, 2012. This is what it looked like:
It did not go well offroad. Look at this:
The car is immobilised. The challenge is that there’s very little traction. The problem is that the car’s centre diff is open, and it relies only on electronic traction control (ETC) to move in these conditions. Which is not great, but it does kind of work. But as soon as the car slips or slides even a little, stability control kicks in and kills momemtum. The problem was that there is no way to have traction on and stability control off. So we spent a fun afternoon recovering the car very slowly. This would have been no problem in the 2015 model with X-Mode.
Here’s the dash from the 2012 model. This had Eyesight, but we’d disabled it here:
And the dash from the 2015. Much more modern with a nice TFT display. The colours around the main dials change according to the car’s mode.
Here’s the 2012 interior:
And the 2015. An improvement, especially around the steering wheel which looks and feels more premium. Motoring journos like to hack in to Subaru for their interiors, but I think we should stop doing that now.
And for no reason at all, here’s an Outback in water.
We will post some more shots of Outbacks doing their thing offroad. If you have any, let us know. Here’s our Facebook page.