There is no bad fifth. That is what the bullfighting slang says that… is it replicable in the automotive world? For this we are going to know the Subaru Outback 2021, the fifth generation of a model whose concept, personally, I have always liked.
It is about uniting the best qualities of an average family (interior space, wide trunk and good rolling on the road) with those of an SUV. Well, I’d even go so far as to say off-road, as the Outback’s all-wheel drive leaves most SUVs far behind.
The idea of creating a family crossover was born back in 1995. A bit by chance and needs of the Australian market. There he liked the Legacy Station Wagon, the sedan’s wagon body, and also the model’s symmetrical all-wheel drive. Japan was raised with the possibility of creating a new model using that base, somewhat higher and with protections to move on the rough roads of the Aussie interior. Its name comes from there, from the Outback, the remote and semi-arid interior of the island, as well as the more remote coasts.
The Outback formula has always worked well. More in those areas where not losing motor skills is vital. As in the aforementioned Australia, or the interior of the United States, where 2 out of every three Subaru’s are sold in the world. What changes in the traditional recipe? We drove it a few hours to see it.
I’ve tried a few Outbacks. And people always used to say that his design was fine … but that it was kind of bland. Okay, let’s take octopus as a pet. You may not want to conquer with the facade, they are with other virtues. Of course, without changing the silhouette much, it continues to evolve.
It maintains the design philosophy of the Dymanic x Solid brand and, as soon as we see it, we notice that it has a more SUV image, as with the outdoor pack in the lower part of the front, rear and wheel arches that gives it a rougher image.
Seen from the front, it introduces a grill, which maintains the hexagonal shape, and gains wider bumpers, with LED fog lights in the corners, in a vertical arrangement.
It is a large model, as it measures 4,870 mm in length, of which 2,745 mm correspond to the wheelbase. Other dimensions are the 1,675 mm high (including the roof bars, which depending on the finish incorporate integrated cross members to turn them into a roof rack) and the 1,875 mm wide.
But in a vehicle designed to avoid problems leaving the asphalt, other measures are more important. Remarkable is the 213 mm of ground clearance (previously 200), as well as the 19.7º angle of attack or the 21º of the ventral. Of course, the rear overhang makes the departure angle slightly worse, which remains at 22.6º.
At the rear you can see the pronounced wheel arches (by the way, 18-inch wheels in the whole range, gray, black or silver depending on the finish) or the taillights with LED technology and three-dimensional effect. The body is available in nine colors – not all in all finishes – of which the Brilliant Bronze and Autumn Green are new.
Inside, more things change compared to the previous generation, the 2015 Outback that had been updated in 2019. It always had a good quality of production, which is now even better and beware, we tested the access finish.
What is most striking is undoubtedly the multifunction screen that has been placed vertically. This new provision reserves the upper part for information regarding the vehicle … which reminds us of that small screen at the top of the dashboard that was very characteristic in models of the brand. Keep some physical control, such as for the volume and raising or lowering the temperature, for example.
The center console is quite high, with the gear lever at the front, near the steering wheel. There is before a hole to leave a small object and a pair of USB and Aux sockets, as well as the electric parking brake. Does it stick from that area? Well, piano black has been used. Just behind, a pair of drink rests and the armrest, which conceals a chest for storing things.
The instrument panel is made up of two analog speed and revolution clocks, plus a small 5-inch color screen for information from the on-board computer, the multimedia system and the adaptive cruise control, among others.
The amplitude at the front is very good (even more than before, and it was already good) and also at the rear. Some legroom is gained as the seats are 10.8mm further apart. They are heated seats, in addition to the fact that the backrest can be reclined a little to gain comfort. There is no lack of USB sockets, 12 V and vents outlets. Be careful, for an all-wheel drive car, the central tunnel has not seemed too bulky to me.
Good load capacity. And it is that the Outback announces 561 liters of trunk volume, 10 more than before. That includes the space under the floor, if not counted it stays at 522, which is not bad for a car with permanent all-wheel drive.
There are interesting news. It has an electric loading gate, but now the motor carries it in the arms of the door, so the loading mouth is 30 mm wider, making it easier to put large objects. Plus, it’s hands-free. It is enough to bring the arm closer to the rear logo (with the keys on top) so that it opens. And the rear view camera includes a system to wash it, something that comes in handy in a car prone to dust and mud.
It also launches a tray that rises to help load the trunk, has some practical solutions such as hangers and hooks … and of course, folding backrests (divided into two parts) with which a brand space of 1,306 liters of capacity is achieved ( 1822 if you want to load it up to the ceiling).
Talking about Subaru is talking about safety. And in that the Subaru EyeSight 4.0 is key, which launches a camera with a greater viewing angle and image recognition software. It is one of the elements that brings together this system, along with the electric brake booster, the sensory steering wheel, and a sonar and radar in the rear. In addition to everything that it already had, it adds the emergency braking reversing and the function of staying in the lane.
There is also the Driver Monitoring System, which in addition to controlling the driver’s level of attention (as if it were a mother, it does not stop controlling you), it is able to identify you and adjust the seat, mirrors and even the air conditioning to your liking.
And yes, all of it as standard from completion Trek, which is that of a more urban profile. Our unit corresponded to it), it has black fabric upholstery, silver grille and outdoor pack, anthracite-colored alloy wheels with 225/60 R18 all-season tires, roof rails with retractable cross bars, electric boot lid hands-free, steering wheel and heated seats in the first and second rows or the 11.6-inch screen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Termination Field it is equivalent, but with a more adventurous finish. It has black accents (such as the wheels or grille, aluminum pedals and two-tone synthetic leather seats. Touring, the highest of the range, has exclusive aesthetic details, the Multi View Monitor system or sunroof.
The price, with the brand discount already applied, is 39,500 euros, a figure that rises to 43,900 with the highest finish. Remember that you can always find Subaru Outback offers in our section of new cars, published by official dealers of the brand. We also help you find the best car financing to pay for it more comfortably.
The engine is a 2.5 naturally aspirated boxer. Like the previous one but not, since it has 90% new parts, to the point that it changed its name (now it is the FB25 DI-NA). It is a 2,498 cc engine that delivers 169 hp at 5,000 rpm with 252 Nm of torque at 3,800 rpm (17 Nm more).
Among the novelties, a direct fuel injection system and a higher compression ratio. There is also a gasoline particulate filter and an EGR gas recirculation system to keep contamination at bay without resorting to some form of hybridization.
This engine is associated with a torque converter gearbox, which the brand calls Lineartronic. As before, yes, but now it has 8 preset speeds, thinking about reducing consumption on the road. This box sends the torque to all four wheels, using the permanent symmetrical all-wheel drive (Symmetrical All Wheel Drive).
Announces an acceleration of 0 to 100 km / h in 10.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 193 km / h. And some quite high consumptions, as it homologates 8.6 l / 100 km, the equivalent of 193 g / km of CO2. It is one of the reasons why in the previous generation there was an LPG version that took 75% of the model’s sales (see test). It will also be available in this. Made by the specialist Ircongas, it reduces the boot capacity (the space under the floor) by 40 liters.
Before I got in the car, I figured it out and discovered that I have driven the Subaru Outback from the previous two generations five times. Three diesel (no longer exists), a gasoline and a LPG. And all of them won me over with their ride comfort and their extraordinary riding on roads, even at high speeds.
In the first, this generation is based on a new platform (Subaru Global Platform, SGP). It uses more high-strength steels, so the body is lighter (the car stays, in this finish, at 1,641 kg, which is not bad for a 4 × 4 of this size) and above all it has greater rigidity.
The brand also tells us that it has changed its construction process to reduce noise and vibrations. Gets it. If a boxer engine already stands out in that regard, now it feels like a more refined car. And with great poise on the highway, as a result of the increased wheelbase.
The Outback has never been a car designed to attack corners, but in this brief contact it seemed to me that it has also made progress in that regard. It is a taller car than normal, but it does not rock too much (it retains the suspension scheme, but its struts change) and the fact that the engine moves all the wheels helps in the sharp turns at good speed. Also electronics. Active Torque Vectoring increases the torque delivered to the outer wheels when cornering and greatly reduces understeer.
The motor runs smoothly and is progressive. You can operate the gears in manual mode, with the paddles behind the wheel and the truth is that it is quite well achieved … not to be gears to use due to the exchange rate. Atmospheric ones are sometimes criticized for not having much thrust at low turns. Here it helps to have an automatic transmission and you can see that 17 Nm of torque increase, which makes it more pleasant to drive on everyday trips.
What he has not lost is his excellent road behavior. This is where the combination of tire and traction is enjoyed to the fullest, coupled with a ground clearance that allows you to go at high speeds without losing grip, with an insulting sense of security.
What do you want to enter somewhat more complicated terrain? Well, it has the X-Mode with two programs, the Snow Dirt (snow / gravel) and Deep Snow Mud (snow / mud). They adapt the delivery of torque to the wheels and the active management of the traction control to optimize the advance. And on steep slopes (we put it on a motocross track), the descent control alone enters.
When you leave a presentation and feel like driving the car more, it’s a good sign. It may sound like Stockholm syndrome, like the car has hijacked you and you’re on their side.
Beyond subjective opinions, it must be recognized that the car is not for all audiences. Most drivers do not require an all-wheel drive as efficient as this Subaru for everyday trips, as it involves a higher fuel consumption. But if you usually leave the asphalt, it convinces me more than the vast majority of SUVs.
His image has greatly improved. It seems not, but when you see it next to the previous generation you realize it you perceive it more muscular, much more car. And inside it improves a lot in connectivity and perceived quality, even in the simple finish that we drove. And it has space, and a good trunk, and an overwhelming standard equipment … Do I really not have Stockholm syndrome, doctor?
Subaru Outback 2.5i Lineartronic Trek