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Car reviews - Subaru - Outback - 5-dr wagon range


Subaru’s all-new Liberty-based Outback improves on all fronts

9 Sep 2009

THE original crossover is back bigger and better than ever, shouts Subaru. So it is, thanks to an all-new design that provides progress in the areas of space, safety, refinement, efficiency and comfort. But some of the previous Outback’s design verve and premium feel have been mislaid, it seems, as the Japanese company attempts to lure bargain-hunting buyers in key markets like North America. The result is a case where the head loves what it is hearing, but the heart is not so sure about what the eyes are seeing. The latest Outback is a better drive, though, with the 2.5i Lineartronic CVT combination emerging as a real surprise.

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Model release date: 1 September 2009 to 1 December 2014

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Family Tree: Outback

SUBARU served up more of the Outback’s award-winning formula with the Mk3 version – based on the fourth-generation Liberty – since this pumped-up wagon again ably straddled the line between value Japanese crossover and prestige European estate. In all honesty we preferred this car as a driving experience to the Volvo XC70 and Lexus RX330. Sharing its underpinnings with the Liberty means that the Outback 2.5i used its 121kW/226Nm 2.5i four-cylinder horizontally opposed four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox., However, the better choice was the powerful and refined 180kW/297Nm 3.0R boxer six-cylinder unit, driving all wheels via a five-speed auto gearbox, and providing a real alternative to more expensive luxury school-run favourites like the Mercedes-Benz E-class and Land Rover Discovery. Subaru subtly altered the range almost each year, but overall the Mk3 Outback pretty much remained the same until the quite a bit larger successor surfaced in September 2009.

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